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left to right: Carla Ching, Isabella Dawis, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, Lisa Marie Rollins, and Aditi Brennan Kapil.

Theater Mu Announces New Eyes Festival 2021, ‘Un(Scene)’

This year’s festival will feature a series of short plays in response to the rise of anti-Asian violence in the country.

MINNEAPOLIS and ST. PAUL: To mark Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Theater Mu has announced plans for the 2021 New Eyes Festival, entitled “Un(Scene),” running live May 21-22, with recordings of the events being available on demand May 23-29. This year’s festival will feature a series of original 10-minute virtual plays written by local and nationally recognized playwrights in response to the rise of anti-Asian violence in the country.

“I approached Mu with this idea in March when it was clear that hate crimes against people of Asian descent were continuing to rise,” said board member Katie Hae Leo, who also serves as the festival’s producer, in a statement. “Then the next week, the shootings in Atlanta happened, taking the lives of six Asian women. These women were someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, they were workers, neighbors, friends, and community members. And the violence against Asian
Americans continues, most recently taking four members of Indianapolis’ Sikh community. I know from my own experience that theatre has the power to bring people together and create healing. Our community needs space right now to grieve, rage, and maybe even laugh or experience joy.”

This year’s New Eyes Festival will feature new plays by Isabella Dawis (Half the Sky), Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay (Mu’s Mellon Foundation Playwright-in-Residence, Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals), Carla Ching (Fast Company, The Two Kids that Blow Shit Up), Aditi Brennan Kapil (Imogen Says Nothing, Orange), and Lisa Marie Rollins (Love Is Another Country, TOKEN). Directors include Katie Bradley, Jennifer Weir, and Lily Tung Crystal. Joshua Dyrud will serve as the streaming producer.

“We knew it was the right time for Mu to present ‘Un(Scene)’,” said artistic director Lily Tung Crystal in a statement. “Asian Americans are often perceived as invisible, largely because we’re rarely represented onstage, in film, or on TV. At Mu, we give voice to those narratives. By telling our stories, we’re demanding to be seen as the true Americans that we are.”

Festival events include a Mu-tini Hour on Facebook Live on May 21, with a chance to meet producer Katie Hae Leo and the playwrights, followed by the live performance and broadcast of the festival on Saturday, May 22 at 7 p.m. CT on Theater Mu’s private streaming platform. During the hour-long Saturday broadcast, Theater Mu will encourage viewers to donate to Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP), an organization formed in 2014 by a group of community organizers in order to continue the legacy of the Asian American civic awakening and movement in Minnesota. AAOP also strives to strengthen the community engagement and leadership of young Asian Minnesotans. Beginning the next day, Sunday, May 23, the recorded performances will be available to watch on demand for one week.

Additional information on this year’s New Eyes Festival is available online.

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