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, October 24, 2010

The Magic That Is

Final day with the amazing people who've made it happen. Reflections on Refugee Nation in Twin Cities.
Minnehaha Falls Park with peek-ka-boo artists Lidet, Leilani and Robert.
The family that stays together, plays together!
Point up to the marquee...Refugee Nation in lights!
The masterful workshop at the University of Minnesota students expressing themselves!

I have often heard the phrase "It is, what it is" referring usually to a situation that, at least for me, connotes that nothing can be done or it cannot be helped. In most cases I'm on the losing end. This is not one of those cases. Refugee Nation the play, the project, the residency, the performances, took years to sculpt and mature. Magic can happen, magic does happen...it takes time and effort and a lot of hard work! The success of Refugee Nation in the Twin Cities proves it so. I am amazed at the impact we have had in the Twin Cities when done right! Thank you so much Intermedia Arts, Lao Assistance Center and Pangea World Theater for making an example of what collaborative, communicative and conscious effort can do for a community!

There are many moments of magic I can reflect upon during our three full weeks in St. Paul-Minneapolis; from the first day arriving at the airport and picked up by Bryan Thao Worra in his beat up BMW...we didn't fully comprehend the adventure that was about to unfold. Miracles happen thanks to the Ratsabout family in Brooklyn Park...Saengmany, Gao, Maekalah and crawling Zakarin were commendable hosts. Without this family's down to earth spirit and awesome home the RN team would be split up. They were kind enough to accommodate all four refugees: Leilani, Litdet, Rena and myself after much fuss from an assumed prior engagement that unfortunately did not come through. Nonetheless, we adjusted to the situation and made good with making new family and friends. To which I add on to the magical moments of meeting the Photisane family whom lived just a few blocks away. The Photisane's are an amazing unit of eight who have such a deep, dramatic, uplifting story to share to the world that my hope is that it will happen. Thanks to their mother Aunty Oudom we were escorted into the senior group at Lao Cultural Center where we announced our arrival with the hope that they get to experience the play at Intermedia Arts.

I can share of many impactful stories like the young man from Iowa whom was so moved by the play he had to take a moment to collect himself midway through the play. The UofM Southeast Asian American students and the incredible work they produced in workshop with only an hour of time together. The diverse audiences that came to see the play and filled the houses practically every night. B. Ratsabout and other repeat audience members who came to see the play more than twice to fully take in the nuances of the performances. Fans like Julian Hines,who came with friends to support the show and insist that they come and see this play. Elders who smiled at me after the show and wished me well for sharing OUR stories. The Minneapolis artistic core: Bryan Thao Worra, May Lee Yang, Saymoukda Vongsamay, Robert Karimi and many others...

This proves that we are ultimate, historical, significant, penultimate...Lao American play of the decade. We will continue on thanks to the love and support of so many people. Let's continue to step forward building this Refugee Nation!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Twin Cities ACTivities

After a very successful week of performances we continue to make new friends and fans of Refugee Nation. Amongst the new friends and fans were some who got to experience the fun and educational theater workshops and socials we were able to squeeze in. We call this community engagement, exchange and interaction. All in all the sharing that happens brings us all closer and deeper to better understand and appreciate each other as individual human beings. Audiences have been touched in so many levels which makes us realize the importance of our work and forever drives us. Within this week alone we have presented excerpts, had post-show discussions, and facilitated theater workshops at various institutions throughout Minneapolis-St. Paul including: Intermedia Arts, Lao Cultural Center, St. Cloud State University, John F. Kennedy High School, and University of Minnesota. I am continually amazed at the reach and impact we have on the community. We have had Lao families of every generation attend, we have had a young man awaken to his Lao identity and so affected by the play, see a reflection of his family in the play...the stories go on an on. Art does change everything, art does heal, art is essential to our lives.

Some recent photo memories:
Lunch with visiting fans from Des Moines, Iowa!
Beautiful and amazing playwright and teacher Ms. Kathy Haddad of John F. Kennedy High.
JFK: Getting the creative writing class ready for some thinking activities.
JFK: Reaching for the sky while warming up the body!
UofM: Participants at the University of Minnesota workshop. Thanks to AASAP & LSA
UofM: Lao Student Association and Hmong Student Association Reps welcoming participants.
Lao and Iranian-Guatemalan brothers-in-artistic-arms...Ova Saopeng and Robert Karimi
IA: Refugee Nation cast members Ova and Litdet hanging outside Intermedia Arts
IA: Lao-paparazzi after the Bao Lao Dala!
IA: The power of the arts lives within all generations...GO REFUGEE NATION!
SCSU: St. Cloud St. University brought us for a performance excerpt and discussion.
SCSU: Leilani in dialogue and conversation with students of SCSU.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lao Love in Minneapolis

Sharing a meal with Malisamai, Minneapolis Hmong and mom at her favorite place Dancing Ganesha.
Farewell to director Rena with our fabulous host family Gao, Maekalah and baby Zakarin.
Autumn sunshine while walking along Lake Calhoun.
Lao'd and Proud night out with Adisack and crew celebrating birthdays galore.
Meal at Shish in St. Paul after a workshop and radio interview.

We are blessed to have such a wonderful welcome in Minneapolis. The opening night for Refugee Nation was SOLD OUT! Sadly, several people had to be turned away BUT that's great because they can still get tickets for the rest of the run. We have had amazing reception to the play beyond our wildest expectations. So far in only two public performances, we have had standing ovations, a very diverse audience, and incredible publicity. Droves of various groups have come with curiosity, anticipation and excitement from all across the Midwest: Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. Refugee Nation is ablaze with energy lighting up the Twin Cities with pure theatrical force. This is powerful theater that brings communities together. The rest of the run is going to be HOT HOT HOT! Publicity on radio, print, and internet media have been widespread! Minneapolis rocks! St. Paul rocks.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

a blessing, some community, food and off to rehearsals....

Sunday at the end of our week of community engagement was full. We were invited to a Duc Baht ceremony and the home of a friend's family.

We received the blessings of the Monks followed by a real Lao spread of delicious food. We couldn't stay long and it was off to rehearsal at the Theater for the rest of the day and evening. What a blessing the day was. Tomorrow begins Tech week (aka Hell week in theater) and then it's the home stretch to opening night on Friday.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Intermedia Arts workshop brings families together!

Folks getting the chance to learn and create with the Legacies of War and Refugee Nation workshops. No short of sunshine and smiles at Intermedia Arts! Fun! Fun! Fun!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Legacies of War Opening

Last night was the spring board in a collaborative effort to make dreams possible. The Legacies of War exhibition along with Refugee Nation in Minneapolis has come to fruition thanks to Intermedia Arts, Pangea World Theater and Lao Assistance Center. We welcome October with a plethora of education and entertaining offerings in South Minneapolis. Legacies of War historical exhibition, community dialogue, film screenings, and Refugee Nation play will have a long lasting impact for the attendees at large. Come one come all to be engaged, educated, engaged and excited about sharing in each others stories.

Lucy Burns and Leilani Chan in attendance.

Local celebrity Robert Karimi.

Attendees viewing the exhibition.

Photisane family has an incredible story to tell.