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Asian-American theater company comes to the UA

By Irene Hsiao
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 22, 1999
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Stories that have helped capture the Asian-American experience in the past are finally here and now.

The Asian-American theater company, hereandnow, hailing from Southern California, performs vignettes this evening at DuVal Auditorium that deal with the Asian-American lifestyle. However, the prevailing themes of their performances can apply to anyone.

Ten of its cast members will be performing pieces of comedy, improv, drama, storytelling and many others.

"We do the gamet," Ryan Suda, a four-year cast member said.

He describes the show as not only addressing minority issues, but class differences and homosexuality.

"It'll take you on a roller coaster ride," he said. "Not only can Asian-Americans relate to us, people from other ethnicities can connect with it."

Suda said it's tough to define all the sketches because the show is an experience in itself. He said the group has tried asking audience members to describe the show afterwards, and they have a hard time explaining it because the show explores so many emotions.

The UA's Asian Pacific American Cultural Resource Center decided to invite the group back to Tucson after they came two years ago. A member of the APACRC board of directors had suggested hereandnow after seeing them in California.

Haegyung Cho, this year's hereandnow committee chairperson, has never seen the group perform before. She hopes the show will reveal how Asian-Americans deal with the issues they are faced with everyday.

"I just think it would be great for another under-represented group to show the trials and the tribulations they have gone through," she said.

Mai Luc, interim APACRC program coordinator, watched hereandnow when they were last here.

"They're not afraid to explore topics that are taboo in society," she said. "They can be funny sometimes, but they can be serious (too)."

Luc said when one of the actors told about her life story, the actor burst into tears.

"One actor was so emotional - they speak from the heart," she said.

Luc said many people who saw the performance before plan to see it again.

"Everyone who went to the show two years ago are so excited, some who have graduated are coming back," she said.

Suda added that there will be a question and answer session after the show to discuss the sketches.

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