Split personalities are not inherently funny. Sharon Tipsword, whose "Tom, Dick and Harry" is playing at Back Alley Theatre, Thursdays through Sundays appears to find the whole idea of a man with three personalities as one big ho ho ho.

Tom is a famous scientist who has been on the cover of Newsweek. When his obsession with facts and figures becomes too much, he becomes Dick, a swinger. When Dick's obsession with fun and figures becomes too much, he becomes Harry, a cultured gentleman with a Cary Grant voice.

Harry knows all about Dick and Tom; Dick knows all about Tom; Tom is oblivious to one and all.

Coping with all of this is Gilda, a neighbor who inexplicably falls for Tom, then Dick, then Harry, and even manages to marry them. Only when Dick impregnates her does she feel she is out of her depth. She briefly poses as a female counterpart of Dick and Harry in order to drive the usurping personalities out of Tom.

Robert Spera, cast as Tom/Dick/ Harry, seems most at home as Dick and least at home as Tom. Un ortunately, Gilda and the audience are supposed to sympathize more with Tom than with his mates. Tom is mawkishly conceived by Tipsword as a lonely genius who is afraid of losing his humanity and becoming a "neutrino." But as portrayed by Spera, Tom already seems less than human. It's also disconcerting to hear a pedant mispronounce "pedantry."

Throughout the play, Spera is dressed and groomed in a manner befitting Dick, and only when he is actually playing Dick does this seem proper. During these scenes Spera is a forcefully amusing romancer, preening and posing and growling like a self-satisfied rooster.

Caron Tate's performance as Gilda is overdone throughout the play. Only in the brief scene when Gilda pretends to meet Dick on his own terms do Tate's excesses seem right for the part.

Neither Tipsword nor director Fredric Lee have added much of value to the basic premise of the play, and after a while that premise grows tiresome. An idea for a play is not enough.