- Start: 18 November 2021 7:00 pm
- Venue: Heatilator Performing Arts Center
- Address: 307 East Monroe Street, Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641
IowaWINs will present award-winning author Mary Swander’s play, Vang, on Thursday, November 18 at 7:00pm at the Heatilator Performing Arts Center in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Vang is produced by Swander Woman Productions, a theatre company that creates and tours dramatic performances focused on food, farming and the larger rural environment.
A Hmong family who fled Communist bullets and wild tigers through the jungle of Laos and across the Mekong River to the refugee camp in Thailand. A Sudanese man who was thrown into prison in Ethiopia for helping the Lost Boys and was left gasping for air through a crack under the door. A Mexican woman who taught herself English by looking up the meaning of the profane words that were hurled at her at her first job in a meat packing plant. A Dutch boy, dressed as a cowboy, who put the flag of the Netherlands through the paper shredder and declared, “I am an American.”
These are some of the characters brought to life in the theatre production, Vang.
Vang is a collaboration between Swander and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Deni Chamberlin. Swander and Chamberlin documented interviews with the immigrant farmers to create Vang(meaning “garden” or “farm” in Hmong). Swander then wound their words together to form a verbatim play that captures their struggles, survival skills, and journeys to the U.S. While their experiences are unique—some escaping violence, others fleeing poverty, and others embarking on agri-business ventures—all of these immigrants grew up on farms and wanted to once again assume the livelihood that they had known in the past, the work that had formed the foundation of their cultural roots.
Vang will be performed by actors Rip Russell and Mt. Pleasant native, Amy Johnson Schaefer, and feature Chamberlin’s photographs. The performance will be followed by a talkback by Mary Swander, with time for questions.
The event is sponsored by Iowa Welcomes Immigrant Neighbors (IowaWINs) of Mt. Pleasant.
Performance Date: Thursday, November 18
Performance Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Location: Heatilator Performing Arts Center, 307 East Monroe Street, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa
Admission: There will be no charge to attend, but freewill donation will be collected for IowaWINs.
Misc: Because of the covid pandemic, audience members will be required to wear face masks.
In addition to serving as the Artistic Director of Swander Woman Productions, Swander is the Executive Director of AgArts, a nonprofit designed to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts.
For more information, please contact Touring Director Janine Calsbeek at touringSWP@gmail.com (712.707.2010).