Steamboat Springs Doktor Kaboom considers himself a superhero of the scientific: a champion of chemistry, a protector of physics and a biology boss. He’s hard to miss, sporting an orange lab coat and motorcycle boots, bleached hair and a blaring German accent.
If you go:
What: Doktor Kaboom! The Science of Santa at Strings
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23
Where: Strings Music Pavilion, 900 Strings Road
Tickets: Adults $15, juniors (ages 1 to 18) $3
More information: stringsmusicfestival.com
He’ll be taking over the Strings Music Pavilion stage in Steamboat Springs for the first time Dec. 23.
“He’s so full of life and joy, and he’s so silly and loud,” said Katie Carroll, Strings’ director of artistic administration and education.
“He thinks he’s Bono of the science world,” says Seattle-based David Epley, who plays the Doktor. “He’s enthusiastic about both his content and his audience.”
Epley grew up on track to become a scientist, attending a specialized high school and entering college as a double major in chemistry and theater.
He quickly found he wanted to do theater full time and set off on two decades of writing, directing and performing comedy shows, mainly street shows and outdoor festivals, as well as serving time in the U.S. Army and as a firefighter and EMT.
Around 2006, he decided to fuse theater and science into one compound, and Doktor Kaboom was born.
Epley developed the character of Kaboom — one that’s been described as a cross between Mr. Wizard and Mr. Rogers — during improvisational street work at Renaissance festivals.
“I wanted the comedy to come out of the character,” Epley said.
Once Kaboom was complete, Epley went to work on the show.
Each performance is different, filled with interactions between Kaboom and the audience, but all revolve around a central theme of helping make science seem more interesting, fun and accessible to everyone.
“There’s this stigma that science isn’t for everybody,” Epley said. “I’m trying to dispel that.”
Doktor Kaboom's shows generally consists of any topic in the universe, but in Friday’s Strings show, he will focus on the universe through a holiday filter. He and his audience will perform experiments and ponder together about what it might take for reindeer to fly, how a person of Santa-like proportions could fit down a narrow chimney and the ever-head-scratching question of how to know who’s been naughty or nice.
“It’s based on the idea that science and magic are the same thing,” Epley said. “Magic is just science that we haven’t figured out yet. So whoever is the most magical must be the greatest scientist in the world.”
For many, that most-magical person is Santa.
“That doesn’t sit well with Doktor Kaboom’s ego,” Epley added.
He also noted that Kaboom’s Chistmas-themed investigations will not ruin the idea of old Saint Nick for believers in attendance.
“Now, miracles are a different thing,” he said.
The show is intended for the entire family and people of all ages.
“He manages to make sure everyone is going to leave having learned something,” Carroll said.
“My ultimate goal is that after watching my show, families will go home and do science together,” Epley said.