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Mango Tribe is an APIA women's performance collective that promotes multi-arts collaboration and encourages artistic activism through theater and education. It is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-disciplinary ensemble comprised of 22 APIA women from Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles



World Premiere of Mango Tribe's


to Debut SEPTEMBER 5-8, 2002
     Vittum Theatre Chicago, Illinois



CHICAGO, IL (August 7, 2002)  - Sisters in the Smoke makes its world debut in Chicago at the Vittum Theater from September 5-8, 2002, as part of the Guild Complex's annual Women Writers Series.  In its eighth year, the Guild Complex Women Writers Series provides a diverse community of women and men with greater access to women1s literature and literary performance.

Sisters in the Smoke is the 2002 original theatrical production from the cast and crew of Mango Tribe Productions, the first show to be produced by the Asian American Artists Collective-Chicago. The show focuses on violence in the Asian/Pacific Islander American (APIA) community and how artistic expression helps us heal. Unlike traditional theater, Mango Tribe has thrown in an element of experimental variation which includes rotating scenes--the September 5 and 7 performances include several acts that are not included in the September 6 and 8 shows, and vice versa.

Mango Tribe is an APIA women's performance collective that promotes multi-arts collaboration and encourages artistic activism through theater and education. It is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-disciplinary ensemble comprised of 22 APIA women from Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis.

"This is a historical moment," states Anida Yoeu Esguerra, founder and executive producer of Mango Tribe. "We are creating a new tradition of performance in Chicago. Sisters in the Smoke is groundbreaking work because of its unique inter-city collaborative fusion of theater, music, and dance."

In 2000, Mango Tribe produced Mangoes, Cigarettes, and My Mama's Hands: Snapshots of a Mental Landscape at Chicago's Chopin Theater to rave reviews and a packed house of 300 people. Since then, Mango Tribe followers--as well as theater enthusiasts and Chicago's artistic and activist community--have eagerly anticipated the premiere of Sisters in the Smoke. Directed by Anida Yoeu Esguerra and Emily C. Chang, the show fuses together elements of poetry, hip-hop, theater, dance, video, and music into a series of vignettes that are unified on the issue of violence. 

Traditional South Indian dance and Asian folk songs are combined on stage with such contemporary arts as tap dance, spoken word, break-dancing, and video projection. Vignettes include survivors' personal stories of violence and dramatizations motivated by media headlines. Other vignettes utilize video and audio technology to explore the literal interpretations of violence and the scars they leave behind. Sisters  interweaves the traditional and the modern, the personal and the global, and the artist and the community.

"Sisters in the Smoke is as much a presentation of resistance and struggle through art as it is an effort to cleanse the soul, to share stories, to heal, and to create change," says Chang, who along with Esguerra is a member of the nationally renowned spoken word group, I Was Born With Two Tongues. "We are doing this not only for ourselves and our community, but to educate and engage others in helping to end all forms of oppression and violence against women."

Advance ticket sales will be available through the Guild Complex for $15 ($12 students/seniors/ Guild members), and a package deal of two tickets for $25 ($20 students/seniors/Guild members) will be available for audiences who want to see both versions of the show on different nights.

After the long-awaited Chicago debut in September, Sisters in the Smoke will premiere in New York this winter, and Mango Tribe plans to take the show on the road in the spring of 2003.

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Mango Tribe Productions

is an Asian/Pacific Islander American (APIA) women's interdisciplinary performance group founded on the belief that collective creation can be the most powerful form of art. The mission of Mango Tribe is to use experimental community-based theater to create a stronger presence of APIA females in the performing arts on a national and local level.

For information:     Contact:

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The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.

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Allah, Liberty, and Love

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update 17 May 2012




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