(Minneapolis/St. Paul) — The Guthrie Theater (Joseph Haj, artistic director) will present a Theater Mu production of playwright Carla Ching’s regional premiere of Fast Company, directed by Brian Balcom, in the Dowling Studio. Theater Mu has presented several other productions on Level Nine, including Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, You For Me For You, DeMayda’d and Circle Around the Island.
Fast Company will run November 8–24, 2019. Single tickets start at $9 for select performances. All other performances range from $25 to $32. Tickets are now on sale through the Box Office at 612.377.2224, 1.877.44.STAGE (toll-free) or online at guthrietheater.org. ASL-interpreted, audio-described and open-captioned performances are available on select dates.
Mable Kwan is the best grifter that ever lived — a skill she proudly passes down to sons H and Francis, who become the best roper and fixer in town under her keen tutelage. When she finds out her daughter Blue has been scamming on the side and lands the score of the decade, the whole family gets in on the action. But who will walk away with it all?
Originally from the Twin Cities and now based in Chicago, Balcom shared, “Every successful con is based on leveraging relationships, establishing trust, exploiting vulnerabilities and understanding the nature of human interaction. Playwright Carla Ching has deftly set this story inside an even more complex structure: a comically dysfunctional Asian American family.”
Theater Mu’s Artistic Director Lily Tung Crystal added, “Part of Mu’s mission is to show audiences what it means to be Asian in America, but sometimes our race doesn’t have to be at the center of our story. [This plays out in our work by] eschewing old clichés and letting our Asian American characters live in the totality of who they are — complicated, multifaceted, funny and flawed. In Fast Company, Ching honors that depth by placing Asian characters in the very American genre of the crime comedy.”
The cast for Fast Company includes Brian Kim as H, Jeannie Lander as Mable, Ming Montgomery as Blue and Eric “Pogi” Sumangil as Francis.
The creative team for Fast Company includes Carla Ching (playwright), Brian Balcom (director), Joel Sass (scenic designer), Ashlie Kaun (costume designer), Karin Olson (lighting designer), Montana Johnson (sound designer), Abbee Warmboe (properties designer), Miko Simmons (projections designer), Trevor Muller-Hegel (technical director), Lisa Smith (stage manager) and Audrey Park (assistant director).
Carla Ching (playwright) started off writing and performing autobiographical work with pan-Asian performance collective Peeling, which she still considers her first theater training. Her plays include Nomad Motel (National New Play Network rolling world premiere at City Theatre Company, Horizon Theatre Company and Unicorn Theatre; New York premiere at Atlantic Theater Company), Fast Company (world and New York premieres at South Coast Repertory and Ensemble Studio Theatre, respectively) and The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up (co-world premiere at Artists at Play and Theater Mu). Her work has been developed or produced at Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre Group Writers’ Workshop, Huntington Theatre Company, Lark Play Development Center, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Ma-Yi Theater Company, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and Women’s Project Theater Lab, among others.
She is the former artistic director of the Asian American theater company 2g. Her new play Revenge Porn is a Virginia B. Toulmin Commission from the Atlantic Theater Company. She is a proud founding member of The Kilroys and member of New Dramatists. Ching’s television credits include “Graceland,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “I Love Dick,” “The First,” “Preacher” and the forthcoming “Home Before Dark” for Apple. She’s currently developing a new show with 3AD at AMC.
Brian Balcom (director) is a disabled, Asian American director working in Chicago and Minneapolis. He received his bachelor’s degree in directing from Carnegie Mellon University and his master’s degree in directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University. He has been a Multicultural Fellow at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, an associate artist at Park Square Theatre and currently serves as the access coordinator at Victory Gardens Access Project.
His directing credits include: Gremlin Theatre: Samuel J. and K., Ideation, Don’t Dress for Dinner, An Absolute Turkey, Fool for Love; Artistry: Tinker to Evers to Chance; Urban Samurai Productions: Slasher; Walking Shadow Theatre Company: See You Next Tuesday, Some Girl(s), Mr. Marmalade; New Theatre Group: The Folly of Crowds, The Debate Over Courtney O’Connell, Compound/Complex, A Standing Long Jump, American Sexy, Killer Smile and How to Cheat. He has upcoming productions with Gremlin Theatre, American Stage Theatre Company and Theater Wit.
THEATER MU is the second-largest Asian American theater company in the nation. They are committed to telling stories from the heart of the Asian American experience and presenting a fusion of traditional and contemporary artistic influences, which range from classics to up-and-coming voices in the community. Theater Mu is a member of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists as well as a member of the Twin Cities Theatres of Color Coalition, proudly standing alongside New Native Theatre, Pangea World Theater, Penumbra Theatre and Teatro del Pueblo. www.theatermu.org.