About Face Theatre brings us a brave look at a real relationship in its production of Tanya Barfield’s BRIGHT HALF LIFE. Their mission statement states their desire to produce work that “...advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity…” which is accomplished in this intimate and engaging look at a long-term relationship between two women.
About Face Creates Intimacy
The show focuses on the relationship between Vicky and Erica; two women who meet at work and begin dating soon after. It follows them through the complexities of modern dating and marriage. These are the only two characters we meet, so the relationship between the couple and the audience becomes equally as intimate as the one between the two women. We are told their story through fragmented, nonlinear memories. As more information is revealed, the passage of time is abundantly clear. Barfield takes us through each moment so skillfully that the audience has no trouble keeping track of where the story is at any given time.
Chemistry Between Cast Members
The women portraying Vicky and Erica, Patrese McClain and Elizabeth Ledo respectively, are each exemplary actors on their own. When put together to carry an entire show as the only cast members, they become a powerhouse. Their chemistry shines in lighter moments and hits the audience straight in the heart at the tough times. There is never a time when either one cowers from staring the given situation straight in the face.
The minimalist set, brilliantly designed by William Boles, adds gravity to the performances. It almost has an otherworldly, futuristic feel to it. With essentially nothing to look at beyond the actors, we focus solely on their emotions and are able to flow from memory to memory without interference.
The writing is subtle and moving. It is pure dialogue with very little action. If you desire a night of suspense or thrills, this is not the show for you. If witty realism and stellar performances give you a thrill, you will find joy in this production.
Photos by: Michael Brosilow
Top Pick For: Lovers of Relationship Drama
Not recommended for: Action Seekers
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
May 26 - July 1, 2017
Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday at 7:30PM
Sundays at 3:00PM
Note: Added performance Saturday, July 1 at 3:00PM
1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Online at www.aboutfacetheatre.com
Note: an excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago.
Or in person at Theater Wit Box Office