“Break, Break” Delivers Unique Perspective on the End of the World

image of ticket from the play "Break, Break"This is unrelated to writing, but it appeals to my artistic and amateur radio interests.

Someone from the Legion Theater Project reached out to my local ham radio club to inform us about the play “Break, Break” which was being performed at the BCA Plaza Black Box Theater in the South End. Amateur radio is a central prop in a queer sci-fi play in which a group find themselves sheltering in the studios of the fictional radio station WCRP in a small Pennsylvania town.

Aliens have invaded and are methodically wiping out all the population centers on Earth. The station manager is an amateur radio operator (they use an authentic call sign, “W3LES”). He sets up his ham equipment into the studio to broadcast reports that they hear from other ham operators about the invasion. 

The crew takes in a straggler when they go out in search of food. Several shouting matches break out as to whether there is enough food to last, and whether they should abandon the effort and search for others. Lots of contention and interpersonal conflict break out between the five characters as they question the futility of attempting to sustain communications, not knowing if there’s anyone left who is even listening.  They are completely cutoff from the outside world save for the ham radio.  As time passes, the number of hams in which they are in contact begin to dwindle.

The ham equipment was authentic; the Drake T-4XB and R-4B are items I used in the eighties. 

The play featured an all-LGBTQA cast and was sprinkled with a bit of queer humor but nothing too outrageous. All in all, I enjoyed it immensely.

Afterward, in the lobby I introduced myself to the actor who played the ham operator. “Hi Whiskey Three Lima Echo Mike. This is Kilo Niner Hotel India.”  He smiled.

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