Editor’s Note: Women’s Project Theater made it possible for ArtsConnection teens to see their one of their latest productions, ‘Bright Half Life’. We’re bringing you two teen perspectives of the play, one from a teen actor and another from a teen designer.
Director Leigh Silverman and playwright Tanya Barfield made a well put together play that presents the past, future, and present. Erica (Rebecca Henderson) and Vicky (Rachael Holmes) are a lesbian couple that share a bond. Bright Half Life shows how this madly in love couple faces the ups and downs all couples experience, such as arguments, having fun, teasing each other, sadness, and creating a family. At one point in the performance, Vicky says to Erica, “Times change but we don’t.” Her words communicate the overall meaning to the play: no matter what they went through, happy and low times, whether it was in the past, present, or the future, their personalities and chemistry in the relationship still stay the same
This play is not like any other because it does not have a clear beginning, middle or end. It unfolds as if someone is reminiscing on different parts of their life with that special someone, showing what their relationship goes through over half a life time. Lighting and clothing changes are used to show different moments in time. The stage is a small gray square platform with no background imagery and a light stage design. Lighting changes and the actors’ movement–opening an imaginary door and sitting on the benches as if they were in an office using a computer–demonstrate different moments in time and space. You wouldn’t know if it’s the past, present, or future, but you can connect the dots and envision how the moments are ordered in their lives. The limited use of props helps the audience see the intimacy between the characters. If materials were involved in the play then it would distract the audience.
Before going to the theater, I read more about Bright Half Life to get a full understanding; otherwise, I would have been confused. I mean, can you imagine acting out a play where the story doesn’t have a beginning, middle, and end? As humans, we are used to a story in order. It might be hard to grasp the story because it’s not presented in an order viewers are used to seeing, but, I recommend doing research on the play before going. The play starts off with a comedic tone and becomes more serious as we learn more about the characters. Watching the play makes you feel like you are with Vicky and Erica during these moments in their lives. Tickets are $60, but it’s all worth the watch.
Bright Half Life is presented by Women’s Project Theater at New York City Center Stage II (131 W 55th St, New York) until March 22, 2015.