The 16th Season of the Fresh Fruit Festival promises to be a great one and already began at the top of the year! Powerful nights of staged readings, discussions, and poetry events have been added to All-Out Arts’ Festival of works celebrating the diversity of the LGBTQ Community through live performance.
A recent rousing awards night complete with Lifetime Achievement awards set the stage for the following new array of empowering works set to run – once again – at The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street. All tickets $18 unless otherwise stated and available at OvationTix https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/527
An international entry in the festival is Half Me, Half You by Liane Grant, running
7/11 6 pm, 7/12 8 pm, 7/14 2 pm and is a World Premiere.
The play takes place in 2033 – in a world Trumpled. Ironically, Matt Spangler’s comedy, 2034, (opening in Fall 2018) looks at the world through the same broken glasses. Here, Ms. Grant starts us in 2017, with Jess and Meredith, the picture-perfect interracial lesbian power couple.
But what does America look like in the aftermath of the current situation in just a decade and a half? What happens to our country, and our relationships, when their very foundations get tested? In this tale of fractured love and civil war, IVF becomes a platform for a broader discussion about parenthood, fascism, and anyone forced to fight just to be valued as people.
OK, Liane, speaking of being valued … tell us about yourself … as an artist.
I knew I was an actor from an early age. I studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, before attending Cambridge University in England to study English and Drama. While there I performed in over 30 plays and musicals, including a tour of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in Japan, dabbled with directing and producing, before moving to London to continue my performing career. I’ve worked on stage and screen since, performed, directed and produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and started my own production company which aims to provide more opportunities for women…every kind of woman! Half me, Half You is my first venture as a playwright.
Brava! A renaissance woman! So share with us a little something about your play … that we WON’T see in the press release.
I came up with the idea for the play while lying on an inflatable pool float on vacation in the Florida sun.
After all those marvelous creds, you create this masterpiece in a pool. Wow! You look at the future with this piece, but how does your play resonate today? Feel free to be blunt.
We are living through a terrifying time in American, British, and world history. We cannot stay silent about the atrocities and injustices running rife in our communities. I believe we have a moral imperative to face the ugliness head on and that starts with calling things out for what they are, so we can hopefully move on to productive dialogues and find solutions. This play calls out racism in America. It’s real. So disgustingly real. It’s not as bad in Britain, but it’s there; hatred and intolerance gradually seeping into the consciousness of even the youngest children, and extending beyond skin colour to gender, sexual orientation and religion. I think, I hope, that audiences will recognise the ugliness but see that the people suffering these various forms of repression, are just like us; searching for love and acceptance, trying their best to be good people. And there’s a great deal of hope in that.
I agree. We can’t be quiet, we can’t be PC. Lately, it’s getting surreal! Why Fresh Fruit Festival for your work? Do you think they will give it the right platform?
The Fresh Fruit Festival has been championing LGBTQ stories for many years now, and the LGBTQ community has suffered, and continues to suffer tremendously. Bigotry and repression, perhaps in different forms, are sad realities they share with the black community. This play explores racism and womanhood through a same-sex relationship, so a festival that focuses on the reality of LGBTQ lives is the perfect place for its debut.
True, they provide a powerful stage and opportunities. Where do you see it going in the future? What’s the next step?
Quite literally, our next step is London, UK! The play will play at two London theatres in July, after the Fresh Fruit Festival. Beyond this, we’d love to take it further afield in both the USA and the UK, and perhaps get it published so that artists anywhere and everywhere can explore the lives of these characters in their own ways.
That’s great. Please keep us posted! Final thoughts?
Don’t underestimate the power of the arts. Right now, in the current social climate, it is easy to feel helpless; like there’s little we can do as individuals to stop the hate, stop the intolerance and the injustice, and make positive change. Even our politicians, the people we rely on to lead, are struggling. So, it would be easy to give up and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel hopeless at times. Maybe this play is only a tiny contribution, perhaps it will only create the tiniest ripple in the ocean. But if we all make tiny ripples together, we create waves.