Theatre Review: ‘You For Me For You’ by Woolly Mammoth in Association with Ma-Yi Theater Company

Jo Mei as Minjee. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Let’s be clear: Woolly Mammoth’s world premiere production of Mia Chung’s You For Me For You takes you on a wildly imaginative feast of poetry in the guise of theatre.  Stylistically perverse and narratively skewed, You For Me For You will visually delight you just as frequently as it will auditorally amuse you and logically leave you befuddled.  By the end, you won’t know exactly where you’ve been, but you will have enjoyed the trip and be haunted by the memories.

Produced in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company, and under the direction of Russian director Yury Urnov, Chung’s You For Me For You combines an array of styles both dramatic and theatrical.  Although the program mentions “magic realism” as a stylistic frame of reference, for this spectator that frame proved inadequate to contain the allusive, metaphorical, expressionistic, and most definitely surreal tale this play tells.  For its story defies all realistic expectations both in relation to time and behavior.  When I finally shed the organizing perspective of magic realism and abandoned all pretense of realism, suddenly the play opened like a persimmon revealing its scent.

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About Michael

Michael Oliver has been working in the fields of theatre and education for well over thirty years at not only the secondary and university levels, but professionally, as the co-founder of The Sanctuary Theatre, Inc. Established in 1983, the theatre became well-known throughout the Washington area for its cutting-edge productions. He is now the Director of Sanctuary's The Performing Knowledge Project: where performance and education meet.
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