Friday, April 8, 2022

The Road Magnolia in repertory: BRIGHT HALF LIFE by Tanya Barfield

  BRIGHT HALF LIFE by Tanya Barfield   joins The Play You Want at The Road Theatre in North Hollywood.

Kacie Rogers and Tiffany Wolff star in the Road Theatre Company’s Los Angeles premiere of BRIGHT HALF LIFE by Tanya Barfield, directed by Amy K. Harmon and now playing at the Road Theatre in North Hollywood.

In 1981 a new format for television was initiated: MTV.  With MTV came an approach to entertain that has permeated world culture in the form of speed: quick cuts and dazzling changes that leave the devil to take the hind most.  As I trail behind and The Road ups the ante with socially relevant theatre, Tanya Barfield's play challenges not only the players, but the audience to keep up!  Or, Else!

  One of the joys of small theatre in Los Angeles is the variety of productions at any one time and that there are companies dedicated to challenging their audiences. Lesbians for two weekends in a row reflects our changing times. 

The Road does not disappoint. In this Los Angeles premiere, we meet Vicki and Erica (Kacie Rogers and Tiffany Wolff) who may or may not be in love. Vicky is more femme. Erica is.. a little butch.

Like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five, our heroines are stuck and unstuck in place & time: it's an amorphous somewhere that the audience must play catch up to imagine. An office. An elevator. A Ferris Wheel and sky diving. It's a love story and a conundrum asking the actors to be in many ages and places and many different times at the flip of an imaginary switch.  This switch, the truly impressive lighting design by Derrick McDaniel and sound by Marc Antonio Pritchett, enhances the mood and physical changes demanded of the actors. This device is an acting challenge that includes the audience. A simple stage. A couple of chairs.  Beckett on speed?  Breathless.

 Lights and lives change. Time is slipping away.  What is our destination? Who are the travelers?  We exist, evidently,  in the space of over forty years. Joni Mitchell's "Circle Game" comes to mind, " we are captives on the carousel of time.." But here we quickly rush to and fro from a middle to a beginning to a wedding to a birth through the lives of partners who ... eventually.. eventually.. 

take the leap. 

Popular references notwithstanding. Erica and Vicky do the dance of meeting, courtship, love & family, parents / children and issues all in one fluid motion that sometimes makes sense. Sometimes.  Director Amy K. Harmon, sends her actors running full tilt straight out of the gate. The pace may occasionally change, but mostly it's Hell Bent for Something. 


BRIGHT HALF LIFE by Tanya Barfield


The Road Theatre

10747 Magnolia Blvd., 

North Hollywood, CA  91601

    Performances are Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm through Su

May 8. Performances continue in repertory beginning Thursday, May 12 at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm & Sundays at 7:30pm through Sunday, May 22.  


There will be no performances April 29, April 30 or May 1.

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