Friday, January 27, 2012
While the two plays are clearly different stories, they both deal at a high level with the cultural differences between Westerners and Chinese. In this case Zayd Dohrn's new work it's a biting commentary on the Westernization of China and the dirty underworld that exists as capitalism suddenly slams into the vastly unprepared empire. It's about friendship and the many ways that can be interpreted, used, and misused by both parties to a friendship. It's about love, labor, and economic freedom.
Matt Dellapina (Malcolm) and Nelson Lee turn in top-notch performances - clearly grasping and owning their respective characters, flaw and all with Mr. Dellapina deftly owning his nebbish insecurity and borderline neuroticism and Mr. Lee owning his power as a young, American educated, good looking, Chinese businessman.
T'was a serious topic, some great acting, and a pace to the work that propelled it forward, but in the end, it missed making some connections, lacked a compelling reason for the entire circumstance of Malcolm's being in China, and somehow left most of the audience wondering (and I don't think this was intended at all) whether Xiao Mei was or wasn't who she was accused of being.