Monday June 26th 2017

“Bright Half Life”

As we become more aware as citizens of the complexities in our lives, playwrights continue to explore themes that in the past were considered “tabu”, with homosexuality atop the heap. With the change in our mentalities, the American public has become more accepting of story-telling about those who were closeted for eons. About Face Theatre Company is one that creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre programming that advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity, challenging audiences to be educated and entertained at the same time. This is a paraphrasing of their “Mission”, which is served to perfection with their latest production, “Bright Half Life” now on stage at Theater Wit (stage two).

“Bright Half Life” written by Tanya Barfield and sharply directed by Keira Fromm is a 90 minute (no intermission) story about two women, Erica ( an amazing and powerful performance by one of my favorite actresses, Elizabeth Ledo) and Vicky (deftly handled by Patrese D. McClain) detailing their relationship- from the very beginning to the very end. The unusual part of the play is the presentation itself. The set is in reality, not a set, but William Boles has created a platform concept where the two women can step up or down, or jump with the audience never losing sight of the action and the story-telling. Erica is a temp worker for Vicky, who is on-the-rise in her career. They meet, they court, they fall in love, they have two daughters, they fall out of love, they fall back in love and all of this is done in quick segments, some feeling like flashbacks, others seeming to be similar to earlier scenes.

What both Barfield’s words and Fromm’s actions have created is a fast track look at what a relationship can be. Gender doesn’t matter. In this case, they are lesbians, but anyone who has ever had that chance meeting where they felt that the chemistry was just right, will recall their own experience. Life and love is made up of fragments, some happy, some not! There are also ups and downs in every relationship and those are captured in this interesting “love story”. It is a beautiful production with two very talented ladies bringing this script to life. The joy and sorrow will be felt just as the emotion and the love will warm your heart and soul.

The technical aspects of the production are powerful as well. The sound (Christopher Kriz who also does the music), the lighting (Christine Binder), Costumes (Melissa NG) and the props (Vivian Knouse) along with Mr. Boles’s  simple set which created the perfect platform to support the marvelous script and presentation of said script by these glorious ladies.

“Bright Half Life” will continue at Theater Wit (stage two) through July 1st with performances as follows:

Wednesdays  7:30 p.m.

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  7:30 p.m.

Sundays  3:p.m.

On Saturday, July 1, there will be an added 3 p.m. performance

Tickets (open seating) are $40 ($20 for seniors and students) and can be purchased at the box office- 1229 West Belmont Avenue, by calling 773-975-8150 or online at www.aboutfacetheatre.com

There is street parking in the Belmont Theater District, some metered, some not. Cooper’s has closed its doors, so if you were planning on a drink or pre or post play drink, think again.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Bright Half Life”

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