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2007 Media Release - Major Bang

Issued Sunday, 6 May 2007


This Foundry Theatre production is surely the happiest show to have been inspired by the horrors of 9/11.” The New York Times

“…a bitingly funny and winningly humanistic performance.” Seattle Times

"Major Bang proves that laughter in the dark need not be desperate ... a solid defense in dealing with a madworld." The New York Times

Sydney Opera House presents, one of New York’s most celebrated theatre companies, The Foundry Theatre with its latest hit, MAJOR BANG: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dirty Bomb,in the Playhouse from 17 - 29 July.

MAJOR BANG details our collective anxieties about the looming prospect of nuclear terrorism with an abundance of wit, wry humour, farce and magic tricks. MAJOR BANG updates the dark humour and nuclear paranoia of Stanley Kubrick’s classic black comedy about thermonuclear apocalypse, Dr Strangelove, with our present day terror of abandoned backpacks.

Performed by two wildly dexterous actors - expert magician and actor, Steve Cuiffo and insouciant ringmaster Maggie Hoffman, MAJOR BANG bears a sensibility fostered by those old masters The Wooster Group, of which Cuiffo is an artistic associate.

Cuiffo not only performs sleight-of-hand illusions, but also plays a worker in a food irradiation plant, the worker’s teenage son, as well as the son’s loony scoutmaster, Major Bang. He also channels the late Lenny Bruce, irrepressible jester of the repressive 1950’s.

Maggie Hoffman embodies a coquettish, lovelorn exec, a New York subway rider who summons the courage to confront an ‘unattended bag,’ and a jaded narrator who lectures the audience about nuclear horrors using a Geiger counter as a beat box: "Unfortunately, the song this radiation is singing lasts about 40 million years!"

Without ridiculing suffering or dismissing anguish, MAJOR BANG makes fun of the commercialisation of fear and the exploitation of insecurity. Taking a trip down the rabbit hole of post 9/11 anxiety, the show includes a surreal side trip with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner’s The Bodyguard, a cameo appearance by Lenny Bruce, back from the dead to riff upon the surreal semantics of the words ‘war on terror.”, interlaced with the real life tale of Michigan boy scout, David Hahn who tried to earn his Atomic Energy merit badge by building a nuclear reactor in his parents garage.

This hilarious production takes us on a 75 minute ride through 21st century concepts of fear - both real and manufactured.

Established in 1994 by Producing Artistic Director, Melanie Joseph and board member, Cornel West, The Foundry Theatre and its collaborators have received eight OBIE awards and three Drama Desk nominations. The company aspires to create envelope pushing theatre that takes on the world’s thorniest issues.

Season Details:
Venue: Playhouse
Preview: Tues 17 July at 8pm
Dates: 17– 29 July
Times: Wed – Fri at 8pm, Sat at 5pm & 9pm, Sun at 5pm
Tues 24 July at 6.30 pm with post show Artists Talk
Prices: $48/38 Bookings: 02 9250 7777 or

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