2012/13 season > Troublemaker
Get ready for Troublemaker, or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright. Only Berkeley Rep could unleash this wild world premiere, commissioned from hot young playwright Dan LeFranc. It’s nineteen mighty-four. In working-class Rhode Island, Bradley and his bestest friend tangle with rich kid Jake Miller and his middle-school goons. And their nemesis has help from a bunch of zombies and grown-ups! Put down that backpack, turn up the soundtrack and let’s cut class. Faster than a speedboat, more fun than a video game, Troublemaker has a sassy mouth and an irresistible heart of gold.
Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor held a workshop for Troublemaker in July 2012 at our inaugural Summer Lab. The workshop provided a key stepping stone in the path toward production. Learn more about The Ground Floor here.
Please note: Troublemaker includes haze, fog and strobe light effects. If you have questions about the show’s content, please contact the box office.
“A wild ride…as fantastical as a superhero comic book, and thrice as funny…The actors’ dexterity with LeFranc’s wildly imaginative tween expletives is as essential to the story’s success as Paloma Young’s hilarious zombie-pirate and other fantasy costumes. Neugebauer’s clever use of Kris Stone’s deceptively simple, urban-dreary set evokes the restless pace of young minds…The inventiveness of LeFranc’s superhero fantasies are enhanced by the solid emotional grounding he achieves.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A rock-‘em, sock-‘em riot!…It’s the first show to hit the main stage from the Rep’s new play development lab, The Ground Floor, which kicked off last year with a bustling summer residency. Director Lila Neugebauer’s beautifully paced staging makes the play’s two and a half hours (with two intermissions) seem to fly by…LeFranc’s dialogue is the star attraction. It’s crisp, inventive and often hilarious, mixing adventure-serial bombast (‘Give this little Ms. Pac-Man the concussion of his tweens’) with quirky catchphrases and near-constant euphemistic expletives (‘funny as farts but loyal as freak’). Troublemaker’s fabulously flashy exterior invites comparisons to the comic book and movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but at root it’s a bittersweet story about growing up and getting by at one of life’s hardest ages, when just getting through the school day takes heroic fortitude…Bradley Boatright is not a superhero, but he’ll make you believe he is…Troublemaker is pretty freakin’ kick-A!”—KQED Arts & Culture
“Wildly fun!…Steeped in the kick-ass aesthetic of video games and comic books, the action barrels along at warp-speed for three utterly outrageous acts. Our backpack-toting, hoodie-clad hero Bradley battles zombies, pirates, Nazis, bullies and his mom in a zany coming of age saga that takes place in the ‘nineteen-mighties,’ a mashup of the ‘80s, ‘90s and aughts…irresistibly breezy!”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group
“Dan LeFranc was awarded the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award…In this most vibrant of theatrical communities, we thought it would be fitting to focus on the most powerful of new voices.”—New York Times
“A smart writer with a sharp sense of what makes people tick.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Neugebauer shepherds her actors expertly.”—Washington Post
“Director Lila Neugebauer uses rigorously economized language and choreographed physicality to squeeze worlds of emotion into a very small space.”—DC Theatre Scene
VIDEO: Get a taste of Trouble
Who is this mysterious Bradley Boatright? And why are his adventures so freakin awesome? Download this intel for a sneak peek!
PRINT: Interview with Lila Neugebauer
The director talks about staging chase scenes, bear dogs and the other unique challenges of working with a Troublemaker.
AUDIO: NPR gets its freak on
Listen to a radio report about the Troublemaker team and the show’s unique lingo.
PRINT: Interview with Dan LeFranc
The playwright talks to the Mercury News about mayhem, secret codes and his secret vulnerability as a superhero playwright.
PRINT: Interview with Danny Scheie
The hilarious local actor tells the Bay Area News Group about playing “a seventh grade post-correctional Nazi-bully.”