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.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hello Bay Area!!!! - by Leilani

We drove up from Los Angeles and arrived late Friday night at Phoumy and Toni's house, our gracious hosts for this Northern CA residency. Turns out Phoumy and Toni's house is Lao community central! Lao New Year Festival preparations were taking place even at midnight when we arrived. We tried to catch up on as much sleep as we could that night given that we hadn't slept much in the days prior to leaving LA preparing for our travels and packing up our show for hit road. But we didn't want to miss anything. Neither of us have been to a Lao New Year Festival before, and Northern CA has one of the biggest Laotian communities in the country. Plus we had to get our Ajan/Ajan scene up and running for the festival. We haven't performed that scene since Alaska so we only had enough me to run our lines once on the drive up from LA and once again on the drive from the house to the festival. We finally got to the San Pablo City Hall where the festival was in full swing. As we walked up to the event I felt totally under dressed. To me, from Hawai'i, festival means shorts and slippers. Not at the Lao New Year! Women were in their beautiful Lao costumes, men work silk and Lao sashes. We missed the morning ceremonies but got there just in time to eat some food, help at the booth, great our family and friends, and quickly throw on some costumes. Before I know it I hear the hosts introduce "Ova Saopeng and Leilani Chan," and then Ova's voice over the mic saying something about how were are married and he loves Lao food, and so do I (his wife). My comeback, "yeah, I like spicy, that's why I married him!" And we were just warming up. To our surprise the audience was listening! Outdoor festivals are usually the hardest audience to play for. It's hard to compete with a beautiful day, food, games and socializing. But this crowd was listening, laughing, and a applauding at places we'd never got applause before. It was a truly magnificent experience to perform for the first time to such a large crowd of Laotian Americans who knew exactly what we were talking about. Even when we brought up some potentially political issues, one of the Ajan told the other "that's very political Ajan, this is a family festival we don't want any fighting" we got a laugh and even some applause I believe. It was truly amazing and a gift to be able to perform for such a crowd. Many elders came up to us after the show to thank us and tell us they'd never seen something like that before, about them! Then of course we told them that they only saw 10 minutes and they should come see our full show at La Pena Cultural Center! But no promises yet. I'm hearing that most Lao don't want to leave Richmond even to go ten minutes to Berkeley! Let's prove 'em wrong people! Come see the show that is about you!
The festivities continued with Lao music, dancers, performers, and then we found out why it's called a water festival. This venue was chosen not just for the outdoor courtyard, but for it's central waterfall. It's amazing how the Spanish architecture of this San Pablo City Hall was converted for the day into a magical Lao fountain, representation of life along the Mekong river, and well, the place for people tog et water to throw on each other. Luckily we were warned to bring a change of clothes, because we were drenched (thanks to Vinya the who dumped water on anyone who was dry. He even dumped water on our Director Alex who we'd just met in person). Lao people don't mess around! As we paraded around the fountain I saw two guys, grown men, someone's uncle and grandpa, fight over a hand gong. Why? Because one was a musician holding the gong, the other wanted to use it to toss water. The musician lost the battle. (wish I had a picture of this, but it would have been to dangerous to have a non-waterproof camera anywhere near that!) - Note to self for next Water Festival - size matters - bring bowls not cups to get people wet! What topped our day was that our favorite niece (our only niece) and her mom could celebrate with us. Check out this picture, lots to see, they guys in the fountain splashing water on the crowd, the parade circling the crowd, and look in the lower left hand corner, Ova, our niece Asia, and her mom Vantha.