Review: Sickles' "The Other Half" Play by 7A English Edu 2014 (Safrizal)

First of all, you could find the drama performance video I will be talking about in this text, on YouTube: go click 👉 The Other Half Drama Performance


A Play Review of ‘The Other Half’ Drama
Performed by 7A English Education 2014

The Other Half is an experimental play written by Scott C Sickles; an LGBT playwright of Asian decent who received two Writers Guild of America Awards. He holds his MFA in dramatic playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University School of drama (Calhoon, 2012).

The Other Half is one of Sickles’ one act plays with fantasy genre along with The Philosopher’s joke which is a full-length play. There is no much history record on internet about Sickles but he is a well-known playwright across United States and his plays have been performed in some countries such as Canada, UK, Singapore and Lebanon. Since 2009, Sickles has served as artistic director of the WorkShop Theater Company, an Off-Off-Broadway developmental house and has been a member of Dramatists Guild of America and the New Play Exchange (New Exchange Play, 2016).  

As Sickles’ plays have been performed in some countries, on December 18, 2017, at Auditorium-A of Fakultas Pendidikan Seni dan Desain (FPSD), a play directed by Muhammad Ilmi Safrizal, under the production of 7A English Education 2014 of English Department UPI, which is on 2015 produced “Lonceng”; also directed by Safrizal, performed Sickles’ The Other Half drama. The play captured the confusion of every people in making decision. It tells story of a surgeon who have to separate a twin girls conjoined on one heart, challenging God in saving and taking a life. While the surgeon were thinking about the one’s life he will save, a flash-forward vision of the twin’s and their family’s future plays; the imagination come with the regrets of saving the other instead of the surviving baby.

At the very first time of entering the auditorium, I found myself were in a sort of scared. The play stole my interest on how the confusion atmosphere and the stage is built. The lights were dimmed, the music fitted the scenes and the operation room scene utilized gave me goose bumps. On the center of the stage, two baby girls sharing one heart were waiting on the bed scene invited my sympathized of how long the wait is. The choice of costumes are fine since I read that the role of the race in this play are neutral, so there is no specialization. It is just that the surgeon and the doctor wore their operation room shirt, the babies wore operation room shirt too, and teenage girl, father and mother also wore casual shirt. I do not think I found any deviations from the play that has performed. The sense of the performance I thought was also true, I read the script before the play and I guessed I know how the director would bring the play, since I thought I know the director’s sense. Yeah, I experienced the “Lonceng” drama directed by him and a short film directed by him, and I found a same sense of taste in all of them. The monologue scene of the teenage girl with the great background special effects gave us a better understanding of what is meant by her.

There is no significant cuts, all the actors delivered their lines seriously. The significant gestures and actions I found contributed to the play’s meaning is the gestures of the teenage girl in front of the mirror. This could show that she is the twin one, I interpret. However at the moment I saw the scene, I don’t think it is a necessary, but then when I read the script in detail, I thought it should be like the teenage girl pressing her chest or something that could tell she has a very prominent scar on her chest and is in a fear of being haunted by her twin, since on the leaflet it is written so. Nevertheless, it is not the main passage of the play so it does not really matters.

Overall, 7A production’s The Other Half is a success play. The audiences were impressed by the performance, although I do not think everyone could tell which one of the baby girl is saved and some were left in a confusion of why the performance end so fast –-some France language department students asked me about this. The performance was exactly as what I thought of the directors’ taste, the actors played their roles well. Sickles on his own web tells that The Other Half is the weirdest and most depressing play he has ever written (Sickles, n.d.), and we could see that gloomy atmosphere from the atmosphere built on the stage. However, I wonder about the original script, how it is actually written there, how the stage described since the script used by 7A class was same with the one on, although it is written there that it is the first draft on copyright by Sickles.

At the end, I have a big question that I didn’t find the answer yet. In the script they gave us, there is no scene of the teenage girl doing her monologue. So why they added the scene? I thought that it might to show that the teenage girl is one body with two souls since in her monologue, she said all the wish the two baby said before, but why it had to be before the surgeon lowered the scalpel? Also, I wondered of what the meaning by the triangle chime brought by the teenage girl when she were doing her monologue. Why she have to clang the chime every time she said a line? Moreover, I found one video of ‘The other Half’ Drama performance on YouTube and it is a very different one, the performance brought the play to be more comedy.  So how if the Safrizal’s drama was brought in a same genre? Could it leave a different impressions and would the audience be not confuse of the ending?

Extra adjunct
            Let’s go back to the playwright; Sickles. He wrote a lot of one-acts, although he stated that he prefers his story to be more than one acts. He once said in an interview;

“I do prefer my story go from scene to scene and setting to setting fluidly rather than create an artificial reason for the characters to stay talking in one place for hours. Aristotle is spinning in his grave, I'm sure. But I've always felt that the number of scenes in a play is dictated by the story the playwright is telling. And I've found the more cinematic a story I'm telling, the more theatrical the play has to be.  I love writing for a bare unit set that gives the lighting designer something to work with and inspires the audience to imagine the English country estate and the carriage ride and the Soviet prison. I do write a lot of one-acts and almost all of my short plays are made up of single, unified scenes.  And I applaud anyone who can make those unities of time, place and action work for them!  But I love the cross fade. I love that characters can be at home in one moment, be at the movies in the next and then end up at church, all with a change in movement and light.” (Calhoon, 2012)

So I am questioning myself, if Sickles love scenes, why he wrote so many one-act plays? Is he presented the emotions in himself? As I formerly stated before that Sickles stated that The Other Half is the weirdest and most depressing play he has ever written.

Written by Ummu Imro'atus Sholihah

Works Cited

Calhoon, Z. (2012, January 31). Visible Soul. Retrieved from Blogspot:
New Exchange Play. (2016). Scott Sickles. Retrieved from New Play Exchange:
Sickles, S. C. (n.d.). About Me. Retrieved from Scott C Sickles: