Warning: This weekend’s Basement Arts show isn’t for the recently heartbroken. Actually, just to be safe, it’s not for anyone who’s had their heart broken anytime in the last three or four months.
Inspired by Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline,” School of Music senior Seth Anderson’s show “Posthumus” exposes the terrible truth of a one-sided breakup. Conceived by Anderson and written in collaboration with the show’s only actor, Music School sophomore Darren Criss, “Posthumous” goes where no other show dares — into the living room of a guy who’s had his heart stomped on.
After a phone call reveals his wife of eight years is actually a no-good adulteress, the title character Posthumous (name obviously borrowed from the Shakespeare play) deteriorates into an hour-long monologue of self reflection, genuine grieving and a touch of “how-could-you-do-this-to-me.”
Following the shattering phone call, Posthumous delivers a soliloquy from “Cymbeline” about the pain of love and the unbearable burden of women, as a video montage of him and his estranged wife is projected onto a screen. The combination of modern technology and Shakespearian language works, because let’s be honest – Shakespeare knows heartbreak like nobody else.
After the brief smattering of Shakespearian text, Posthumous proceeds to violate the first rule of post-breakup sanity: He opens the memory box. Out spill countless trinkets of the couple’s happier days – love notes written on napkins, photographs and other relationship keepsakes. He then takes out a small voice recorder and begins talking to his absent lover. This guy has it bad.
A bottle of wine in hand, Posthumous begins to grapple with the reasons his relationship didn’t work out. He indulges a theory that there are two types of lovers in the world: ones that thrive on the excitement of new beginnings and those content with companionship. Unfortunately for Posthumous, it appears he fell in love with the former.
As a talented musician, Criss is thankfully able to dot the tragic scene with music throughout. Sitting at his piano, Posthumous plays a tune here and there, looking as if he’ll suddenly burst out into the best heartbreak song of all time.
The piano eventually proves a somewhat silent companion, so Posthumous does what any anguished guy would do: He calls up a friend. But the conversation only ends up illustrating the painful solitude of breaking up, as the voice on the other end actually uses that terrible clich