Now in its sixth year, hereandnow is a group of young actors that bring stories of Asian America to life. The unique mix of satire and introspective drama includes many different forms of theatre including dance, comedy and music. All of the material is original, and is written, directed and acted by Asian American artists. Shows are composed of different vignettes dealing with various aspects of growing up Asian American . Cast members range in age from 18 to 32 and come from all walks of life.
Frustrated with the lack of opportunities for Asian Americans to perform on stage, the group was created in 1989 by director John Miyasaki and six friends. They then volunteered the show to universities in order to have an opportunity to perform. From the original seven, the ensemble has grown to a 15-member cast and has performed from coast to coast. From three university performances in their first year, they gave 30 performances in 1995 and expect to do 50 this year. Venues have ranged from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, to the University of Illinois at Champaign, to USC.
With their main focus on entertaining the public, the show has gained wide ranging appeal. According to Miyasaki, "the common denominator is basically good theater. " He said Caucasian audiences have been surprised to find things they could relate to. "They thought it just might be very ethnic. They were pleasantly surprised to find that it was very innovative and spoke to a lot of different people." Following each performance, the cast holds an open question and answer session with the audience.