by Christine McNeal
The true beauty of live theatre is that it nourishes the soul through the fullest ranges and mediums of expression. Jessica Wu’s piece YOU, ME, I, WE is a stunningly honest piece about a woman doing her best through life, and an audience feeling every heartbeat along the journey. The audience is pulled into the protagonist’s most intimate moments through heartbreaking choreography and music ranging from pure joy to fiery passion.
“YOU, ME, I, WE is an exploration of the crazy and chaotic way our minds work.” Through her work, Jessica beautifully illuminates the untold and constant inner monologue that surges through all of us throughout our busy days. The character of YU-MEI, played by Mindy Lai, is the story’s protagonist, yet we never hear her speak a word. We are guided through her inner monologue and dialogue by YOU, ME and I, played by Lynn Craig, Rebecca Lee Lerman, and Celia Mei Rubin. YU-MEI’s turbulent life is expressed through Mindy Lai’s passion filled dance and Lorna Ventura’s heartbreaking choreography. The result is a raw and deeply intimate look inside the mind, heart, and soul of a character that could live in all of us.
The beauty in this piece of theatre lives in it’s structure, in the way Jessica has allowed a new form to morph into being. This is realized by blending dance, song, and scene seamlessly throughout the piece in a way that feels organic and deeply human. The blends of different genres of music keep you on your toes and incredibly absorbed in the present. I find the most transformative aspect of this storytelling is that as an audience member, one doesn’t get connected to one person telling the story, so consequently it makes you feel the honesty and the familiarity throughout, in an incredibly personal way. From the first moment, the show had me saying, “Oh my gosh, me too!” This could only be deeply expressed because there were no black and white emotions; these moments of life were nuanced moments that felt very intimately familiar.
Jessica says that her “hope is that through [the piece], and works like it, we can find more connection and empathy in our increasingly isolated world”
YOU, ME, I, WE is a refreshingly nuanced and authentic piece of theatre. It is the kind of work that does indeed leave you with the feeling that despite all of our unique beauty, we are all so much more connected and similar than we are different.