Jiehae Park’s dark comedy peerless about the high pressure stakes of elite college admissions is now playing at Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters in New York City. This twist on Macbeth features twin Asian American sisters, M and L, who have moved to the middle of nowhere (geographic diversity!) with an exacting plan to get into The College (three guesses as to which one it might be). When another classmate gets “their spot,” the twins decide to protect their future . . . and let’s just say, it gets deadly. The show officially opened on Tuesday and will be up for a limited run until November 6.
The theater darkens and an envelope drops from the ceiling — *plop* — and a young man picks it up. Next scene, we meet M and L, so skillfully played by Sasha Diamond (Teenage Dick) and Shannon Tyo (The Chinese Lady). They are livid. How could he have gotten their spot?!? The dialogue is furiously paced as the twins alternate words and finish each other’s sentences at breakneck speed. Each year, we learn, The College takes one student — so L has stayed back a year, so that M can go this year and L can follow the next. But now their carefully laid our plans have fallen apart. It turns out, L reveals, that the young man who got in — D — is 1/16 Native American. The sisters hyperventilate and plot, and from there the play unfolds. It’s dark, it’s funny, and it’s intense.
I don’t want to give anything away, so let’s just say, the play builds and builds until the first domino falls and then whoosh, it tumbles forward as everything crumbles from there. It’s an 80 minute play with no intermission, but the time flies. Park takes the intense drive for success to its darkest end point (no, really, it’s funny and then it gets really dark) — what would you do to succeed?
Tickets to peerless begin at $25 and are available at 59e59.org/shows/show-detail/peerless. Performances are Tuesday – Saturday at 7:00pm and Saturday – Sunday at 2:00pm.