Mary Zimmerman abandons the ancient myths and epic legends that have served her so well in the past with this adaptation of Alessandro Baricco's 1996 novel, about a French silkworm trader and his unconsummated love for a mysterious woman he meets in Japan in the mid-19th century. Zimmerman's piece starts slowly--it's far more heavily narrated and less flashy physically than earlier works like the 1995 Journey to the West. But she has a firm grasp of the delicate balance between the daily "regime of measured emotions" and the wistful, inchoate longings we carry for a lifetime. Even without a swimming pool, the stage design is the most effective I've seen in a Zimmerman show. Scott Bradley's set and T.J. Gerckens's lights give the otherworldly Japanese setting all the beauty of a Hiroshige print, and the cast delivers muted but sharply focused work throughout. Through 6/5: Wed 7:30 PM, Thu 2 and 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 and 7:30 PM. Tue 5/17, 7:30 PM. Sat 5/7, 8 PM only. Sun 5/22 and 5/29, 2 PM only. Thu 5/26 and 6/2, 7:30 PM only. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, 312-443-3800 (TTY 312-443-3829). $20-$60.