The Bushwick Starr is located in an unassuming building, where steep stairs take you up through an industrial apartment building and residents leave across the hall from a theatre.
I went into Heartbreak blind, but if I had looked up the New Georges beforehand, I would've known that some of their playwrights have an affinity for playing around with language, with silly mispronunciations and jokes made out of simple dialogue.
Steven, the head of a building company who is on the verge of retirement, yells out to Stell, his second wife, "Where are you?" She yelled back, "I'm upstaaaaaaay-rge!", while she was sitting upstage.
Sentences are oddly structured on purpose, with missing nouns or verbs, but it's easy to take it for granted because it's still intelligible, with all the timbre of modern-day English.
It was actually quite amusing, when the I understood the play on words.
But this also makes me wonder if I missed anything.
The play is centered over a company gathering, at Steven's house and shows the events before, during, and after the party.
At the start of the play, I was confused about the interactions between Steven and Stell.
Why couldn't they understand each other? My first thought that it was just some commentary on the dysfunctionality of some married couples but as other characters were introduced -- Steven's adult children, his employees -- it's clear that talking is tough for everyone.
The allure of Heartbreak is that it provides no explanation for why these characters behave so strangely; the audience simply must accept it.
Language. Communication. Understanding.
The lack of all these things functions as the core of this play.
Despite all of this, the characters are still able to interact with each other.
None of them are ever on the same wavelength but they continue to try and try again. For all of its silliness and humor, I was taken aback at the humanity and beauty underlying the seemingly straightforward plot line.
It is hard to communicate with people but none of these characters stop trying.
They keep going, until some sort of shaky understanding is reached.
When I left the show I thought about my relationship, for lack-thereof, with my brother.
The main reason why we don't get along is because we're never able to understand where the other one is coming from...
Recently, I've been feeling like it may be too late to patch things up.
However, this play has made me realize it's never too late.