YOURS TO BREAK by Fides Krucker, directed by Mark Christmann (Good Hair Day/Theatre Passe Muraille). Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson). Runs to January 29. $10-$30. 416-504-7529. See Listings, this page, for details. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Breaking up, as the song goes, is hard to do. It's also hard to depict in art with any originality.
In Yours To Break , Fides Krucker tries her best to add nuance to the situation. Using dance, boxing, songs, film and poetic text, all she and her collaborators manage to suggest is yet another truism about breakups: they're messy.
Krucker and Dan Wild play Sue and Davy, a former couple who... what, exactly? We know that Davy is/was a photographer. That they met and fell in love in high school. That Sue had a miscarriage.
More than that, though, is hard to glean.
The text, drawn from Helen Humphreys 's poetic novel Wild Dogs, as well as scripted letters, is vague and disorienting.
It's hard for us to get our bearings, and thus hard to feel anything for the obviously anguished couple.
Under director Mark Christmann , the multimedia elements add some texture. The boxing sequences, in particular, are cathartic to watch not just when the couple are punching each other, but also in the suspenseful lead-up as they're strapping on gloves and inserting their mouthpieces.
Some of the pop songs, too, work their magic, although the arrangements of chestnuts like Piece Of My Heart and I Walk The Line are too similar: slow, mysterious buildup with wandering bass note, then drawn out first verse.
Laird Macdonald 's set (those look like actual birch trees onstage) underlines the wilderness metaphor the creators are aiming for; Michael McNamara 's film images attempt the same thing less successfully.
Unfortunately, this isn't a balanced match. Krucker outclasses Wild in terms of charisma and power not just in the songs, which in her rich vocal palette can sound like Schoenberg on steroids. But she brings an energy to her lines that Wild, despite his surname, can't muster.