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.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Non-stop Alaska Adventures a.k.a WORK

You didn't think we just came up to Alaska for fun and fancy did you. It's taken me this long to get back on track with our blog because we've been so busy and I had to get internet access again. We've also moved from Mike's house to a B&B off of Valarian St. which is actually closer to Out North. The residency and outreach work continues to create great buzz for Refugee Nation. We were just on the news today on NBC Channel 2 in Alaska. They did a "kicker" segment on the work we did with Begich Middle School, a wonderful new school in Anchorage made up of a myriad of ethnicities from Asian, African, Pacific Islander, Latin, Native and Caucasian: AMERICAN diaspora. A little glimpse of the few days since last I wrote.

Surprise! We offered a workshop to the Lao community and thanks again to the perseverance and shadowy tactics of Toc Soneoulay. She found a way to bring 12 Lao-American 1.5ers or "professionals" to our workshop. At first many were hesitant and unsure of what to expect but in the end they all had a great time. Thank you for all jumping in with gusto! Everyone who participated had a lot to share and we even got two families of sisters to come together which they rarely do. Hope you siblings learned something! We learned a lot about each other like some one (Susan) likes to fart?! How does anyone like to fart?! Anyway, we played theater games that made us move, play, act and delve deep within ourselves pulling out our ancestral stories. Many in the group realized the similarities in their experiences and the struggles their parents went through to give them the opportunities they have now. We even had an incredible (you have to be there) race that made everyone giggle and laugh with delight. What more could anyone want. Food...that's what, so we ended up at Tokyo Garden, an Asian buffet owned by Koreans.

Leilani, May Lee and I continued our theater workshop blitz with 20 Hmong students at Snow Leopard central Begich Middle School. Which made me wonder...where are the Lao students, man? Were they invited? Are there any Lao students at Begich Middle School? It was informed to us the workshop opportunity WAS given to over 50 students including Lao BUT no one took the handle and opened it...for whatever reason. Hmmm...my advice to young Lao brothers and sisters when opportunity knocks it's best to open it. Could it be saibai syndrome? I wonder. Major applause goes out to Principal Jeanne Fischer and ESL Counselor Carolyn Butler for making it all happen.

After our 3 hours pulling teeth to get our young actors to perform and practice we headed over to the University of Alaska in Anchorage and held another class hostage. A social work graduate class lead by Jamaican born, easy-going, James Earl Jones look-alike Professor (Ajan) Henry. The visit gave us the opportunity to share our knowledge of refugee and immigration issues that enlighten these future social workers. Dr. Henry kept throwing us profound questions like "If you had the support of the U.N. how would you go about making the refugee resettlement adjustment process work?" Lots to think about people! It's a university with a lot of very bright people! Anyway, we left them with more to chew on and excitement about coming to see our show.

At this juncture...Jen arrived from her long ass flight from Philadelphia. We headed home to do some R&R. Mike cooked an awesome salmon dinner and I got to play with 10 month old Honcho, Judy and Mike's four legged baby. Everyone say "Honcho SIT DOWN....SIT DOWN...good boy!"

Early to wake brings anxiety about the show and tell. We prepare and hope that our kids would be up to the challenge of picking up what they could remember from yesterday for the two assemblies. The nerves begin and the chilly morning air brings us to the school before the sun comes up. We enter the cafetorium at 7:15am and see chairs being set up for the upcoming assemblies. Our student actors slowly trickle in at 7:30-7:45am and the first presentation is at 8:15am. Time was really tight and in the chaos of those 15 minutes Leilani, May Lee and I, warmed-up, wrangled, organized, rehearsed the 20 student actors to do their best. Understand now also that in the mist of all of this, we didn't even get a chance to warm up ourselves for our portion of the presentation which was the Lao Fighters excerpt. So, the massive student audience enters. The grand Principal Fischer introduces us and welcomes any special guest in the audience including the the local news. Sigh...talk about a nerve wracking morning?! Through it all we survived and came through with much success. The assemblies captivated and engaged our audience.

After closing out with our wonderful kids at Begich we drove over to a different school. The Alaskan Literacy Project where the students were all international adults new to this country they came from various parts of the world like Korea, Cuba, Mexico, Philippines, Laos, Japan, Russia, all of whom are learning to speak English. Anchorage boast, 2nd only to Honolulu, to be the most ethnically diverse city in the nation and this classroom proved it so. They responded well to our excerpt of the "SHOW" and had incredible responses and questions. We even pulled in May Lee to join us for the piece and she passed with flying "Ajan" colors.

Lunch at a Lao owned restaurant. Wow, talk about an identity crisis here. Mike and I pointing out the facts...read carefully the AUTHENTIC THAI & POLYNESIAN FOOD...hmmm Pictures don't lie. Nor do my taste buds...the food was so onolicious. People miss out if they don't try new things.

After that heavy lunch, we rehearsed at Out North and cleaned up the "Ajan Ajan" scene adding in May Lee to the mix. At the same time we were also spiking or marking the stage to prepare for tech tomorrow. One major snafu was that a set from the Rocky Horror Picture Show was not cleared from the stage so we had to just deal with it! Shit...flew every which way from Mike's mouth because of this. He keeps mentioning how much he realizes the value of a person (in this case technical director Thomas Higgins) when they are not around. More work. More swearing. Ahhh...the joys of the theater.

We next went to chat about artistic process with some incredibly tech savvy, young Alaskan Native youth. They were part of an after school program called Mediak that gives opportunity to Alaskan Native youth to build and learn skills in digital media and production. In the exchange we connected how theater and film must follow the same process of creation, learning that any project must go through the following steps: idea, development, pre-production, post production and presentation/distribution. Mike outed me on Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and questions came swishing at me faster than I could say AAARRRGH.

Enough is enough. We need to break from outreach and focus on the show. Tomorrow we begin the remounting of Refugee Nation at Out North.

A quick side note. Notice all the pictures of May Lee. What does she do? Does she do anything? What does a guest artist do? Maybe you should ask her...hmmmm.