Meet Caroline Chu
Caroline Chu is a local actress performing in the Chicago premiere of the play, PEERLESS by Jiehae Park. Directed by Hutch Pimentel and running until March 11, 2017, this blisteringly funny script is a riff on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In an ordinary Midwestern high school, twin sisters M and L are competitive with everyone - except each other. When the failsafe combination of perfect academics, killer extracurriculars, and calculated self-identification fails to impress The College’s early decision admissions board, they hatch a sinister Plan B to secure their future. PEERLESS is about the unbreakable bond between sisters whose vaulting ambition will not be deferred at any cost. Tickets and more info can be found on First Floor Theater's website.
What's your personal story?
I've lived in Chicago my whole life and grew up around art. My mother is, among other things, a great dancer and public speaker, and my father is, among other things, a photographer and a musician. It definitely rubbed off on me and my younger brothers - we're all making art of some kind. One is going into graphic design and the other is becoming an awesome musician. I grew up in a mixed household, too. My mom's side is white/European and my dad's side is Chinese and Filipino. I kind of fell into acting in fifth grade and kept performing at school, and finally decided to really pursue it when I applied to Northwestern. I'm there now working on a double major in Theater and English.
What's your character's story in "Peerless”?
The character arcs in this play pretty closely follow those in Macbeth, which the play is based on. L and her twin, M, have spent their entire lives working towards getting into the college of their dreams, and when reality (and the admissions process) throws a wrench into those carefully laid plans, they have to figure out how to get back on track. L really takes the reins and runs wild with them. The events of the play bring out a darkness in her.
What challenges does your character face telling this story?
L's success is dependent on her sister's, so everything that affects M affects her, too. For the first time, the lengths the twins are willing to go to in order to secure their futures don't match up, and the uncertainty that causes pushes her into a downward spiral. She can't rely on the only other person in her corner.
How does the character overcome those challenges?
She forces her way through them. She is a force. She thinks fast - scary fast - and knows exactly what buttons to push on other people to get the outcome she wants.
Any other comments?
For me, this play has been special for a number of reasons. This is really my first time out of the gate, and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this production. Everyone who worked on this show is utterly brilliant.
The two main characters are strong women, strong Asian women, and that's a rare thing. Jiehae Park's writing is so sharp and witty. She has such a strong voice, and I think it's important, especially now, for the voice of a female Asian-American playwright to be heard.
It's a challenging show to perform, and the plot is a wild ride, but every performance is rewarding. It's just so fun.