onStage Pittsburgh – Karla Boos knew she wanted Chimerica as a Quantum Theatre production since she saw its London debut in 2013. When Boos landed the rights five years later, her first call was to Susan Tsu.
In that pre-pandemic time, with Chimerica headed for Quantum’s 2019-20 season, acclaimed costume designer Tsu was on board, both for art direction and with a wealth of knowledge about the play’s focus: the 1989 protests and massacre in Tiananmen Square, and the image of the lone “Tank Man” that captured the world’s imagination.
Quantum’s production of Chimerica opens Saturday, Nov. 27, at the Maverick Hotel in East Liberty.
The term “Chimerica” was coined by an economist to represent the global dominance of the two superpowers. Lucy Kirkwood‘s play was expanded into a 2016 Brit TV Channel 4 series that is as much about the responsibilities of media as it is the legacy of Tiananmen Square. In fact, Kirkwood expanded her story to include then-candidate Donald Trump’s relationship to “fake news” in the screen version.
In the 2013 play, fictional American photojournalist Joe Schofield (Kyle Haden in Quantum’s production) is known for taking the iconic photo of the single unidentified protester who faced down a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square. Years later, Schofield gets a tip that Tank Man may be living in the United States.