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Major Bang A Terrific Funny Informative Romantic Play in NYC Til Feb 19

Don’t Miss This Intriguing Play, Starring A Magician And A Passionate Actress-DJ. Two Performers. A red backpack. A genius boy scout and his militaristic neocon troop leader. The Atomic Energy Merit Badge. A Dirty Bomb? Life in the Food Irradiation plant during a lockdown.

Itís great, in these military, thought-suppressed times to see a really topical intelligent funny dynamic
terrifically acted play. Luckily, when my wife and I were in NYC last week we checked the Time Out magazine
and their recommendation was followed by us. Except we had to go to Brooklyn, a borough I am not too fond of, especially to travel about and into. However, actually St. Annís Warehouse is just under the Brooklyn Bridge on
the Brooklyn side, so the journey was brief. And gratifyingly rewarding.

We walked in with some music playing in the background and took some of the last seats right in the front row.
I said hello to the woman standing behind the little podium, tidying up, and she mouthed “Hello” back to me.
Then this fellow who was walking around asked if I wanted to “shuffle.” He had this gigantic set of cards that he
made me turn face up and spread out in both my hands. I did my mixing up, and then he asked if anyone else
wanted to “shuffle.” And then the play began. These turned out to be the two and only performers in “Major Bang or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Dirty Bomb.” All kinds of facts were given, that a stick of dynamite and some radioactive Americium from the Food Irradiation plant where Frank Farmer worked would be enough, if exploded together, to contaminate an area 1000 kilometers square for a very long time. Co-star Maggie Hoffman told about radium and watch-makers getting cancer of the tongue from licking their paint brushes that they used to coat the dials and hands of the watches. I wanted to tell her that todayís road signs use radioactive tritium to make them luminous. All sorts
of radioactivity are being used in our smoke alarms and contraptions that do not need them, including space missions to Jupiter and Pluto.

Steve Cuiffo as Major Bang, the neocon jingoistic Scout leader; Frank Farmer; Frankís son; flashback-Lenny Bruce commenting on todayís “War On Terror”-goings on; was fantastic, especially in a fight scene where he has to be all of the first three characters, twisting his half-outfits like the magician he is. His portrayal of the in-his-room genius son had to be the funniest thing in the show, with his display of intelligence as an integral part of the humor being a highlight for me.

Ms. Hoffman filled practically every word she released to the audience with passion and richness. She also had several roles to film, including Frankís bewigged supervisor at the Food Irradiation plant whose greatest pleasure comes in hearing “excuses.” Frank seems to always be late, and has to explain why in one scene, while his boss stands high above him, awaiting his fumbling efforts, only to eventually romantically tumble with him, panties, socks, wig and shoes flying over the transom….One of her lines that I greatly appreciated was her comment on radio, how everybody is always yelling, she can even hear it when she turns it down, and what it all really sounds like/is is “shit.”

There is simultaneous interaction with some Dr. Strangelove and The Bodyguard footage that perhaps goes on a wee bit too long, and an ending projected as film depicting life in the city, with the idea that there is a battle between enlightenment and fundamentalism going on, has been going on through the centuries, that enlightenment always seems to win. Some think this naive in a few reviews, but it is an interesting thought in a time when all we see on Broadway are remakes and mindless blah. Tired of “Guys and Dolls” or “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” [I confess I loved that movie, but that was with Steve Martin and Michael Caine]?

Hurry over to St. Annís Warehouse on Water Street under the Brooklyn Bridge for the 8 PM show. No shows on Mondays. 4 PM shows on Saturdays and Sundays. Check the colorful Major Bang website
to get a taste of the play and a few views of the protagonists. Call 718-254-8779
to get information, and directions. A taxi is a good easy way to get to this off-Broadway theatre. Major Bang currently is set to run until February 19, 2006. But donít be surprised if it makes it to another venue in Manhattan, maybe even onto old Broadway itself! But just in case it doesnít, SEE THIS PLAY ASAP!!!

Conrad Miller M.D. Feb 7 2006

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