In the wake of the recent bike accident on Wells and Oak that took a young lawyer’s life, Pavement Group’s “Breaks and Bikes” written by Mary Avignon feels all too plausible. But even with the added pathos of this eerie coincidence, “Breaks and Bikes” fails to make an impact. The play opens in the hospital room of Drew (Joe Wiens), a thirty-one-year-old law student who has fallen into a coma after being struck by a car. Drew’s hippie mother (Morgan McCabe) and a collection of his past lovers and hipster friends take turns camping out, waiting for him to wake up. As Drew’s flighty mother frets, his “friends” lament the disappointments of adulthood: ailing parents, unfulfilled fantasies, the dissolution of friendships, the realization that you can’t be a hipster all your life. They bicker quietly, without much interest. They also describe in detail their comatose friend as a robotic, reckless jerk. The success of the show relies on the audience liking Drew, understanding the loss his death will bring, but ultimately it’s too hard to comprehend what’s really at stake for anyone if he passes away.
Thankfully the acting is solid. Yet, due to either poor script or lazy direction, every character flip-flops between the same nervous rambling and grief-stricken stuttering. And despite the perfect casting, the script can’t manage to elicit empathy for any of the characters. That being said, Keith Neagle performed Jason’s marijuana-induced monologue brilliantly. More energy and poignancy occurred within that five-minutes than throughout the rest of the play.
The end consists of dragging monologues regarding the great uncertainty of life: what the heck are we doing and how do we know if we’re doing it right? But this rich theme can’t make up for the preceding 90 minutes of vacancy and vapidity.