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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