When I first met my husband, during the blissful engagement leading up to our marriage, I started to have a strange kind of experience. We would be together, holding hands, watching television, cooking a meal, any old kind of thing, and I would suddenly feel a sort of happiness that was so intense that I could see numerous moments of our life together all at once, almost simultaneously, in this sort of temporal overlapping sensation. I felt the sadness of knowing that eventually the love we had would end, either through his death, or mine, or our relationship’s. At the exact same time, I felt the intense joy of having this kind of love in my life. The feeling was almost excruciating.
I still have those experiences now, when I look at my son, who was born just a minute ago, and turned seven in September. When I catch myself taking him in as a big second-grader, and knowing that in a heartbeat he will be going to college, even as I remember the day he was born, it’s like I can feel all those moments of our lives happening all at once, blending together in a tumult of feeling and love and loss. It leaves me breathless and a little heartbroken every time.
When I first read "Bright Half Life," I had a similar experience. I felt that the playwright, Tanya Barfield, must too have had these time-bending experiences in her love and life. Because even though our minds and bodies live life in a linear fashion, our hearts live life all at once - projecting, forecasting, remembering, experiencing , and reliving all of the moments - all at once.
Life is short. It’s also long. Love is hard. It’s also easy. What can we do but hold on, live in the now, savor it all, and hope for the best?
In this heart-capturing play, Ms. Barfield gives us such moments, each beautifully realized, discrete, and at the same time connected. As with love, the best way to experience it is to let it wash over you, let go, open your heart, and enjoy every second.
Perhaps Willa Cather said it best: "What was any art but a mould in which to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself - life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose."
Enjoy the show!