Upcoming Shows - In the Works:

January 29, 2012
Sunday 5-7pm
Latino Theater Company Play Reading
Los Angeles Theater Center
514 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

March 13, 2012
UCLA Asian American Studies 187A
Professor Valerie Matsumoto
"Exploring Ethnic Cultural Arts through Oral History"

March 29, 2012
Thursday 6:30-9:30pm
Break the Silence Open Mic held at
The Manazar Gamboa Community Theater
1323 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, CA, 90813

April 4, 2012
Wednesday 11-1pm
Cal Arts in Valencia
Theater History
Professor Chantal Rodriguez E108

Los Angeles, CA
Produced by TeAda Productions and The Latino Theater Company
May 31 - June 24, 2012
Thursday-Saturday 8pm, Sunday 3pm
General $30|Students/Seniors/Groups: $20
Los Angeles Theater Center
514 S. Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Fall 2012-Portland, OR
Fall 2012-Vermont
Stay tuned for times and locations.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Anchorage Players or Ova's Observation

The art of theater is collaboration, teamwork, and creativity. I wanted to take a moment to profile and praise and print my observation on some of the individuals whom have made it possible to properly present the production of Refugee Nation in Anchorage. I've come to encounter such INTERESTING people whom have now become family, friends and colleagues. The work that we do comes from our passion to bring progress and change. Art is engagement. Art is empowerment. Art is a reflection of life.

Mike Huelsman
If Santa truly existed Mike comes really close. Actually, if you really think about it, he does look like Old St. Nick except leaner; just imagine him in a red suit, laughing ho-ho-ho and giving out presents. Wait a minute?! He IS Santa, OUR Santa. I mean think about it. He lives NEAR the North Pole, he runs an organization called OUT NORTH, and he PRESENTS...us tothe people of Anchorage! Wow, all this time he was actually Santa and I never knew it until now. He's busy all year long, just like Mr. Claus, welcoming, leading, fundraising, programming, housing, outreaching, planning everything and anything so that things run smooth and everyone is happy. If we needed to be picked up or dropped off or taken somewhere, here comes St. Mike on his trusty chocolate brown snow tire equipped Saturn to deliver the goods (that's us.) And, if you ever get a chance to chat with him as he shares with you a myriad of stories galore because he is an OLD TIMER...you'll get to hear him laugh and it usually goes like this haw-haw-haw! Mike is Santa and Santa is Mike...except Santa's a myth and Mike is real...besides he's got a foul mouth when he's stressed out and Santa doesn't swear...OR does he. Hmmmm.Judy Huelsman
When I first met Judy it was at the Thai House for our first meal in Anchorage. We had just arrived and I had just been introduced to Aunty Ouy, who looked at me and said "He's not Lao. He's...." Anyway, Mike called Judy up and she came to join us. Judy sat next to me and well...we just hit it off. It was as if we knew each other from another life or that I knew someone who had her personality. She's like a Californian girl, like now living in Alaska, like you know! A Southern Cal gal she enjoys being fulfilled by the richness of diversity and global concerns and has actually traveled quite extensively. She's definitely got a West Coast attitude...laid back and relaxed...kinda reminds me of Hawaii. Maybe that's why we click. She's a great host always concerned about our welfare especially when Honcho is loose. If there ever were a Mrs. Claus, Judy comes close.

Schatzie Schaefers
If Barbie were alive she would look like Schatzie, except Schatzie is better looking and smarter. Besides Schatzie is real and Barbie's a friggin' toy doll! Not to mention her name is much cooler! Schatzie is an artist, carrying with her a pink, Barbie back-pack. No purses for this playwright performer. Marketing Director for Out North she handles the publicity and other things, hey it's a non-profit. She is truly a value to Out North. An Alaskan local, born and raised here, she is truly aware of everything...honing in with her bionic ears any conversations that goes on in the Out North office. Hmmm...be careful what you say in that building. Schatzie will pick it up and she'll know. Anyway, she's also very in tune with the changes in Anchorage from the lack of snow to the urban sprawl. If ever you head up this way and see a young woman with a pink Barbie back pack strapped to her shoulders...stop, ask her for some local advice and you've come upon a Schatzie sighting.

Thomas Higgins
Okay, so Thomas just had a vacation in Cabo San Lucas. When I first met him I thought...he looks like what I've imagined people describe what Alaskan men look like...weird, wild and totally unpredictable. You know the whole convict, escape the law in Alaska personae. Well, it's no surprise because as he was in the theater setting up lights with our TD Jen Cleary, he was dressed in a WET SUIT and carpenter jeans. So, I'm thinking...why is he wearing a WET SUIT?! It's Alaska. It's cold! Did this guy just swim out of the freezing Pacific?! Crazy man....I'm thinking...crazy. Not to mention he smelled a little. (Just being honest Thomas!) Come to find out after a friendly hand shake and quick intro...he had baked himself in the Mexican sun and turned his whole back-side red like a well-done lobster. The sun burn is pretty bad and it hurts he confesses (aww poor boo-boo...well there goes the outlaw/tough guy personae) so the only way to keep healing and to be pain free is to wear the wet suit and not bathe. Hmmm...it's been 4 days. :)

Toc Soneoulay
Toc likes to talk! No, let me rephrase that Toc LOVES to talk, but don't get me wrong. I say that in a positive light because when she talks it is filled with confidence, clarity and truth! If I can describe Toc she would be like the Lao Zena Warrior Princess...except more beautiful, shorter and lanky! You should see her on the volleyball court. She'll defend your fucking spike and throw her whole body on the floor to dig it. She's relentless, tough as nails, outspoken and very opinionated. I think it comes from her love of life, her sense of duty to give a voice for her parents and her deep relationship with them. She is the vessel through which her assimilating parents can channel their frustration and anger and hopes in. Toc is an amazing presence. She has within her a very strong spirit that is contagious and energetic. She's rich with stories and straddles two cultures, two worlds, two languages. The local Lao celebrity (beep-beep) there is a lot many people can learn and take from her. She is a leader...though she may not fully want to be. She is a passionate and pivotal person in the Anchorage community. I see her as my ally to boost the Lao-American voice, to educate, enlighten and endure. She is like a sister from another mother. If you ever get a chance to meet her...you'll love her right away! She's honest, blunt and brash. Truly she is an E-Lao.

Lee Vue
I've not had a chance to really hang out with Lee. But, through May's time spent with her...I've gotten to know her indirectly. Lee is a surprise. Her story began in Laos and makes her way to Wisconsin and finally ends up here in Anchorage. Did you know her family drove from Wisconsin to Alaska to seek a better life. She is a mother, a teacher, a community activist, an organizer, a Hmong-American leader and success story. The reason we rarely see her is because she is so busy playing those roles. She has 10 lovely children to raise, she's versed in the Hmong language and culture and has a passion to bring progress in her community. She strives for better education for herself, her family and other people. Lee is the cultural broker, the bridge between America and Hmong, between youth and elders. It was encouraging to hear how her son, Jimmy, in Middle School come home with the permission slip about our workshop. It said Refugee Nation. He ask his mom...I'm not taking this workshop, we aren't refugees right mom? With shock in her eyes, she sat her boy down and shared with him their heritage & history. She told him you better do this workshop...and so he agreed.