The Unit Collective, an independent group of emerging playwrights of color and theater artists – has several productions involved with the Minneapolis Fringe Festival this month. Split between two bills, the Unit Collective presents a collection of 10-minute plays by nine local EWOCs (Emerging Writers of Color) from is monthly series, Minneapolis Madness. These works take theatrical risks like few others as they explore politics, relationships, personal enlightenment and, of course, porn star fantasies.
EWOCs Do It In Ten Minutes is presented at the U of M Rarig Center Arena, 330 – 21st Av S, Minneapolis, as apart of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Show Dates are August 6 at 10 p.m., August 8 at 7 p.m., August 11 at 8:30 p.m., August 12 at 10 p.m., and August 13 at 7 p.m.
The productions feature the work of May Lee-Yang, Indira Addington, Jessica Huang, Anton Jones, Joe Luis Cedillo, Reginald Edmund, Eric ‘Pogi’ Sumangil, Saymoukda ‘Mooks’ Vongsay and Pulitzer Prize Finalist Kristoffer Diaz.
The Unit Collective is devoted to pushing the development of new work beyond the conventional parameters of play development such as sit down readings and workshops.
The productions include the work of actors Harry Waters Jr., Ki Seung Rhee, Indira Addington, Rachel Austin, Heidi Berg, Quintin Brown, Michael Brown, Sandy Ci’Moua, Dylan Fresco, Adam Gyrion, Jamie MacPherson, Seth Patterson, and Eliza Rasheed.
The Aug. 6 and Aug. 12 shows feature “The Last Time We Got Together” by Joe Luis Cedillo. It is an exploration through a man’s memories of his Chicano family.
Cedillo is a self-described left-handed playwright-director, and recently completed his MFA at University of Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop. His work has been seen in Los Angeles, Houston, Iowa, and most recently New York City.
Also staged Aug. 6 & 12, is “Yellowtail Sashimi” by Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay. The story follows twin sisters at odds over sexuality, race, and asianphilia – the superficial appreciation and exotification of all things Asian.
Vongsay is a Lao American writer, essayist, spoken word poet, and playwright who has toured and performed nationally and internationally. She is the author of No Regrets, a collection of poetry published by Baby Rabbit Publishing.
Also staged Aug. 6 & 12, is “The Hourglass” by Jessica Huang. It is a story of the beginning of time in language and love.
Huang is an emerging adventurer in search of fearlessness, freedom, and human nature. Her work focuses on the place where mythology intersects with the mundane. Her plays have appeared at University of Missouri, Chaska Valley Family Theater, The Kennedy Center, and Red Eye Theatre. She is the Director of New Plays for CVFT.
Also staged Aug. 6 & 12, is “Three” by Kristoffer Diaz, the story of the revolution that has begun – by accident.
Diaz (http://kristofferdiaz.wordpress.com) is a 2009-2010 Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center, a playwright in residence at Teatro Vista in Chicago, and a Member of the Ars Nova Play Group. His Pulitzer Prize finalist play the Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity has been produced at Chicago’s Victory Gardens, Philadelphia’s Interact, and the Twin Cities’ Mixed Blood Theater.
Also staged Aug. 6 & 12, is “The Halls Have Eyes” written by Anton Jones. Two surveillance specialists look, watch, and stare at the drama unfolding on camera at the Paisley Palisades Apartment Complex.
Jones (antoncjones.com) is a interdisciplinary theatre artist and a 2006 recipient of the Playwrights’ Center’s Many Voices Fellowship.
The August 8, 11 & 13 shows include “Modern Village” by Eric “Pogi” Sumangil. It is the story of bringing neighbors together with a urinary tract infection.
Sumangil (castpogi.com) is a native Minneapolitan and has performed around the Twin Cities as an actor for nearly ten years. He is a two time Many Voices Fellow with the Playwrights’ Center.
Also on August 8, 11 & 13 is “Catch-23” by Indira Addington. The story follows an African American who is wrongly accused of committing a crime. A young white yuppie comes to his defense against a neighborhood police officer. But does he have any right to stand up when he lives a life of blind privilege.
Addington studied theatre at Macalester and Metropolitan State University. She has toured with CLIMB, Teatro del Pueblo, Open Eye Figure Theatre and Pangea World Theatre.
Also on August 8, 11 & 13 is “Apartment 2301” by Reginald Edmund. It is a journey into the mind of young African American artists, in this three character monologue, that wrestles with career, loneliness, surviving as an artist, dreaming about the love that got away… oh yeah porn stars.
Edmund (www.reginaldedmund.com) was awarded the Kennedy Center’s national runner up for the Lorraine Hansberry and Rosa Parks National Playwriting Awards in 2009, and most recently named winner of the 2011 Southern Playwrights Competition. He received an M.F.A. in Playwriting at Ohio University.
Also on August 8, 11 & 13 is “Comfort Food” by May Lee –Yang. The story, set in a hospital, involves a mother and daughter who bicker over boiled chicken, each other, and the things that cannot be spoken.
Yang is a playwright, writers, and performance artist of Hmong descent. Her theatre based work have been produced through Mu Performing Arts, Intermedia Arts, and the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from MN State Arts Board, The Playwrights’ Center, The Midwestern Voices and Visions Residency, and the National Performance Network.
For tickets call 866-811-4111 or visit www.fringefestival.org. For information about The Unit Collective call Reginald Edmund at 832-266-8014, Eric ‘Pogi’ Sumangil at 347-217-1556 or email at [email protected].