Ppreviewed 6 August 2013, Opened 15 August 2013, Closed 19 October 2013 at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London
Lucy Kirkwood's critically acclaimed new play Chimerica in London's West Emd following a sell-out run at the Almeida Theatre.
Tiananmen Square, 1989. As tanks roll through Beijing and soldiers hammer on his hotel door a young American photojournalist, Joe, captures a piece of history. But when 20 years later a cryptic message is left in a Beijing newspaper, Joe is driven to discover the truth behind the unknown hero he captured on film - Who was he? What happened to him? and Could he still be alive? A provocative new play that examines the changing fortunes of two countries whose futures will come to define our own - the title comes from 'Chi-', as in 'China', and '-merica', as in 'America'.
The cast for Chimerica in London features Stephen Campbell Moore as 'Joe Schofield', Claudie Blakley as 'Tessa Kendrick' and Benedict Wong as 'Zhang Lin' with Elizabeth Chan, Vera Chok, Karl Collins, Trevor Cooper, Nancy Crane, Sean Gilder, Sarah Lam, Andrew Leung and David K.S. Tse. It is directed by Lyndsey Turner with choreography/movement by Georgina Lamb, set designs by Es Devlin, costumes by Christina Cunningham, video projections by Finn Ross, lighting by Tim Lutkin, sound by Carolyn Downing and fights by Bret Yount. Stephen Campbell Moore's recent London theatre credits include Dominic Cooke's production of Bruce Norris' play Clybourne Park (Wyndham's Theatre 2011) and Howard Davies' revival of Arthur Miller's play All My Sons (Apollo Theatre 2010). Lyndsey Turner's recent West End directing credits include Laura Wade's play Posh (Duke of York's Theatre 2012). Presented as a co-production between the Almeida Theatre and Headstrong, led by Artistic Director Rupert Goold. This production was originally staged at the Almeida Theatre in North London where it played a sell-out six week season from May to July 2013.
"Lucy Kirkwood's new play is ambitious, sprawling, morally fascinating... It covers two periods, the 1989 Tiananmen massacre and now. Ed Devlin's brilliant set is a vast revolving cube covered in fluid monochrome projections of old photographic contact sheets. It opens to reveal boxy apartments in New York and Beijing, as Lyndsey Turner elegantly directs short, filmic scenes... Troubling questions multiply: can atrocity photos still shock in an age of slasher movies? Is friendship equal between a man seeing massacres "from behind a camera with an air ticket in his pocket" and one who suffers through them? Or between two nations, when a democracy happily gets its internet service providers to grass on dissidents in a repressive one?... But it is no sermon: there are emotionally dramatic twists, sharp laughs and fine work from all the cast. Three hours flew by." The Times
"Lucy Kirkwood's play is cleverly staged on a rotating cube, which has video projections beamed on to its sides. It's fun to see a talented cast of Chinese-origin actors who double up as florists, strippers, police and factory-owners. The identity of the Tank Man is in a way irrelevant. This is really the story of two superpowers locked in a sweet and sour embrace of mutual need and paranoia. A big play on a small stage, it's overlong but its sheer ambition is refreshing" The Mail on Sunday
Chimerica in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre previewed from 6 August 2013, opened on 15 August 2013 and closed on 19 October 2013.