November 9 – 12, 2017
Co-presented by A-Squared Theatre, Asian Improv Arts Midwest, and Links Hall, the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival features four evenings of contemporary dance, music, performance art, sound art, and theatre by American artists descended from the Asian diaspora.
This year’s artists include Jeff Chan & Suwan Choi, Taka Yamamoto, Lu Yim, Fujima Yoshinojo (Rika Lin) with Tatsu Aoki, Hugh Sato & M Wu, and A-Squared Theatre.
From the Curators
The 2nd installment of the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival arrives under a vastly altered American political and social climate since the festival’s inaugural edition in 2016. Racism and xenophobia have repeatedly emerged in the current presidential administration’s so-called “populist” rhetoric. The Muslim travel ban, the response to the Charlottesville attack, and criticism of silent protests by professional athletes are recent examples of the administration’s continued attempts to marginalize minorities and demonize immigrants in American society.
For this reason, the curators of the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival firmly believe that this festival continues to be relevant and much needed during this divisive moment in American history. The artists presented in this festival are musicians, dancers, performance artists, actors, directors, and designers. Their artistic voices represent an intercontinental blend of influences as they bridge their cultural bloodlines from Asia to their personal and artistic upbringing in contemporary American society. In experiencing their work, audiences can see that diversity should be celebrated, that the contributions of immigrants and their descendants are a valuable component of American life, and that art can be a unifying and healing force during troubled times such as these.
Hope Kim is a company member and board member of A-Squared Theatre for which she has performed in all three incarnations of the My Asian Mom series, including Piano, her one-person short play. She also co-curated the A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival (co-presented with Links Hall) and produced Cowboy vs. Samurai, Ching Chong Chinaman, and the three editions of My Asian Mom. Hope also runs a playwriting workshop for Asian American writers based in Chicago. She thanks God for all the wonderful, exciting, and challenging opportunities to create art and also thanks her husband for the endless support and understanding of the late nights and meetings.
Excited to be able to co-curate the second year of A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival.
Cary Shoda is a co-founder and the current artistic director of A-Squared Theatre, for which he co-curated the 2016 A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival, produced American Hwangap, Ching Chong Chinaman, The Other Shore (co-produced with CIRCA Pintig), and The Wind Cries Mary. He acted in Cowboy vs. Samurai and Trial By Water, and directed My Asian Mom 2014. For Halcyon Theatre, he performed in The Emperor of the Moon and Two Dead Guys and a Banjo: A Story of Mourning. He has also collaborated with the following theatre companies in various capacities: Chicago Dramatists, CIRCA Pintig, American Blues Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Teatro Vista, James Downing Theatre Company, the side project, and others. Cary is also a graphic designer with a portfolio that includes work for McKinsey & Company, Northern Trust, Spencer Stuart, Rand McNally, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Giau Truong is a company member of A-Squared Theatre and an at-large artist for various performing arts companies in the Chicago area. For A-Squared, he co-curated the 2016 A-Squared Asian American Performing Arts Festival, he directed Ching Chong Chinaman, The Other Shore, and short plays for My Asian Mom, acted in Trial By Water, served as technical director for American Hwangap, and designed lights for The Wind Cries Mary. Giau’s other directorial credits include Downward Facing, Lights Out, Everybody, and Theatre of Women for Dream Theatre Company. He directed Sister Outlaw, Mr and Mrs LaQuesta Go Dancing, My Name is Flor Contemplacion, and I Dream Electric for CIRCA-Pintig, Chicago’s long-running Filipino American theatre company for which he served as artistic director from 2007 through 2012. Giau has also directed plays for James Downing Theatre Company and Theatre for a Change. He serves as a teaching artist and program manager for Storycatchers, stage manages with Chamber Opera Chicago and various other companies, and is a resident jack-of-all-trades for Links Hall.
A-Squared Theatre was founded in December 2006 by a collective of Asian American theatre artists based in Chicago. Noting that many important Asian and Asian American plays, both new and old, have never been produced in Chicago, these artists united for the common goal of bringing these stories to the Chicago stage. In doing so, the founders pledged to showcase the talents of Asian American theatre artists who they believe were underrepresented and misrepresented in Chicago theatre. A-Squared’s productions and readings also educate the general public on issues relevant to the Asian American community, such as family, immigration, assimilation, social justice, sexuality, mental health, and other pertinent themes. By addressing these important issues, A-Squared creates theatre that reflects the diversity of Asian cultures present in the Chicago area.
Asian Improv aRts Midwest’s mission is to build a vital, self-empowered Asian American community in the Chicago area by advancing the understanding and profile of Asian and Asian American cultures through the traditional and contemporary cultural arts. AIRMW is dedicated to creating productive relationships with artists, community and institutions in order to produce high quality arts programs that accurately reflect the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic reality of Chicago and the nation.