Half Me, Half You by Liane Grant
The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street
Review by Robert Viagas
The Wild Project’s Fresh Fruit Festival explores the complications of recent advances in gay life with Half Me, Half You, a drama that looks at what happens when a married interracial gay couple splits over the issue of having a child.
Jess (Jennifer Fouché) wants a baby more than anything; the problem is, Meredith (played by playwright Liane Grant) doesn’t. It’s clear that while their marriage is based on love, and they try to come to terms on the issue, they simply can’t.
Act I, with the breakup, is set in 2017. A lot happens in the decade-plus leap into the future of Act II. Jess moves to Europe, has the child, sickens, and dies, leaving the teen-aged Maya motherless. Meredith survives what is described as the Second American Civil War, presumably between Red and Blue states. The fact that the out lesbian Meredith isn’t dead or in a concentration camp gives a pretty good idea of who won. But not much is done with this provocative premise—which alone could provide material for several seasons of a Netflix series.
Despite the dramatic sci-fi developments, the world of the 2030s appears to be pretty much status quo for Meredith—at least until the arrival of Maya (Kalea Williams) on her doorstep. Despite Meredith’s stated determination that she does not want children, the late Jess has designated Meredith as her daughter’s guardian in her will. Meredith, who got a rigorous browbeating for her “selfishness” in Act I, now comes in for a second verbal clobbering for the same sin from Maya, who smolders with anger over the bad hand life has dealt her.
Directed by Leah Fogo, this deeply earnest and sober drama attempts to deal with real issues of our time in an uncompromising way. A little humor and forgiveness would have helped.
The play was presented as part of the Fresh Fruit Festival at The Wild Project, the Off-Off Broadway theatre.