What would you do if America were a Third World country?
This is the question that the Asian American Theater Company‘s (AATC) new play Beijing, California hopes to provoke audiences to reflect on, along with their values and perceptions of other countries.
The play is set in 2050 in an America that has collapsed due to Katrina-like disasters, its economy destroyed by a series of financial meltdowns (sound familiar?). The audience will follow three interwoven plots of characters and stories in the Bay Area over the span of 50 years.
The U.S. and Chinese presidents experience a shift in power as their long-term friendship is altered because of China’s rise over the rapidly deteriorating America. In the second storyline, a family struggles to cope with their economic problems. They find themselves trying to survive on a Third World income and eventually have no choice but to partake in a shocking business decision. The final storyline of Beijing, California deals with a Chinese American translator attempting to expose a terrible crime in a San Francisco that has been segregated into Baghdad-like militarized zones.
Beijing, California’s cast includes acclaimed actors Stephen Hu, Lisa Kang, Tom Lazur, Wayne Lee*, JanLee Marshall, Garth Petal*, Erika Salazar and Jennifer Vo Le. (*Members of Actors’ Equity Association.) Duy Nguyen, co-artistic director of AATC since 2008, is the play’s director.
The play premieres July 1 and will run through July 17, 2010 at Thick House Theater, 1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. Tickets are on sale now at Asianamericantheater.org.