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, August 18, 2009

Khmer Konnection

It's been a long time since I've written on this blog. Mostly, it's because I have been on break and yes, I agree it has been quite long. In our daily grind to live as artists we've had to buckle down and confront the economic difficulties but we've managed to keep going, re-focus and find abundance in activity. I've been teaching acting classes and TeAda is preparing for the next season. Refugee Nation went on break for a while and we are gearing up again to make it better and tour more cities. San Diego was quite a treat...both in experiencing the struggles and also the impactful return from the Lao community. Now, we look at the present moment and plan forward.

I must remind myself how important our work is...AGAIN. I keep saying that because there are moments when Leilani and I ask ourselves "WHY?" Why do we do this? Pay is horrible. Touring is disorienting. Creating is painful. The answer comes down to our love for performance, our need to share our stories, our value to educate others through theater.

I was just at a birthday party in Upland, CA. A friend of mine by the name of David Prak. He just turned mid-forties, small in stature, passionately loyal and has an amazing spirit. He's also got a great laugh. I met him on Pirates of the Caribbean. Well, Prak is a Cambodian American actor who just recently returned to Cambodia and built a house for his parents. Now, I've never had a chance to sit and discuss with him about his experience from Cambodia to the United States...but I would guess it probably would be intriguing. Nonetheless, my Lao buddy Litdet and I are driving all the way from West Los Angeles to Upland to show up for Prak's birthday party. We roll up and the party is a good mix of folks but made up primarily of Khmer. Sitting at the dining table as we enter his suburban 4 bedroom home in Upland next to Rancho Cucamonga, are lovely ladies hanging. So Litdet and I join the table with food on our plates and we start to meet and greet. Come to find out this ladies are dancers with the Khmer Arts Academy in Long Beach. In our conversation I realized how we knew little of each other but because of our experiences as refugee-Americans we bonded in no time. One thing I discovered was how even Khmer folks didn't know much about Laos and I guess vice-versa. Yet, we experienced the same experience. I was blown away that one party-goer said that there wasn't a war in Laos!? Are you kidding me?! So I had to edu-ma-cate him with a little knowledge from our show Refugee Nation about how Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, France and US were connected in that War. It was just amazing to be able to educate. Deepen each other through important discussions about our histories, our experiences and our connections. What a small world it was to be in a room with the managing director, Serey Tep, of Khmer Arts Academy...who of course knew Prum Ok, an incredible Khmer young dancer an acquaintance of ours, currently attending UCLA World Arts and Culture. But the connections. The importance of our stories. The importance to speak about our experiences. We were all high on great conversation about Southeast Asia. Khmer, Lao, Lao, Khmer. Seeking pride in ourselves and wanting better for our communities and wondering what happened? What happened to our people? We even jokingly went through a little recap of the history of the Southeast Asia about French colonialism, Indo-Chine, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and we all agreed that it's time for payback. Let's kick Frenchies ass for making a hell-hole in Southeast Asia. At that moment, Quang, a Vietnamese friend of Prak walks in and lo and behold our triangle is complete. We had the Khmer, Lao, Vietnamese brotherhood gathered together in one place in Upland, USA. All victims of French colonial stupidity. And who of course should Quang bring with him...a Frenchie by the name of Stephano! History repeats itself?! NO. Not that night. We had a blast just enjoying our conversation and ignored the Frenchie! Humph...take that you disgusting bastards.