Journal

Of Saccharine Love, Of Artificial Things, Of Meg Fucking Ryan Feb 12, 2010

by Mike P

I have to be honest with you. I dreaded going to see Break a Heart. The last thing I need is to be reminded that it's VALENTINE'S DAY. I think I've had one good Vday, which was book-ended by two terrible ones, the worst of which was last year. (Yeah, he is a total asshole and I still haven't forgiven him.) So my faith in love and capacity for forgiveness is scant at best, and I unfortunately/fortunately have my skeptical goggles on and am probably the last person to be told to "lighten up!" Last year on this weekend, Otb showed the awesomely grotesque tEEth from Portland, which amused me because it had nothing to do with Valentine's Day but there we all were, watching a really frightening show replete with grunting, foaming at the mouth, etc. on, supposedly, the most romantic day of the year. This year, the dance offerings are not as scary, and are all variations on the theme of "love", or whatever the hell "love" means. Some of the pieces are seemingly romantic without being syrupy but sort of sweet enough to feel kind of artificial, kind of shallow, kind of weak, and pardon the pun, without a heart. And I saw a fair amount of cleverness and whimsy, which gets old fast. It's nice at first, but after awhile, it starts to feel a little soul-less. The more successful pieces for me were more honest and direct. There are some real standouts in Break a Heart. Enchanted Prince, choreographed and performed by the fantastic Wade Madsen is a visual stunner. He plays a clown, that is everything we kind of love about clowns in general - funny, sweet, and kind of pathetic. Face it, we like clowns because we can laugh at them instead of recognizing the flaws within ourselves. Also nicely done was give it I got it by MouseBones (ilvs strauss and Jody Kuehner.) There's just something really genuine about these two, they're not necessarily playing for laughs (i don't know, maybe they are?) but I think they are actually funny people who downplay the comedy to show the awkward side of love or whatever, of miscommunication, of self-deprecation, of fear, of many things, and kind of just being ok with that discomfort. Which I appreciated. I also enjoyed Diana Cardiff's pieces, one serious and one comedic, both very well done. PS. Intermission was a great time to visit the bar. It's kind of a crapshoot to have a bunch of people get together and make some work on a common theme, on top of that, the cruelest theme of all, love. There are winners, and there are losers. (Much like life, GET IT???) and yeah, there are a lot of those "GET IT???" moments everywhere that were too easy, too fluffy, too literal (ie. Isn't Love Fun? Isn't Love Heavy? Look, Gay Dudes Fall In Love, Too!) and I'm supposed to be like, "Yeah I GET IT. Love sucks but it really isn't so bad because people are inherently good and we should have no regrets because we're all in it together." Which is a lie. Not everything is like a Meg Ryan movie. But it seems like everyone spends Valentine's Day trying to get people to believe it is, that we all should just lighten up. But I don't think it's that simple. Are you like Meg Ryan? -Mike P

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