Giving Away a Pair of Tickets for "Refugee Nation"

April 22, 2008

According to a very informative article written by Catherine G. Wagley,

After visiting Southeast Asia in 2002, Chan and Saopeng, who is of Laotian descent, realized that the story of Laotian refugees desperately needed to be told. The two artists decided to travel around the country, collecting oral histories, and forming the skeletal structure for their performance piece. The inaugural performance occurred in June 2007 at the National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York. Since then, Chan and Saopeng have performed nationally, holding workshops and spending time with members of Laotian communities. In Alaska, they were able to rewrite scenes in response to the community and to invite local performers to participate in the project.

Refugee Nation weaves together monologues of Laotian refugees and their descendants, connecting the narratives across generations in an effort to mend the gap that separates many refugees from their children. At one point in the performance, a Laotian war prisoner and an incarcerated gang member in the U.S. dialogue across time and space. Chan explains, "Both men found themselves in a war that wasn't necessarily their war." The gang member does not know that he isn't a U.S. citizen until he faces deportation. It is only because of his arrest that he discovers what his Laotian parents went through and realizes that his mother suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

When Chan and Saopeng realized that many Laotian refugees suffer from PTSD, they worried that Refugee Nation might aggravate traumatic memories. But after consulting mental health specialists, they found that talking about the past is the first step toward healing. Chan says, "It's not just theoretical healing. It's actual healing that comes from sharing the stories."

So, if you don't win the tickets, don't fret. You can still check out any of the 3 performances that will be happening this weekend. 

WHERE: La Pena Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705
WHEN: Friday - Saturday | April 25, 8 pm (Benefit for Legacies of War and Center for Lao Studies or | April 26, 3 pm & 8 pm 
COST: Buy $10 tickets
For more information and to read up on their complete journey in collecting , check out the Refugee Nation blog here and check out more projects by TeAda Production here.  
Email me, and win!  


Lisa Lee


Lisa Lee works in User Operations at Facebook, and has more than five years of nonprofit experience in marketing and communications for multicultural arts and cultural organizations.