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Finding the humour in heartbreak

Breaking up is hard to do. Admitting to yourself that a relationship is actually over can sometimes be the hardest part.

Breaking up is hard to do.

Admitting to yourself that a relationship is actually over can sometimes be the hardest part.

That dilemma is the crux of Noncommittal, which follows a pair of relationships that are circling the bowl.

Playwright Daniel Kim’s Tom is a salt-of-the-earth songwriter and Harvey’s hamburger maker who can’t quite seem to pull that first album together. His fast-food reality and seeming lack of ambition drive his girlfriend Amber (Clare Filipow) crazy.

Tom’s buddy Ben (co-writer Roger Kozun) has his act together: He bought a house (“because everyone else was doing it”) and has a successful job at a law firm. He’s done everything “right” and he’d be a catch, except his girlfriend Elizabeth (Lindsey Walker) wants to let him go.

Aside from being a funny play, Noncommittal’s strength is how it sheds light on ugly truths we’ve all faced in a fading relationship. How ego can sometimes prevent us from admitting that we’ve made mistakes or that it isn’t working and never will, or how we transpose our own failings onto the other person.

All of the characters are easy to identify with. Whether you want to hold up the mirror and remember your crappy breakup is another matter.

No less funny or insightful is The Art of Being a Bastard, which follows a trio of dweebs (actors Joshua Lee Coss, Jason Green and Chad Zinger) intent on douchebaggery. Well, technically, they just want to get laid. To do so, they will have to compromise their principles — or so they think.

Geeks will adore this one. Aside from a barrage of jokes that eviscerate pop culture, there’s a reminder here that the ends don’t necessarily justify the means.

While the geeks do forego their Saturday night MMORPG (that’s Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game — God help me, I actually know what that stupid acronym means) sessions and discover living, breathing women, they also learn along the way a truly successful relationship depends on staying true to yourself first and foremost.

 
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