It's one thing to have the highest concentration of theaters in a particular region; it's quite another to have diverse enough programming to fill the attendant seats. Canonical works are essential, of course, but in order to truly thrive, an arts scene needs contemporary voices capable of insightfully reflecting upon modern life. In this regard, the pairing of writer Katie Ka Vang and Mu Performing Arts make for an inspired match. As a spoken-word artist, Vang has firmly established a reputation for evocative work that explores often overlooked aspects of the Hmong-American experience. Likewise, Mu Performing Arts has emerged as a leading source for dynamic new pieces designed to challenge Asian-American stereotypes (including its most recent production at the Guthrie, the enormously gratifying Cowboy Versus Samurai). With the combination of these two artistic forces, WTF brings tremendous promise. Following the interwoven lives of two Hmong Americans, WTF uses multiple disciplines (including spoken word, poetry, hip hop, and projection art) to depict a community at the crossroads of tradition and change. And while WTF is Vang's first play, a dramatic verve is nearly guaranteed by having the reliably inventive Mu regular Randy Reyes at the directorial helm. Don't let the title fool you; WTF knows exactly what it represents: essential storytelling that speaks directly to our myriad cultural identity. (Photo by Stephen Geffre)
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Jan. 21. Continues through Feb. 6, 2011
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