Chiaroscuro is my senior theater thesis project at Georgetown University, which had its debut in 2013 as a self-devised theatrical performance in wanderland, a joint production (alongside Alice Cash‘s Golden Shards) by the Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts. The semi-autobiographical play explores issues of racial and cultural identity through the eyes of a Chinese-Indonesian living in the United States. Originally conceived as a one-man show, the play eventually grew to include two other actors/performers—in this production, Emma Clark and Jack Schmitt—and incorporated various elements of Chinese calligraphy, performance art (including a 20+ minute stint inside a coffin-sized box), and the use of multiple languages. The play gets its name from an oil painting that I painted a few years ago, titled “Untitled (Chiaroscuro),” which was also featured in the production.
Chiaroscuro has been described as “[taking] a very different approach to create a dynamic and visual final product” (The Hoya) and “[r]elying heavily on the visual power of the exotic set and the movements of the actors onstage […] it made the transition from paper to stage a transformative process” (Georgetown Voice).
(Photos by Rafael Suanes)
Chiaroscuro Production Credits (2013):
WRITER/DIRECTOR Swedian Lie
PERFORMERS Emma Clark // Swedian Lie // Jack Schmitt
STAGE MANAGER Lorraine Damerau
COSTUMES, SCENIC & SOUND DESIGN Swedian Lie
LIGHTING DESIGN James Marshall
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER Elly Straske
MENTORS Maya E. Roth // Debra Sivigny Kim // Derek Goldman
Natsu Onoda-Power // Robbie Hayes // Veronica Lancaster