Created in collaboration between Generation Arts and Tamasha Theatre Company, Half of Me follows a young girl as she discovers the truth about her genetic roots. The play, written by Satinder Chohan, explores the experiences by people born as a result of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Chohan’s text is intriguing and poetic, and brought to life dynamically by the performers of Generation Arts.
Areia (Erica Kouassi) feels different from her family. On a trip to a museum displaying Greek Antiquities, she is drawn to a stone statue, and is overwhelmed by its power and the feelings it evokes. She collapses, and wakes up with her parents around her, discussing her illness: she has a hole in her heart, a genetic condition. Areia finds out the man she has know her life as as her father (Hakeem Jacobs), is actually not biologically connected to her. The hole in her heart is not just a physical defect for Areia, but a metaphorical one too. She decides to head to Greece to find the sperm donor who gave her life, and on the way, discovers the meaning of family.
The ensemble work very well together, and their movement during the physical sections of the piece are precise and visually appealing. As a Greek chorus, they are in sync with one another, engaging with the audience when telling Areia’s story. Kouassi who leads the show as Areia is a brilliant performer, embodying the character’s determination flawlessly. It is really enjoyable to see a strong, young, female lead encompass the stage so well. Another performer who stands out amongst the group is Nathan Wallace-Auguste, who hilariously portrays a member of the Greek court with his over-the-top performance, heightening the comedy of the role.
The contemporary subject matter of Half of Me makes it a fresh and therefore interesting piece of new writing aimed at young people. Chohan’s exploration of non-traditional family structures, the laws surrounding the anonymity of donors, and how these affect those born by ART is an important topic to consider and discuss. Combined with the talented and diverse performers, Half of Me is a valuable and effective play.