print header

Mu Performing Arts


By Lauren Yee
Directed by Rick Shiomi

>  A modern-day Midwestern folk tale about a Hmong American family
    and the tenuous bonds that tie us together

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Schofield Auditorium

7:30 p.m.

Since 1992, Mu Performing Arts has been bringing Asian American voices to the stage in the Twin Cities area. Mu commissioned this new work by Lauren Yee, an award-winning playwright born and raised in San Francisco, and staged its world premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre January 25 – February 10, 2013.

The Tiger Among Us explores the cultural disconnect felt by an isolated Hmong American family living in rural Minnesota, where two siblings seek to blend traditional Hmong family values with modern life.

It is November in Minnesota. To Lia — a bored high-schooler whose volleyball skills make her an attractive prospect for college recruiters — it's just another cold month. For her entrepreneurial older brother, Pao, each day offers the opportunity to scratch out a new way of living in the rural landscape. But for their troubled father, November means the start of the hunting season and a chance to capture what has eluded him his entire life. Just outside their door, something is about to break.

"Yee's ambitious drama about a Hmong-American family adapting to life in the cold, surface-nice town of Perham, Minnesota, moves between the physical and the supernatural realms and between cultures," wrote the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which called it "a smart and sassy play."

The Saint Paul Pioneer Press called the production "a sturdy staging of a play of simple situations and complex relationships. … The Tiger Among Us isn’t a sleek and fierce beast of a play, but it has its own beauty and dignity. Time spent with these characters and this story is time well spent."

The Artists Series performance is directed by Rick Shiomi, one of the leading figures of the Asian American theater movement since the early 1980s. Relocating to Minnesota in the 1990s, he was one of the founders of Theater Mu and served as the Artistic Director of the company now known as Mu Performing Arts from 1993–2013.  Shiomi’s plays include the award-winning Yellow Fever, and its prequel, Rosie’s Cafe, presented on the Artists Series by Pan Asian Repertory Theater in 1990.

"Working on the development of Lauren Yee’s play has been a huge pleasure for all of us at Mu Performing Arts," Shiomi writes. "Though the Hmong American community is one of the largest Asian American groups in Minnesota, there is little known about them in the general society. Their journey from Southeast Asia to America was a part of the fallout of the Vietnam War and their stories are powerful and dramatic. But getting here is only part of their story and all the changes and adjustments needed to start a new life here with all the memories and traditions of the past are still present in their lives. Lauren’s play looks at the many layers of this experience and we hope you both enjoy the play and leave with new insights into the Hmong American community and experience."



$17  General Public
$15  UW System Faculty/Staff • Age 62 & Over
$  7  UW System Student • Age 17 & Under
Student tickets are $3.50 until the day of the show
All seats are general admission

The Artists Series is funded by the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Wisconsin Public Radio and WHYS Radio have contributed generous promotional support.