MOM THEATRE BLOGGER: Bright Half Life: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman
The world premiere production of BRIGHT HALF LIFE – a new play by Pulitzer Prize nominee Tanya Barfield and directed by Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman. The five-week limited engagement at New York City Center Stage II (131 W. 55th Street) runs from February 17 to March 22, 2015.
Erica meets Vicky. Vicky marries Erica. Lives collide. Rewind. Pause. Fast forward. Starring Rebecca Henderson (Appropriate Behavior) and Rachael Holmes (Ruined), BRIGHT HALF LIFE reflects on the ferris wheel of life, the fragility of sustaining love, skydiving, parenting, and the infinite moments that bring, keep and ultimately break apart make a relationship over decades.
It’s the structure here that draws you in. Scenes repeat. Time jumps back ‘n forth. We get snippets of their lives together, the good, the bad, the mundane and everything in between.
The play opens with Erica stating that her father has died, and she’s reaching out….potentially to reconcile their lesbian relationship…..or is it just for support? Either way, we’re not quite sure how monumental a loss this is for her. And, this is reflective of the tone of the play. While the actors hold your attention, there’s no real depth of character, given the somewhat sketchy feel of the material.
That said, Henderson and Holmes have a likeable chemistry and do a superb job of readily switching emotional gear, exuding a gamut of emotions from lust to fear. Each has a strong, riveting presence. We want them to be together. We feel for them and wish we knew more of their personal backstories.
Ms. Barfield is a gifted writer and supported by Leigh Silverman’s direction, BRIGHT HALF LIFE makes us stop and recognize the delicate moments when love ignites and how we yearn to hold on, whether it’s gripping the safety bar of a ferris wheel or jumping for joy on a bed that we anticipate sharing with our mate.
BRIGHT HALF LIFE is produced by Women’s Project Theater, under the leadership of newly-appointed Producing Artistic Director Lisa McNulty.
Completing the creative team are Set Designer Rachel Hauck (This Wide Night), Costume Designer Emily Rebholz (If/Then), Lighting Designer Jen Schriever (The Other Josh Cohen) and Sound Designer Bart Fasbender (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson).
BRIGHT HALF LIFE continues WP Theater’s mission as the nation’s oldest and largest company dedicated to developing, producing and promoting the work of theater artists who identify as women.
BRIGHT HALF LIFE was developed during a residency at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference in 2014 (Preston Whiteway – Executive Director; Wendy C. Goldberg – Artistic Director).
Tickets / Performance Schedule The playing schedule for BRIGHT HALF LIFE is as follows: Tuesday- Friday at 7:30PM, Saturday at 2:30PM & 7:30PM, Sunday at 2:30PM. Tickets start at $60 and can be purchased by calling CityTix at 212-581-1212, by visiting the Box Office at 131 West 55th Street in NYC, or online at WPTheater.org. It runs 75 minutes, no intermission.