@ The Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St.


By Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Directed by Ceil Herman

  • Barbara (Katie Richardson) describing the "Boom"
  • (L to R:) Jo (Heather Castillo) and Jules (Cory Dlask)
  • (L to R:) Jules (Cory Dlask) and Barbara (Katie Richardson)
  • (L to R:) Jules (Cory Dlask) and Jo (Heather Castillo)
  • (L to R:) Jo (Heather Castillo), Jules (Cory Dlask) and Barbara (Katie Richardson)
  • (L to R:) Barbara (Katie Richardson) and Jo (Heather Castillo)

May 22-Jun 05, 2011

FRI MAY 22, 27, JUN 3| 8:00 PM
SAT MAY 23, 28, JUN 4| 8:00 PM
SUN MAY 29, JUN 5| 2:30 PM
THU JUN 2 | 7:00 PM


Science meets science fiction when the end of the world is coming and only Jules, a biology graduate student, and the fish he is researching know about it!

Jo, a female jouranlism student, and Jules, a male marine biologist, meet in a subterranean biology lab for an erotic "casual encounter." But there's nothing casual whatsoever about this particular evening. Will meaningless sex have meaning? What's going on in the fish tank? And who is that woman, Barbara, pulling levers in the corner and playing percussive instruments? Something is about to explode.

Ben Brantley in his 2008 New York Times review wrote "At first glance "Boom" suggests a "Twilight Zone" episode rewritten as a sitcom. And it is not without a certain glib whimsy that a marriage of such genres might produce. But it winds up speaking, quietly and piquantly, to our enduring fascination with and need for myths about the beginning of life as well as its end. Mr. Nachtrieb, a San Francisco writer in his early 30s whose résumé includes degrees in theater and biology, has a gift for darkly funny dialogue and an appealing way of approaching big themes sideways."


Assistant Director
Backstage Crew
Board Operator
Scenic And Lighting Designer
Stage Manager
Written By


- By Gerald M. Kane, Las Cruces Bulletin

I've been procrastinating all day. I know I am supposed to write a review of "Boom," the last production of the season at the Black Box Theatre which I saw last evening, but because the Rapture is supposed to begin in about an hour, I decided to put it off.

"Boom," by San Francisco-based playwright Peter Sinn Nachtreib is such a thought-provoking play, that I have not stopped thinking about its many themes and messages since we left the theatre. As I keep thinking about it, what better way to contemplate the end of the world than by writing a review of a fascinating comedy dealing with that very subject!

How fortuitous of No Strings Theatre Company's Producer and Managing Director Ceil Herman to schedule performances of "Boom" to play in the post-Rapture! If you are reading this on Friday, May 27, 2011, we can safely assume that we all survived the "Big Bang." I encourage you to call and make reservations to see this remarkable play.

With a mix of comedy, a dash of fear, and a healthy dose of theatre of the absurd, "Boom" stirs up a variety of issues, deep thoughts and emotions about the responses we develop when we are forced to reflect on our own finitude.

In her press release about "Boom," director Ceil Herman labels the play " hilarious." I wouldn't go that far, but there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and situations in the 90 minute production performed without an intermission so as not to interrupt the dramatic tension and flow of the work.

Without giving away too much in this "adult" production, peppered liberally with strong language and situations, here's a taste of the story. Jules, a quirky marine biologist, named for Jules Verne, brings Jo, a budding, ditzy journalism student to his hermetically sealed basement lab/ apartment / bomb shelter, for what she thinks is a casual hook-up.

Jules has other plans. He imprisons her in his refuge to await the end of the world, along with the fish who have provided the key to his understanding of the imminent cataclysmic event which will occur.

While all this is going on, there is another character, a futuristic looking, glitter jump suit clad character simply identified as Barbara, positioned above the acting space, whose identity is revealed during the course of the play. Barbara spends her time pounding on a tympani and switching lights and levers on and off, and occasionally giving us additional commentary and insight about herself and the characters in the play.

Trust me, most of the plot's loose ends are tied up by play's end, but here's the rub. One leaves the theatre amused, stimulated, and even a bit troubled. In sum, there are more questions to ask about the message of "Boom" then are answered.

As usual, Peter Herman has utilized every nook and cranny of acting area to its best advantage. Ceil Herman's direction is impeccable, but truth be told, I feel the second half of the play could have benefitted from a bit of editing.

The cast is up to the job. I was most impressed by the agility and timing of Katie Richardson. Her Barbara was just wacky enough to make us laugh, coupled with comic monologue delivery which is spontaneous and witty. Heather Castillo and Corey Diask perform admirably in their demanding roles.

Well, that's all for now. If the end of the world has not come, we have next season at the Black Box to which to look forward. From the looks of the preview brochure, we are scheduled to be treated to a variety of plays which will fascinate, inspire, stir our emotions and add insight and joy to our lives.

Thanks Ceil and Peter for another outstanding season!

"Boom" runs through June 5 at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday performances are scheduled for May 29 and June 5 at 2:30 p.m and a Thursday performance will take place on June 2 at 7 PM. Tickets are $10 regular admission and $9 for students and seniors over 65. All seats on Thursday are $7.00. For reservations, call (575) 523-1223or online at http://www.no-strings.org/


No seating plan has been posted.


Our next production is Animal Tales The normal ticketing system will be used but you may only select the number of seats you require and we will assign seats to comply with NM Covid requirements. You may request row 1, 2, 3, or 4 and we will do our best to honor your request. Please see the event pages for details.

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