By Izabela Barakovska
…is a phrase you’ll truly come to admire watching the UDS’ (the University Drama Society’s) new production – BOOM: a failure story.
Unlike many plays that chase resolutions, full circles, tied knots, and happy endings, BOOM: a failure story, challenges what we perceive to be a good narrative, and flips the conventional on its head by following the plot of an impending crisis – with the natural disaster of choice being the volcanic eruption of Mt. Linguano.
Whilst for most of the locals, this causes a terrific amount of fear and distaste for the necessary evacuation procedures, the ever-ambitious, entrepreneurial protagonist, Aaliyah (played by Esha Jessy), saw it as an opportunity to open a merchandise store – rare, unique, once in a lifetime, and as expressed by many a character – damn crazy.
Driven by the desire to achieve some form of professional success, the story unfolds to show the lengths one will go to achieve just that.
With the help of Marlo (played by Liam Mckay) – Aaliyah’s highschool sidekick – and their merry band of misfits, the audience is brought to question their post-high school pathways, the value of a good sales pitch, and what happens when we do and don’t succeed in life – and perhaps just why we push ourselves so hard as a collective to achieve success as directly linked to our happiness and value of self.
What I loved about the production was that despite the contextual differences – pandemics and volcanic eruptions are in fact not same, same, but different – the piece offered a great deal of value to be extrapolated to our current lives.
That ranges from the dangers of being overly ambitious and becoming consumed by the expectations of our ever-demanding society, to the beauty that comes with open and honest bromances, to how to appreciate your team and the uniqueness of journey that can come with ‘going with the flow’ and challenging yourself with new, non-conventional life pathways.
I commend writer, Faisal Hamza, on his witty dialogue, the transformation of characters who each have various kinds of existential, quarter life crises’, and the depth created with a shadow character to the protagonist Aaliyah, that allowed the audience to see the disparity that can exist between internal thought and external reaction.
Whilst at times confusing, BOOM: a failure story, is a quirky, creative and clever delight – one that will have you laughing, gasping, and ‘aww’-ing with appreciation, shock, and admiration.