ST. PAUL (Dec. 23, 2013) — Mu Performing Arts in partnership with The Playwrights Center is presenting the 22nd Annual New Eyes Festival from January 23–26, 2014 at the Playwrights’ Center, 2301 Franklin Avenue East, Minneapolis, MN 55406-1099
Mu’s longest-running tradition, this season’s New Eyes Festival features staged readings of bold new plays from local and nationally recognized Asian American dramatists Mia Chung, Jessica Huang, May Lee-Yang, and Andrew Saito.
For the first time in its history the festival will be presented at The Playwrights’ Center, marking a new collaboration between the two companies.
Artistic Director Randy Reyes will direct the four staged readings, showcasing exciting new plays from the Asian American canon under consideration for future main stage productions at Mu. Each reading will feature complimentary snacks and drinks based on the content of the specific plays.
• The Divorcee Diaries
By May Lee-Yang
Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
The Divorcee Diaries by May Lee-Yang (Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman). The new play chronicles the Hmong sexual revolution.
Set against the backdrop of a nightclub, four people explore the fun, the fear, and the fantasy of divorce as they drink, flirt, fight, and try to make sense of lives in transition. No stranger to Mu and The Playwrights’ Center, May Lee-Yang’s play Sia(b) was produced in Mu’s 2008 season on a double-bill Under the Porcelain Mask. She was also a part of The Playwrights’ Center’s Many Voices program in 2009.
Based in the Twin Cities, her work has been produced by the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, Intermedia Arts, the MN Fringe Festival, among others. She has received grants and fellowships from the MN State Arts Board, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the National Performance Network.
• Purple Cloud
By Jessica Huang
Friday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Jessica Huang’s new work Purple Cloud weaves together the stories of Lee, a Shanghai-born man who immigrates to America during World War II, his son, a first generation Asian American, and his granddaughter whose mixed-race identity strains her relationship with her conformist father.
The three family members’ stories are accompanied by a quartet of Chinese Stones, brought to America in pockets and soles of shoes, who transform slowly as the Huang family acculturates over generations. Jessica Huang (Elysium Blues) is a multi-racial, Minneapolis-based playwright, co-founder, producer and core writer of the Unit Collective, and a 2012 recipient of a Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center.
Various stages of her work have been produced locally at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Pillsbury House Theatre, RedEye, and Pangea World Theater, and nationally at 2nd Generation in New York City, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the Kennedy Center and the Source Festival in Washington DC.
• You For Me For You
By Mia Chung
Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
You For Me For You by Mia Chung follows two North Korean sisters facing starvation at the hands of a dizzyingly corrupt regime as they attempt to flee their country. When one sister fails to cross the treacherous border, the other sister promises to race across time and space to rescue her.
Mia Chung (The Orphan of Zhao) is a member of New Dramatists and the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. Her play You for Me for You had a world premiere at Woolly Mammoth (DC) in Fall 2012 (supported by Ma-Yi Theatre Company and the NEA), and a Boston premiere at Company One in Winter 2013.
She has received awards and fellowships from Southern Rep,RISCA, TCG, and others; and her work has been developed by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Civilians’ R&D Group, Doorway Arts Ensemble, Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, Inkwell, Kennedy Center, Magic Theatre, Mu Performing Arts, Page Salon, Playwrights Realm, and Stella Adler Studio.
• Sam The Ham
By Andrew Saito
Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m.
The festival concludes with the reading of Andrew Saito’s newest play, Sam the Ham.
Following the death of his sports-loving father, Sam Hamamoto tries to finally grow up and move out of his parents’ home – in his forties. Through the rough flirtations of a coworker and his mentorship of a ten-year-old kid, Sam attempts to escape his past.
Andrew Saito is the Andrew W. Mellon Resident Playwright at The Cutting Ball Theater in San Francisco, where his play Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night, premiered in May 2013 under the direction of Rob Melrose. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and in 2012 was a Fulbright Scholar in Papua New Guinea.
A 2013 Core Apprentice at The Playwrights’ Center, Andrew is a member of the Resident Playwrights Initiative at Playwrights Foundation, and a member of PlayGround and Just Theater’s Writer-Director Lab. He has taught playwriting in Mayan villages in Guatemala, and collaborated with the renowned theater collective Yuyachkani, in Peru.
Reservations are recommended for each free reading. A suggested donation of $5 is gratefully accepted at the door.
Tickets can be reserved at www.muperformingarts.org or by calling the Mu Box Office at 651-789-1012. Each person that attends all four New Eyes Festival readings will be eligible to receive a complimentary ticket to Mu Performing Arts’ upcoming summer production of A Little Night Music at Park Square Theatre.
For information call 612-332-7481, visit www.pwcenter.org.