Doktor Kaboom is part theatrical performance, part scientific experimentation and all explosive.
A crowd of about 300 eighth-grade students at C.C. Griffin Middle School giggled, snickered and laughed as David Epley walked across the gym floor playing the part of Doktor Kaboom, an over-the-top German physicist who is passionate about science.
Wearing a long lab coat, chrome goggles and Mechanix gloves, he shouted in a heavy German accent: “Hello, my name is Doktor KaBOOM,” emphasizing the “boom” while raising his hands at the same time.
“We’re going to do some incredibly stupid things,” he said with a chuckle as he pulled his goggles down over his eyes.
Doktor Kaboom visited the school March 9 as part of the Cabarrus Arts Council’s Students Take Part In The Arts program. For the 14th year, the program has partnered with Cabarrus County, Kannapolis City and local private schools to bring performances to every child in participating schools.
“This is one of the largest arts-in-schools program in the state,” said Noelle Rhodes Scott, president and CEO of the Cabarrus Arts Council. Scott added that 30,000 students and teachers will see one of the more than 60 performances this year.
To demonstrate the experimentation process, Doktor Kaboom used a catapult and tried to launch pieces of banana into the mouth of Derek Boykins, 14 – without much success.
Doktor Kaboom shot one piece at a time – varying the distance, and even shooting in rapid succession – but nothing worked until he loaded the catapult with multiple pieces. With several airborne pieces to choose from, Derek was able to catch one.
The final experiment involved using an air cannon made from a trashcan with plastic coverings. Doktor Kaboom used the cannon to blow the hair of 13-year-old Anna Workman. After blowing a cup off her head, Doktor Kaboom said he wanted to do a longer shot, but that it was hard to make adjustments because he couldn’t see where the air went.
He then filled the air canon with smoke and began shooting smoke rings at Anna. He then adjusted his aim and knocked off the cup. Turning the cannon at the audience, he uttered a menacing laugh as he shot smoke rings into the crowd, eliciting a final explosion – of laughter.
Marty Price is a freelance writer and photographer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.