Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Review of About Face Theatre's Bright Half Life

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Bright Half Life. It was by Tanya Barfield and it was directed by Keira Fromm. It was about two women, Erica (Elizabeth Ledo) and Vicky (Patrese D. McClain), who are a couple in New York. The show takes place over about 45 years and you see them learn things together and grow together and grow apart. It is about what truly makes a person happy, how somebody can shape your life, and love. I think this is a very beautiful show. It has so many adorable and sad moments. It really spoke to me, and I felt very close to both the characters. Whenever they would feel hurt, I would feel hurt. Whenever they would feel happy, so would I. It made me realize how beautiful and hard life can be at the same time. This is just a really amazing show. I really really loved it.

There were a lot of really really cute scenes. One of my favorites was the Ferris wheel scene. Each of the scenes was spread out over the course of the play. They come back to it, sometimes building on it and sometimes revisiting it. The Ferris wheel scene was about their third date and they are kind of starting to become more comfortable around each other. And Vicky wants Erica to go on the Ferris wheel to basically conquer her fear of heights. They establish that Erica actually is terribly afraid of heights, and they establish an even closer bond than they had at the beginning of the scene because Vicky helps Erica get through it by anything from singing to her to having her look into her eyes. And it starts to become slightly less harrowing for Erica. This scene is really where you see their relationship blossom. There is one scene where they are going mattress shopping and they are waiting for the salesperson to come back. And while they are waiting, Erica decides it is a great idea to jump on the bed. And they are doing that and trying to make sure that nobody sees. It is just such a an adorable scene to see them having a great time and just being immature together. The optimist and the pessimist kind of alternate in the course of the play. In situations that require bravery, Erica is definitely the pessimist, but in situations that include doing something silly, Vicky is definitely the pessimist. Basically, a pessimist can be won over, but if you won't budge, then you are just no fun. Erica cares less about what people think of her, but she cares a lot about having no chance of any danger coming her way. Vicky cares a lot about what people think of her but likes taking physical risks.

There are also a lot of heartbreaking scenes. The first scene you see happen is not the first chronologically. It is after they had broken up. Erica comes over to Vicky's house so she can get some help because her Dad is dying. And that is sad because she is so grief-stricken that she decides to ask Vicky to marry her, even though they had just broken up. Which I don't think is the smartest idea, because there was clearly a problem in your relationship if you have just broken up. Even if you are soul mates, you should probably wait a little bit and try to get the relationship moving again before you make that commitment. You see how desperate Erica is, that she will literally take any comfort and she has basically resorted to her ex-girlfriend. Another heartbreaking scene was when Erica said that she didn't know herself anymore or who she was. I think it is heartbreaking for both of them because I think Erica is telling Vicky the truth, but Vicky doesn't like it. And Vicky gets very mad with the circumstances and Erica because she is so disappointed, which is completely understandable because she is very hurt, but it is not helpful. This scene really moved me a lot because you see how hard both Vicky and Erica are trying, but it isn't panning out the way that they wanted it to because of the different types of people that they are.

This play teaches you a lot about life. It helps you really see how beautifully complicated life is. It shows you that life can throw you a lot of obstacles, and even if you feel like you have the worst hand ever dealt to you there is someone who will try to help you. Even if they fail, that they tried still means they cared about you. The play is realistically romantic. It is not all lovey-dovey and saying everything is perfect in every relationship. It is saying there are struggles in every relationship, but that doesn't mean there is no such thing as love.

People who would like this show are people who like realistic romance, grief proposals, and jumping on mattresses. I think this is such an amazing and beautiful show. I really hope that everyone gets to experience it.

Photos: Michael Brosilow

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