- WORLD PREMIERE COMMISSION - A modern-day midwestern folktale about a Hmong American family and the tenuous bonds that tie us together
Mu welcomes award-winning playwright Lauren Yee (Ching Chong Chinaman) back to the Twin Cities for her newest play. Presented at Mixed Blood Theatre, The Tiger Among Us explores the cultural disconnect felt by an isolated Hmong American family living in rural Minnesota as two siblings seek to blend traditional Hmong family values with modern life.
November in Minnesota: to bored high schooler Lia, it's just another fricking cold month. But for Lia's troubled father, November means the start of the hunting season and a chance to capture what has eluded him his entire life. For her entrepreneurial brother Pao, each day offers the opportunity to scratch out a new way of living in this rural landscape. But soon, Lia finds herself caught between her responsibilities and her dreams. And just outside their door, something is about to break.
Contains strong language. Recommended for ages 12+.
Lauren Yee has been a Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell Colony fellow, and a member of the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group. She has also been a finalist for the Heideman Award, the Jerome Fellowship, the PEN USA Literary Award for Drama, and the Wasserstein Prize. This production is funded and commissioned by the MAP Fund. Kathy Mouacheupao (2011 Bush Fellowship Recipient) will serve as Assistant Director with Katie Ka Vang (WTF, Hmong Bollywood) as Cultural Consultant.
"Feisty." "Tiger is a smart and sassy play."
"[Maxwell] Thao is a natural at the script’s contemporary, street-wise humor. His delivery gives the play much of its raw, profane levity. [Gaosong Vang] Heu draws sympathy and warmth for her searching character. The two have strong sibling chemistry."
"Yee’s ambitious drama... moves between the physical and the supernatural realms and between cultures... slippery stuff that director Fenster navigates with skill."
~ Rohan Preston, Star Tribune
"shows guile and dexterity... The Tiger Among Us doesn't pretend to be... the universal story of the Hmong immigrant. It is, rather, an idiosyncratic story about an idiosyncratic family history, filled with decisions, regrets and consequences. Lightly dappled with surrealism, it's a play with a deceptively small scope that attempts to speak with eloquence to larger issues."
~Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press
"[Yee] evokes, using dreams and hallucinatory flashbacks, the Hmong diaspora."
"Director Ellen Fenster's production moves. Scenes crash into scenes, doors slam, dreams (some quite violent) get played out... She keeps the energy level high, the play entertaining."
"I cannot praise enough the work of Saikong Yang as Dad. Underplayed and stolid, often speaking Hmong... Dad becomes a powerful, quixotic, hulking presence."
"Every time the diminutive... May (played with simple elegance by Sheng Kong) entered, she took my breath away."
~ John Olive, HowWasTheShow.com
"Lauren Yee's [script], bristles with wit and cross-cultural insight."
"By turns funny and poignant, the story’s an engaging one... What’s disarming about the show, in fact, has far less to do with its capture of 'the Asian-American experience' than its universality; the play’s worth your attention, not for the story’s Hmong-ness, but for its brisk wit and careful attention to the interwoven textures of generational relationships and family history."