Review: ‘I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart’ at The Studio Theatre

They are longtime friends who share an apartment, a hearty back-and-forth, and a splendid repartee of tease, criticism, support and jealousy, and multiple emotions that swirl as individuals marginalized, different, and not-accepted. Written and directed by Morgan Gould, I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart confronts issues of acceptance, character, relationship, and place. The story is realized by long time collaborators and actors Anna O’Donoghue (Chloe) and Tommy Heleringer (Leo) who are joined by Nicole Spiezio (Sam).

Nicole Spiezio (Samantha) and Tommy Heleringer (Leo). Photo by Teddy Wolff.

Sam is the roommate of Leo. Together they bond on identity outside-the-line; she is the fat girl that nobody wants to get to know; he, the excited gay guy. They comment on the latest trends of popular culture, squeezing the remote or each other, sharing a take-out meal of Chinese, solving world problems and getting crazy. They talk over the television in cluttered conversation as random as the items on the kitchen counter. This “TV watching phone checking pair” each have a good start on an adult life and a literary career, along with a frequently opening and closing refrigerator, Doritos to put out the heat, and a relationship with history.

At the start of the evening, you catch a glimpse out on the town, the well-appareled friends exhibiting stylish overdrive dressed to the nines or tens.  Later, credit captions swirl overhead, or signal the progression of time as months pass and changes evolve. Leo introduces his friend from work, Chloe, and she sparks new complexities. Played with brash innocence by Anna O’Donoghue, Chloe is a girl who can’t sit still. Is Chloe smarter than she acts, kinder than she seems or just as she appears, pretty and slim, and one of those people easy to like?

The costumes by Designer Ivania Stack add structure to each scene, and make visual the changing season or the daily tasks of work or play. Scenes can be brief or evolve quickly sometimes trailing off in mid-sentence, or with a closing door. Leo wakes Sam up late at night with music way too loud. Possibly a cause for a huge argument, here it evolves into a fierce dance of lip-synching and sofa leaping with sound moves, pleasurable and comedic, performed with abandon.

Set Designer Luciana Stecconi begins with a curtain of purple tinsel, which pulls away to a realistic city-scape apartment well-appointed with a narrow sofa and a kitchen sink with running water. The set is filled with tiny details that amuse when the eye floats away from the dialogue. The moments left in black out are given a breath by Sound Designer Justin Schmitz, at one point adding music from Downton Abbey to heighten the drama of the preceding interchange. The creative team achieves in solidifying, a professional and polished staging.

Tommy Heleringer and Nicole Spiezio. Photo by Teresa Wood.

Things never stay the same. As I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart reminds, the passage of time may not heal, but the widening circle of friendship can let others in and honesty to survive. Morgan Gould has written a play that captures central and poignant moments of experience.

Running Time: One hour and 45 minutes, with no intermission.

I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart plays through February 19, 2017, at Studio Theatre’s Stage 4 – 1501 14th Street NW, in Washington DC. For tickets call the box office at (202) 332-3300, or purchase them online.

LINK:
Magic Time! ‘I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart’ at Studio X by John Stoltenberg.