Zombies, cannibals and Kung Fu collide in Mu Performing Arts’ latest show

When the zombie apocalypse comes, what will you do to survive?

That question is at the heart of Mu Performing Arts‘ latest production “Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals,“which runs Oct. 12-27 at Southern Theater in Minneapolis.

It’s the first show for Mu under the leadership of its new Artistic Director, Randy Reyes, and it’s an ambitious one.

Written by Lao playwright and spoken word artist Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, the play features martial arts battles and an original hip hop score mixed live on stage.

Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals, at Southern Theater in Minneapolis
(Photo by Aaron Fenster)

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Reyes said over coffee recently. “It has martial arts – which is very difficult to do well on stage -  but it also has great heart, a great message. And it celebrates a Lao female writer. It features very strong female characters. The combination is very exciting to me.”

“Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals” follows Sika as she travels from Minneapolis to Laos bearing the ashes of her family in a tin can, taking out any zombies that get in her way.

“It’s her journey of letting go of her family while navigating her own morality and her need to survive,” explained Reyes. “Are zombies people? Do they have spirits? She’s a Buddhist who has to kill to survive. It raises some really cool questions.”

Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals
(Photo by Aaron Fenster)

The opening of Kung Fu Zombies at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis coincides with another major event in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood: the Zombie Pub Crawl, in which thousands of people dress up as the undead and get stupid drunk.

Last year at this time, Reyes was directing “Summer and Smoke” at the nearby Theatre in the Round Players. Rather than stage an evening of Tennessee Williams with hordes of zombies making mayhem outside, TRP Director Steven Antenucci decided to go dark for an evening.

When Reyes began working on Kung Fu Zombies, he thought, “why not embrace the zombies?”

“It might be the dumbest idea in the world,” said Reyes with a laugh, “or it might be great.”

At this stage it looks as though the idea is working; opening night is already sold out.