Stir-Fried Pop Culture is an intelligent and comical play about the stereotypes and identity issues Hmong-Americans face. Writer May Lee-Yang cleverly explores the fluidity of culture and the complications of assimilation through a series of five vignettes.
Stir Fried Pop Culture debuts Friday, January 11 through the 13 at Mounds Theatre 1029 Hudson Road Saint Paul, MN 55106.
Tickets and show times: $7 adults, $5 students/seniors
Friday, Jan. 11 – 8pm; Saturday, Jan. 12 – 8pm; Sunday, Jan. 13 – 4pm
The play begins with a scene called “The Stages of Hmong Development” where characters like Mai, a teenager who only responds when referred to as “Melissa” and Nkauj Zuag Paj, a young woman that has extreme Hmong pride share their stories about being Hmong and being American.
The experimental short lasts about an hour with each scene directed by a different Hmong artist. Loaded with puns, satire and humor, Stir-Fried Pop Culture delivers a fresh dose of what it is to be Hmong-American.
The debut of Stir-Fried Pop Culture is the first of many things. It is the first play written, directed and performed entirely by a Hmong cast. It is also the premier play produced by the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent’s (CHAT) Dawning/Dabneeg Theatre program, the first theatre program of its kind.
Dawning, or Dabneeg (folktale in Hmong), is an ambitious program started in 2007 by CHAT. “The goal of Dawning is to share the Hmong experience through theatre created entirely by Hmong artists,” says Kathy Mouacheupao, Executive Director. “We have never had that before and Stir-Fried Pop Culture is only the beginning. We hope it will create a spark that will eventually grow into a substantial Hmong theatre arts community.”
CHAT is also known for the plays Hmong Tapestry, Hmong! The CIA’s Secret Army, Hush Hush, The Orphan Boy, and most recently They Myth of Xee.
CHAT is a non profit organization with a mission to nurture and develop Hmong artists to enhance the community. CHAT grew out of Pom Siab Hmoob Theatre (PSHT), the first Hmong theatre company in the world. PSHT wrote and produced five successful community-based theatrical productions between 1990-1997. In 1998, PSHT organizers decided to expand their focus beyond theatre arts in order to serve more artists in the Hmong community. PSHT changed its name to the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT) and expanded its reach into six artistic disciplines: visual, theatre, literary, music, traditional Hmong arts and multi-media arts-making. It’s the first Hmong arts organization in the United States.
For more information about CHAT’s programs and services, visit www.aboutchat.org or www.myspace.com/aboutchat.