Half Me, Half you is a play of two halves that takes place in New York City in 2017 and 2033 respectively, showing the present reality and aftermath of the Donald Trump presidency. Written, produced by and staring Liane Grant of Rol’n Productions (founded with Roxanne Lamendola, after the pair met at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts), the company serves to give a platform to new and untold stories working with talented yet underrepresented women in the theatre industry.
Half Me, Half you is a bold piece of work that is contextualised by the writer’s close experiences of living in America and the UK and being confronted by the vast array of troublesome territories both countries are straying deeper into: the rise of bigotry, the unsafe and hostile environments, structural racism, the rise of the far right (the left aren’t as keen on handling guns..) and loss of lives as a result.
Half Me, Half You asks what if you were black, gay and a woman in America right now?
Jess and Meredith are a married, interracial, gay couple living in New York in 2017, weathering a new wave of intolerance, discrimination and oppression, which is sweeping the nation and seeping into their home.
Jennifer Fouché and Liane Grant gave warm, powerful and heart-felt performances as married couple Jess and Meredith. Together they shine a light on the adversity brought by external forces into their lives, exploring the expectation of both womanhood, marriage as well as their own careers and ambitions.
Particularly emotive scenes convey Jess’s desire for a child made impossible by health problems contrasted with Meredith’s soul searching for her own identity as a woman who doesn’t want children. Both actors really conveyed the multi-dimensional characters brought through in the writing and had an excellent connection and pace in dialogue throughout.
In the second half, 16 years later (2033) Maya, a biracial British teen, is forced into American life, braving the aftermath of a second civil war, and changing Meredith’s life irrevocably. It’s at this point we are able to consider the current global climate and consequences for future generations, while reminding us that we are all simply people searching for love and acceptance.
Kalea Williams as Maya gave a committed and moving performance that powerfully shifted her scenes with Grant (as Meredith) following the death of her mother to highlight the central theme of love through her loss.
The play wasn’t short of its light-hearted moments thanks to the wonderfully comic Evelyn Chrisina Tonn as Deb. She was able to create moments of honesty and poignancy through humour.
The writer confidently draws on themes of racism, homophobia and being female and expectations of motherhood and womanhood in a drama that excels in bringing to the stage untold stories reflecting a truth that is complex and largely unseen on stage.
Core to the writing was love that embraces differences as well as similarities, that can be exceptionally powerful when shared to unite us for the greater good against the enemy of hate.
Cast: Liane Grant (Meredith), Jennifer Fouché (Jess), Kalea Williams (Maya), Evelyn Christina Tonn (Deb) Writer: Liane Grant Director: Leah Fogo Designer: Verity Johnson Sound Design: Scott Stait Lighting Design: Kate Soper Stage Manager/Tech Op: Molly Sheridan Venue: Tristan Bates/Tabard Theatre Duration: 2 hours 15 mins including interval Dates: Tuesday 17 July to 21st July 2018
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