‘Chimerica’ by Lucy Kirkwood at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London, by the Headlong Tour company
19th August 2013
“We see only what we know” (Goethe)
Chimerica’s quizzical title -an amalgam of China and America – from the historian Niall Ferguson, is a new play by Lucy Kirkwood. The play, a magnificent achievement of its six year evolution, only slimly surpasses Lucy Prebble’s ‘ Enron’ – a reminder of the exciting new female talent in the country.
Chimerica begins with the iconic image of the Chinese protester/ the ‘Tank Man’, armed only with two shopping bags, stopping the might of an oppressive institution, symbolised by his stand before a phalanx of tanks. This is captured by the photojournalist, Joe Schofield (Stephen Campbell Moore), an American then aged 19, who just happens to have the perfect view from his Beijing hotel window of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Years later, the fictional quest to find the Tank Man drives the deceptively simple narrative to achieve a transition from the opportune photo moment to the ramifications of Jo’s personal reckless pursuit. Continue reading Chimerica