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BWW Review: THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN at Indiana Repertory Theatre

The production runs through May 15th

BWW Review: THE PAPER DREAMS OF HARRY CHIN at Indiana Repertory Theatre

Two years ago this play, The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin, was deep in rehearsals at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. It was set to open in March 2020... and then the world shut down. Miraculously, the entire original cast has returned for this production.

Harry Chin was a real man who immigrated from China to Minnesota. His story inspired the playwright, Jessica Huang, to delve deeper into historical records and speak with his family members. By focusing on one man's life Huang tackles the difficult subject of immigration while humanizing the people on the stage. It doesn't become a big "I" issue play instead, it is the story of a family and a complicated relationship between fathers and daughters and first-generation Americans and their immigrant parents. The cultural differences feel insurmountable at times, but there are undeniable ties that bind a family. It is messy in the way that all real life is. There's something powerful about the moment when a child discovers her parents are real people, flawed and fallible.

Over the past two years, I've missed the flexibility and creativity that shine in sets on the Upperstage. The three-sided stage provides a beautiful opportunity for the audience to feel like part of the story. Wilson Chin's beautiful set included a huge moon hanging over a stage surrounded by suitcases. It was versatile and atmospheric at the same time.

Paper Dreams is a complicated story about finding peace with your past when it comes back to haunt you. It's timely in an unfortunate way, as we are still dealing with immigration sparking racism in our culture. It's a great example of the IRT highlighting a story that sparks conversation and reflection.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. " The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin" runs until May 15 on IRT's OneAmerica Mainstage. Run Time is appx. 2 hours, including a 15-minute intermission. Times for performances can be found at or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at

Photos Courtesy of the Indiana Repertory Theatre

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