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, September 16, 2008

Schools not Bombs

Xieng Khouang day two was focused on a visit to Lathsene village, where a preschool will be built from the money raised through the Schools not Bombs campaign. We were a big part of that fund raising and it was great to be able to witness the birthing of it. Partnering with Give Children a Choice, a organization with a strong mission to build preschools in Laos, the group trekked into the bomb affected village. We first had to visit the Ministry of Education in Xieng Khouang to view the signing of the memorandum of understanding but once that was done we headed straight away to ban Lathsene. The village was off the beaten path along unpaved roads and along the way we saw: villagers, goats, water buffaloes, cows, chicken, ducks and other rural sights. By the time we got to the village we were wondering where it was because there was just fields and fields of rice and corn. We pulled up to the area where the school was being built and there it was...a few men were just laying the foundation and framing of the school. It was a very good feeling to know we are helping a village to expand its educational needs. We were then summoned to meet with the students and villagers and finally had a baci ceremony lead by the elders to end the visit. There was a bit of confused coordination going from one room to another but we made it through.

Next stop after the village was a visit to World Education Consortium, a organization that educates people about the dangers of UXOs. They are about advocating and prevention of harm, as its difficult to ask people in poverty to not till the land or search for scrap metal to survive. Yet, that is all they have. The real tragedy of this is that UXO really affects not just one person but a family, a whole group of people. When land is not available to use...what can these people do to make a living? They are farmers. They grow vegetables and rice and herbs to sell and barter and trade. That is their livelihood. No many choices. We met two young men who volunteer with Consortium World Education to be examples and guides in such activity. They both lost their arms to a unexploded ordnance and have such incredible stories to tell individually. Being in their presence makes the work we do so much more important as they put in time to help others from possible accidents like they've had.

Finally we ended our day at the MAG Foundry of Xieng Khouang. Mine Advisory Group works throughout the country in education and removal of UXO. The foundry is where metal is collected lek seet scrap metal and many UXO and metal remains of the war are compiled. It was a true sight to see as we realize the immense work that needs to be done to clear the landscape. Hundreds, thousands, millions of the ordnance pollute the land...at this foundry was a very small, small portion. Yet, for the group this was a lot. Many types of ordnance lay around gathered and piled in groups, from small acidic nails, bullet casings, grenades, bombies, mortar shells, bomb shells, etc...military metal gear found all in the Lao earth. Pictures tell it all.

Xieng Khouang. Xieng Khouang.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reflections on Laos...just the beginning

Due to limited internet access and time to ourselves during our Laos and Thailand trip we could not update our blog as frequently as we would have wanted. We will do our best to highlight the various aspects of our trip for everyone knowing full well there is a lot to reflect, unravel and decompress. The weeks spent in South East Asia traveling on planes, trains and automobiles from cities to towns to villages took its toll on our bodies and spirit. It's taken us this long to recover. We are now back in action and very anxious to mount the show again...

And so...after Vientiane the group flew domestically on a 30 minute Lao Airlines flight to Xieng Khouang province to visit the town of Phonsavanh just northeast of the city of Vientiane. Xieng Khouang is one of two major provinces heavily affected by bombings and UXOs, the other being Savannakhet in the south. All along the eastern face of the Laos map like a rash of zits are the evidence of war...UXOs. You wouldn't know it though from arriving at the small airport of Xieng Khouang; where the cool highland air welcomes you and the green raw pastures is all you can see for miles and miles. It's a very different Laos that we were introduced too in Vientiane where the hustle and bustle and heat of the capital city overwhelms you. Xieng Khouang is the opposite...the countryside. The ban nok. The easy-breezy-take-your-time town of Phonsavanh. On that first day, we visited the Plain of Jars or Tung Hai Hin, a fascinating and mysterious tourist attraction. Leading us was Long, our tour guide, who speaks Lao, Hmong and English, walking us along a loop trail around the lush rolling meadowlands where we gazed at ancient stone jars, bomb craters, and sparrow traps. It's a very otherworldly sensation, like time travel, viewing various remnants of times past in the present moment. It's no wonder that Fred Branfman felt so inspired to write his book "Voice from the Plain of Jars" after his first trip there. We left the peaceful Plain of Jars to intimate rendezvous with elation. That evening we were treated to a very surprising engagement with a schoolhouse run by Manophet, a friend of Elaine's, who teaches English to poor youngsters throughout the province. Education is the root of progress and paves the way out of poverty, a belief that Manophet knows full well in Laos and actually worldwide, himself being a true example. Since entering the country this meeting was the most immediate, geniune and upbeat interaction anyone of us had ever had. The teenagers, all boys (girls had class earlier in the day) were so ecstactic about exchanging English dialogue and with so many people to converse with it was staggering. We arrived to a two story house at sunset full of about 100 or so kids. It was crowded downstairs so they asked some of us to head upstairs and from chaos to order we each sectioned ourselves to groups of 3-10, visitors to students, and basically questioned and answered and shared with each other all in the English language. That was the rule...it was forced English immersion for the night. I was so inspired by them, seeing such eagerness to speak English, to question, to be curious, to learn. It was such a joy to be able to be a part of such positive and affirmative energy. To our groups surprise afterwards, many of them held a very good grasp of the spoken language. After that we returned to our guest house, we had dinner together and rested up for the night. We were ready to take on another day.