Bright Half Life


Every so often a friend will report to me that they just broke up with their partner — and I’m stunned. You seemed to happy?!

They cast down their eyes, “I’m not even sure why anymore.”


Bright Half Life helped me understand those relationship dissolutions by expertly profiling the relationship between Erica (Rebecca Henderson) and Vicky (Rachael Holmes). They meet, breakup, reunite, marry, have kids, divorce and have a reconciliation of sorts when one of them faces terminal illness. You don’t see those events in order, as writer Tanya Barfield masterfully weaves the tale in micro-movements, associating each scene with bad and/or future vignettes that impart us with shades of understanding. Director Leigh Silverman steers these shifts with subtle changes in light, sound or gesture that highlight how these memories exist in the same time and space. The depth of the work by all of the creatives involved make these nano-shifts instantly clear to the audience. These moments were artfully strung together and, much to their credit, tear your heart out.


There’s so much love between Vicky and Erica and you wonder why they cannot find a way to stay together. Then I remembered my friends. As I watched the couple on stage devolve, I saw how love can fall through your finger tips, molecule by molecule, until years later your partner steps on the love puddle on their way out the door. The great tragedy of this piece are the near misses these two lovers had in mutual understanding and healing.


Rebecca Henderson and Rachael Holmes usher you through this journey acutely, giving us spoonfuls of precisely-crafted emotional twists and turns that most often happen in less than a few minutes, sometimes 30 seconds. Their focus and task was so enormous I wondered how they — and we— didn’t pass out from the intensity of it all. The play closes on March 22nd — see it before does, it’ll be gone before you know it.