Foundry Theatre: Major Bang Review by Christiana Axelsen Nov 4, 2006
The image that is burned into my consciousness after watching Major Bang, is the image of the red backpack seemingly floating in the darkness of the back of the stage. It glowed like a radioactive beacon, towering and occasionally writhing, subtlely dominating the show. This backpack, found abandoned on a subway, produces objects that create the inspiration for the “play ” (earning its quotation marks for reminding me of the play within Hamlet that nicely encapsulates pure entertaining drama, theatrical self-awareness, and intellectual fodder.)
The most alluring parts of this storyline being the multiple characters played by Steve Cuiffo, who uses vaudvillian charm, humor and slight of hand to play the nerdy boy scout son, the sloppy single dad and the facist troop leader. Maggie Hoffman is also stunning, in her platinum wig, reinacting Whitney Houston in The Bodygaurd adding a very vivacious hip swagger and acrobatic tounge articulations. The actors are constantly engaging, and nimble enough not to get in the way of all the objects, images, words, and plots swirling around the stage.
The show is particularly refreshing in its use of traditional theater techniques to communicate provocative ideas. Like a good magic trick, it has an almost old fashioned sense of illusion and technique- disappearing the actors on and off the set, using slight of hand to surprise and entertain- which is satisfying in its exquisite execution. It’s also funny and enjoyable. You know theater is a suspension from reality, and the joy is for it to be so well done that you can let yourself be taken in. Not to say this show is fluff, it packs a solid political punch. Adding to the creative arsenal found within the backpack, the show employs the contents of a government recommended survival kit, music made from a greiger counter, and scary insider information about the boy scouts to navigate the darker side of the current political atmosphere. I felt so relieved to see that theater does not have to be completely deconstructed to be powerful and relevant. It can be well-crafted, introspective, political and quite entertaining.