Chimerica, Lucy Kirkwood's sprawling epic play, spans two countries, countless characters, and a single-minded obsession; finding the man from the famous photograph. Under Chris Abraham's detailed direction, what could be a terribly episodic and hard to follow 3 hour extravaganza, was instead a tightly woven slingshot toward a surprise conclusion.
The cast, several of whom perform a multitude of characters, are all equally enjoyable, however Paul Sun-Hyung is absolutely memorable with his nuanced and understated work. The dual-pronged approach of a stunning flashy set on a revolve. and seemingly endless projections help create countless unique spaces, all of which tie back to a consistency in style and feeling, which is a truly notable achievement.
The only drawback for me is the script itself; some of the dialogue lacks the crackle one would hope for, and instead particularly the reporter characters come across as stereotypical (no fault of the actors, who embody and bring these to life beautifully). I think that because Kirkwood spans so many places and times, with so many characters, the unfortunate result is that some characters lose the opportunity to be fully developed -- we only see them fleetingly, and the overall impact is to see a large number of people at only a glance. In part, I wondered about whether this, too, may have been intentional. In an age where we "interact" so fleetingly via facebook interactions, not truly engaging with other humans, perhaps this is the social media mediated "light" version of human interaction, which contrasts with the deeper relationship that the journalist and his Chinese contact develop.