2016 Capital Fringe Review: ‘A Breakup Is Swift’

In the thick air crevassing within the Martin Luther King Jr. Library basement, there’s some heated tension, worthy of addressing. Cameron (Nick Duckworth), and Dale (Ben Kleymeyer) are in the middle of one of life’s inevitable, awkward instances; a breakup – and it’s not so swift. Originally derived from a boy/girl text conversation, stage artist, Clint Bagwell has lifted the virtual messages of an ending relationship, into a heightened theatrical piece that is memorably gender-defied.


A Breakup Is Swift is performed with two opposing personalities; Kleymeyer dons a black, jean jacket – adorned with colorful campaign-sized buttons – while Duckworth is buttoned inside a rainbow-plaid, collared shirt – their wardrobe contrasts their individual responses throughout the answer-seeking transmission. Dale is fore front about his sexual desires, and innocent defensiveness, while Cameron exists in a world where he feels obligated to justify every one of his ‘reasons’ for ending a three-week relationship.

Bagwell has done a great service in maintaining modern, theatrical movements – the “script” is gender-neutral. The opening performance of Swift casts an eye on two men, played by Kleymeyer and Duckworth; two parties handling a typical breakup situation. Exuded by familiar bantering, the most eye-opening moment comes when conservative audiences, wonderfully realize that the physical appearances of Bagwell’s actors are meaningless – their respective genders are translucent via the underlying texts.

A Breakup Is Swift is a snowflake of a performance; no two are alike. Additional actors set to delve into the roles of “Cameron” and “Dale” are Elle Sullivan, Gabby Jones, and Maggie Murphy. The five performance dates introduce varied, actor interpretations of the same conversation. Depending on when you decide to mosey yourself to the MLK Library, prepare for a realistic conversation of awkwardness and appropriate humanism.

Running Time: 45 minutes, with no intermission.


A Breakup Is Swift is playing through July 17, 2016 at  MLK Jr. Memorial Library: A:3 -901 G Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.

Check other reviews and show previews on DCMetroTheaterArts’ 2016 Capital Fringe Page.

Read the preview of  ‘A Breakup Is Swift.’

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1550.gif Best of the 2016 Capital Fringe!

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Benjamin Dennis
Native to southern Pennsylvania, Ben Dennis is a writer, actor, singer and drama critic, all the while studying at Penn State University. Featured in The Record Herald, Shippensburg News-Chronicle, and Centre Daily Times, Ben’s theatrical pieces have received rave reviews from theatre-folk and new audiences alike. The 2014 Totem Pole Award Winner for “Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role”, Ben has taken an abundant passion for performance art in new directions, frequently seen as a theatre reviewer and commentator of summer-stock, collegiate-level and professional productions. Additionally, he believes in the power of up and coming talent in youth environments, advocating for arts education new theatrical interests.


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