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Bright Half Life

  • Theater, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Bright Half Life: Theater review by Helen Shaw

For sheer loveliness, you won’t surpass Bright Half Life, Tanya Barfield’s exquisite miniature about the weightlessness of life’s heavy moments. “I’m floating,” one character says, kissing the other—and during this hectically romantic show, so are we. Two women, Erica (Rebecca Henderson) and Vicky (Rachael Holmes), flicker through their lives together; scenes hopscotch around in time, so a marital fight becomes a first date and then rapprochement after heartbreak and cancer. Life is in the same category as other time-drunk, two-handed relationship plays, but while it shares ground with, say, Constellations, it relies less on charm, more on truth.

You certainly believe that these virtuosic actors, steered by Leigh Silverman’s light hand, love each other; their humor and sheer drops into emotion give you sympathetic vertigo. One recurring scene finds them on a Ferris wheel, with Henderson gripping the bar. Terrified of heights, she orders her lover, “Stop. Moving.” But Holmes hadn’t even blinked. Perhaps Erica was sensing the audience; God knows we were all around—sighing, laughing, being moved.—Helen Shaw

New York City Center Stage II (see Off Broadway). By Tanya Barfield. Directed by Leigh Silverman. With Rebecca Henderson, Rachael Holmes. Running time: 1hr 5mins. No intermission.


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