NEW EYES FESTIVAL 2021: UN(SCENE) to be Presented by Theater Mu

Playwrights featured include , like Carla Ching, Isabella Dawis, Prince Gomolvilas, Jessica Huang, Lloyd Suh, Katie Ka Vang, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, and more.

By: May. 10, 2021
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NEW EYES FESTIVAL 2021: UN(SCENE) to be Presented by Theater Mu

To mark Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May, Theater Mu announced NEW EYES FESTIVAL: UN(SCENE) as part of the current 2020-2021 season.

Theater Mu's longest-running tradition, the New Eyes Festival, has become a much-anticipated annual series of staged readings of new works from Asian American Playwrights. The festival acts as an artistic incubator for thoughts and ideas looking to be born onto the stage.

This year, as a response to the rising violence against Asian and Asian American communities, the New Eyes Festival will consist of a series of original ten-minute virtual plays written by local and nationally recognized playwrights with ties to Theater Mu and the Twin Cities. The idea to pivot this year's festival was brought to the Mu staff by Board Member Katie Hae Leo, who also serves as the festival's producer:

"I approached Mu with this idea in March when it was clear that hate crimes against people of Asian descent were continuing to rise," says Leo. "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."

"We knew it was the right time for Mu to present 'Un(Scene)'," adds Mu Artistic Director Lily Tung Crystal. "Asian Americans are often perceived as invisible, largely because we're rarely represented on stage, 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."

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, Sara Ochs, Rick Shiomi, Jennifer Weir, and Lily Tung Crystal. Joshua Dyrud will serve as the streaming producer.

These plays are being developed with the support of Theater Mu and the Playwrights' Center. Aditi Brennan Kapil's piece was commissioned by Company One Theatre for its Acts of Joy program in 2021.



The New Eyes Festival: Un(Scene) will take place LIVE May 21-22, 2021. Audiences can also watch a recording of the event on-demand May 23-29, 2021.

Friday, May 21 at 7:00pm CST: Watch our Mu-tini Hour, hosted by Lily Tung Crystal, on Facebook LIVE. Meet producer Katie Hae Leo and the playwrights.

Saturday, May 22 at 7:00pm CST: Then, join us for the LIVE performance, broadcast on Theater Mu's private streaming platform.

Sunday, May 23 - Saturday, May 29: The performances will be recorded live and available to watch on-demand for one week.

Performances will be free and open to the public with an RSVP at or by calling the box office at (651) 789-1012.

During the hour-long Saturday event, they will encourage viewers to donate to Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP). AAOP was formed in 2014 by a diverse group of community organizers to continue the legacy of the Asian American civic awakening and movement in Minnesota and strives to strengthen the community engagement and leadership of young (18 to 35 year old) Asian Minnesotans. AAOP has been and is engaged with local and national partners on issues that affect our community, such as voting rights, racial justice, gender justice, and civic engagement. For more information, visit