Oh hey! My name is Andrea. I am an intern this season at Mixed Blood Theatre working on a documentary project for the upcoming world premier of Interstate, a Queer Asian American pop-rock poetry musical (yes you read that correctly!) written by Melissa Li and Kit Yan, directed by Jesca Prudencio. 

First, I will share a little about myself. I am an Asian American cis woman adopted from China and raised in Minneapolis by my Czech immigrant parents. As a public history graduate student, I am excited to explore new methods to narrate, connect, and remember histories of transnational family making. With this goal, I am extra interested in public performance as a powerful site for claiming familial, racial, and national belonging – which is why I am so excited to be at Mixed Blood Theatre this spring! I also (shameless plug alert) volunteer for MidWest Mixed – an amazing community org that hosts dialogues and arts programming centered on race and racial identity in the midwest. 

Now a little background on this project. The majority of Interstate’s production team will be flying in from out-of-state, including the director, one out of the two writers, and most of the cast. At the same time, Interstate’s materialization this March will occur in context of an increasingly visible queer Asian American community in the Twin Cities. My goal is to place Interstate’s production at Mixed Blood Theatre in conversation with local queer and Asian American spaces. The final format of this documentary project will be a mixed media digital archive of select materials from Interstate’s local production, interpreted as sharing space and history with concurrent productions of other queer Asian American spaces (both artistic and political) in the Twin Cities. This internship with Mixed Blood Theatre is funded by the Minnesota Historical Society in partnership with the Heritage Studies and Public History program at the University of Minnesota. 

So, why is this documentary project important? I pose this question out of formality, and hope that the answers won’t be too surprising.

  1. Cultivating community: Community awareness and involvement is central to Mixed Blood Theatre’s philosophy. I hope this project contributes to MBT’s relationships with local queer and Asian American spaces.
  2. Archives are history: Queer and Trans Asian American histories in the midwest are yet relatively hard to locate. I hope for this documentary project to stand as a resource for anyone interested in Interstate’s local significance in the Twin Cities.
  3. Personal interest: I am using this project as an opportunity to explore broader research interests in familial and national identity claiming in a theater performance space (very new to me!) while gaining skills in digital public history methods.

Because self-directed project accountability risks existing only in my imagination, I have committed myself to sharing a weekly blog update starting with this one! These can be viewed here at the Interstate Media Room page.

If it’s any incentive, my future posts will never again be this long (or so I say now). Looking forward to the weeks ahead!

 

Andrea