THEATER REVIEW: “The Break-Up Break-Down,” well, breaks down

It’s probably safe to say that everybody older than 30 has endured a devastating break-up or two. Playwright/director Katherine Harroff’s “The Break-Up Break-Down” aims to finds the amusing in the ghastly and make us laugh about those inevitable bumps on the road to lifelong partnered bliss, or at least to relatively happy singlehood (solitude?).

Tommy (Brendan Cavalier) suddenly announces he’s not in love with girlfriend Missy (Soroya Rowley) – at least not yet. Sandra (Samantha Ginn) finds tell-tale infidelity evidence on the cell phone of boyfriend Jay (Patrick Kelly).

Lesbian Lucy (Wendy Savage) asks live-in Mel (Melissa Coleman-Reed) to move out. Ivan (Kyle Sorrell), asked to choose between a weekend with the guys or opera with girlfriend Cecily (Jacque Wilke), makes the wrong choice.

I lost track of what drives Alvie (Evan Kending) and Kaitlyn (Crystal Mercado) apart.

Harroff, a recent MFA transplant from Arizona, debuts new theater company Circle Circle dot dot with this production, which plays through July 10 at the 10th Avenue Theatre.

Everybody can identify with the issue, but here’s the problem: The play is more gross than funny, with more WTF moments than genuine insight or comedy, and way too many stories to keep track of or care about.

Alvie, for example, has a series of meaningless and weird sexual encounters with seriously strange women. Sandra, a college prof, decides to stalk Jay and we find her depositing feces in his Jeep. This is supposed to be funny?

The actors work very hard. The women are at least occasionally amusing, but the guys get the short end of the writing stick, universally written as jerks.

There’s serial silliness: a girls’ weekend with pillow fight, Sandra decides she’s lesbian, Mel and Lucy actually end up in a fight scene. I could go on, but you get the message.

The problem is, I didn’t get the point.

I hate to trash a new theater company. Heaven knows, we can use all the theater we can get. I hope Harroff regroups and comes back with a better offering.

The details

“The Break-Up Break-Down” plays through July 10 at the 10th Avenue Theatre, 930 Tenth Ave.

Wednesday through Sunday at 8 p.m.

For tickets, visit HERE.

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.