Chimerica is a three hour and five minute production that is set in 1989. The production follows the events of a faithful day with the sound of people marching through the streets. The steps, coming from ambitious students, are in the streets of Tiananmen Square. The students have their own agenda and are protesting a wide range of issues, but the focus of the demonstration is the death of the Communist Party General Secretary of China, Hu Yaobang.
The event is marked with a single photo of the Chinese government responding to the protests. Tanks roll through the square. Blood is shed. Many people meet their demise at the protests.
A single man stands in the face of tanks. Remaining a mystery to this day, he is called the “Tank Man” and stands off in a face-off with a convoy of tanks showing true courage.
The events of that faithful day are given a new light in the production of Chimerica. The play follows Joe, who is the photojournalist that is the only reason people know of that faithful day’s events. He captured the image that the world has burned into their minds: the man facing off with tanks.
Chimerica is a story that isn’t just about the past and a single photograph. The play goes through a series of questions, trying to determine how the two countries have changed over the past 20+ years. The “Tank Man’s” mystery is discussed with the play exploring whether the man may still be alive today.
Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica is an epic drama that looks at the hypocrisy between the United States and China relations.
Joe, a handsome man, is thrust into a struggle between cynicism and idealism. The never-ending struggle follows him as his life is defined by the “Tank Man” photograph. A slick reporter, he is accompanied by Mel and Frank that make up a cast of reporters.
Joe meets Tessa, an English businesswoman, that he meets and joins on an airplane.
Puns and stereotypes fill the play with the Chinese characters often mocking their American counterparts with opinions that are very close to that of the British. The play is filled with imagery and will bring the audience back to this faithful day where a man stared down tanks with his groceries in hand.
Clever and potent, the final revelation of the play will help the audience realize that their assumptions are not always right.