The Breaks in You and I, VAULT Festival

by guest critic Lara Alier

Two women get married. Eight months later, two women separate. The relationship is not measured by its length, but by its electric, high intensity. We see snapshots of their lives, flying in and out their present and their past.

On stage, there are only two chairs joined together, with very simple lighting design. This bare stage doesn’t leave a lot of space to hide. It’s immediately noticeable how comfortable these two actresses are in their own skin, and it’s one of my favourite things about this show.

Each of them share how they are coping with the break up, and how differently we deal with our own broken hearts. Growing up in a world where we measure our needs and ambition by what we are fed by the media makes it hard not to feel inadequate when imitating Meg Ryan eating a bucket of chocolate ice-cream, but you can’t reach size 0. So it’s refreshing to watch down-to-earth characters, which liberate us from trying to pretend human behaviour is coherent.

The connection between both of them is often unclear. At some points, one character can hear the other’s monologue, but sometimes they can’t – as if it were a memory. Sometimes they are in a memory, but reacting to the present moment. This prevents a real an full connection between the two actors.

But overall it’s an engaging and entertaining work proving that simplicity can be theatre’s best ally.

The Breaks in You and I runs through 4 February.

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