What do you do as an actor if you don’t know where you fit in? We catch up with Half Me, Half You‘s Kalea Williams on diversity, creating your own work and why this play is so relevant to right now. Time to get booking!
The premiere production of Half Me, Half You runs at Tristan Bates Theatre from 26 March to 6 April 2019, with a press night on 28 March and a post-show panel discussion chaired by Mates co-founder Terri Paddock on Monday 1 April.
What if you were black, gay and a woman in America right now?
In Half Me, Half You, Jess and Meredith are a married, interracial, gay couple living in New York in 2017 – the era of Trump – weathering a new wave of intolerance, discrimination and oppression, which is sweeping the nation and seeping into their home.
16 years later, Maya, a biracial British teen is forced into American life, braving the aftermath of a second civil war, and changing Meredith’s life irrevocably.
Liane Grant‘s provocative new play Half Me, Half You confronts the reality of the current global climate and explores the consequences for future generations. The cast features Grant alongside Kalea Williams, Toccarra Cash and Laura Shipler Chico, directed by Leah Fogo.
Talking to… Kalea Williams
An English actor and writer from London who recently completely in BA in Acting at Bournemouth, Kalea Williams appeared in the New York run of Half Me, Half You at last year’s Fresh Fruit Festival, celebrating LGBTQ arts and culture. She has also written and performed her own spoken word play, The Talk, at Drayton Arms Theatre.
How do you feel making your professional debut in Half Me, Half You?
I feel privileged, blessed and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work on such an important play. I couldn’t have asked for a better play to kickstart my career. It is relevant and so necessary.
Do you think your ethnicity has affected your career to date?
Starting out, I’ve found it hard being a mixed-race girl trying to pursue acting as a career. Probably mainly because I don’t know where I fit in. I wasn’t ‘white’ enough or ‘black’ enough. And that’s hard. And due to the lack of diverse roles, I was always put up for the roles seeking a black actress. I’ve only learnt recently to own that, but sometimes it’s still hard. If roles aren’t there for us, we have to create them ourselves. That’s partly where my own show, The Talk, came from. This was a one-act spoken word piece I performed last year. I won’t ever allow myself to feel like my skin isn’t enough. I love and appreciate the beautiful brown skin I’m in.
Tell us about your role in Half Me, Half You.
I play a 16-year-old girl called Maya, who is from London. It’s 2033, her whole world has been completely flipped on its head. She’s been forced to move to the US, which has just suffered a huge civil war. Minorities are under attack, and she’s living with people she doesn’t know. It’s a lot. She’s bright and brilliant but so misunderstood. She’s been through so much and has so much to say. I think that’s what I love the most about Maya.
Why did you want to be part of the play?
I wanted to be a part of Half Me, Half You purely because of the relevance of it. The way the world is right now and the way things are going… it needs to addressed. It’s frightening watching the news and reading the papers – this is people’s lives. This is life right now, and if things continue the way they are, the play shows us what the world could become. And that’s a whole other level of scary. Now is the time to collaborate and unite and do something. Now is the time to speak.
Any anecdotes from your journey with the play so far?
Oh wow, there are loads! I think the memories that stick out the most for me are when we debuted the play last summer at the Fresh Fruit Festival in New York, and I was falling asleep on the subway holding props. The fact that it wasn’t just one time either – I had several photos sent to me on different days of me in a deep sleep! I mean, New York is the city that doesn’t sleep – and I love my sleep. So, I had to catch up somehow!
This is extremely important. I am so excited to work alongside this amazing organisation that is creating discussions and tackling issues for the people. For us as minorities, in particular. Together we’re trying to look at the steps needed to stop hate crime and create a safer environment for everyone in the future.
If you had Donald Trump alone in a room, what would you say to him?
This is a hard one. There are so many things I would want to say, probably things that have been already said. But one thing I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I’d love to ask is whether he uses a sunbed or uses fake tan? Is his favourite colour orange?
Anything else you’d like to add?
Can’t wait to see ya’ll at Half Me, Half You. Get your tissues ready!
Half Me, Half You runs 26 March to 6 April 2019 at the Tristan Bates Theatre, 1A Tower Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9NP. Performances are Mondays to Saturdays at 7.45pm, except Monday 1 April when a 6pm performance will be followed by a Q&A chaired by Terri Paddock. Tickets are £18 (concessions £15). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!