I was interested in the phrase, “We had a terrible breakup, like horrific,” appearing in New York Times’ (September 26) theater review, titled “Old Friends Whose Past Is Always Present,” which comments on the Debate Society’s shows. It goes:
“I won’t tell that story,” he responded. Their director, Oliver Butler, 34 — sitting across from Ms. Bos at a table on the roof of the Bushwick Starr, where their new “Blood Play” begins previews on Wednesday — looked curious, adding quietly that he didn’t know the story.
Then came a dramatic pause.
“We had a terrible breakup, like horrific,” Ms. Bos blurted out.
“Awful,” Mr. Thureen added with alacrity, as if finishing her sentence.
The exchange was like a scene from one of their plays.”
Why does Hannah Bos complement “terrible” breakup with “like horrific”?
What are the differences of nuance and level of “horribleness” among “terrible” “horrific,” and “awful,” which was deliberately added to by Paul Thureen? Are they all the same, and simple or redundant rewording?
Additional but important question, what does “Old friends whose past is always present” mean? Is this phrase the Debate Society’s coinage?