U-M Theatre & Drama Presents “You For Me For You”

Over a year ago, while attending the National
Theatre Conference in New York City, I watched playwright Mia Chung receive an
important Playwright Award, and I got to see an excerpt of her play, You
For Me For You. Both Mia and her play took my heart, and I came back to Michigan, knowing I had
to direct it. This is a story of two North Korean sisters
fleeing their homeland and losing each other along the way. The older sister, Minhee, remains in North
Korea trapped in a well, plunging into a magical, timeless world – part Alice-in- Wonderland, part surrealistic
dream. The other sister, Junhee, makes it to America, where she encounters an incomprehensible language
and a country of limitless, but largely unfulfilled, dreams. The sisters, so loving, so desperate to save
each other, are juxtaposed with the totalitarian state
that is North Korea and the insanity of big city living in the
U.S. Everything is brought to life by Mia’s incredible
ear for prose and poetry. This is the first time that our department
has done a full-scale production of an East Asian play, and we are thrilled
to be able to cast authentically thanks to the number of Asian American actors
currently enrolled. The themes of this play are in the news daily: the tensions between what North Koreans call
“The Best Nation in the World” and our “Land of the Free”, and the danger and personal price of defection
from North Korea. And, with the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, all eyes are currently focused on these two
countries half way across the world. We are so excited to celebrate the culture
and performing arts of both Koreas, through the words of Mia Chung, through the artistry of our actors and artisans, and through the music of our Korean students, including the traditional drumming group,
Sinaboro, who will play live at each performance. This is such a wonderful opportunity to create
a wider audience for this relatively new play by an exciting
female dramatist. You For Me For You allows us to build bridges across our campus on topics of mutual interest, and to be intentional about opening up dialogues
that foster understanding and empathy. [Music]

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