“Love Will Tear Us Apart,” written and directed by Michael Hyman, is a bleak play about a young, gay man Nicky (Bradford Rosenbloom) who hears the voice of his former lover Sean (Ben Campbell) while extremely drunk. Rosenbloom is absolutely believable as the tormented Sean stumbling around his living room in present day New York. He portrays the drunken state to perfection—unsteady, breathing heavily and starts to snore when he lies down on the sofa—after grasping bottle after bottle of vodka and popping some pills.
We soon hear the well-modulated voice of Campbell off stage, invading Nicky’s dreams. He tells stories, asks questions, recites philosophy, recounts sexual adventures (including their first kiss lasting 228 seconds), as Nicky tries to cover his head with his blanket and cover his ears to drown out the sound. Sean admonishes Nicky for having sex with boys every night in bars but making no connection, and giving a strange phone number when asked. He asks him “Who will you love in your world of constant strangers?” He brings up Todd, a friend who apparently loved both Nicky and Sean. Todd died, and the retelling of his funeral becomes an extended elegy. In one of his few outbursts, Nicky, whose eyes remain vacant, says their kiss lasted 229 seconds not 228. Then the voice appears in the flesh, still not noticed by Nicky. Sean asks Nicky if he remembers the joke about Blackie the talking dog, providing the only moment of levity in the play.
“Love Will Tear Us Apart” is at the Hudson Guild Theatre (6539 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood). Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm, and Sunday nights at 7pm ending December 13. All tickets are $18. Tickets are available by calling (323) 960-5773 or online at www.plays411.com/theloveplay.