The Intergalactic Lao New Year You’ve Been Waiting For!

Intermedia Arts and TeAda Productions present
Performance Run: April 10-13 & 17-20, 2014
8PM Thursdays – Saturdays
2:30PM Sundays
Free childcare provided during the Sunday matinee performances for youth Ages 3 – 11

A mother lives alone in the darkness. A father struggles to forget a lost war. A son battles in the streets of urban America. A daughter searches for answers in her community.

Refugee Nation is about a young generation seeking to understand their history and a community healing from the traumas of war. Based on the stories of Laotian refugees in the U.S. the play eloquently touches upon the refugee experience and highlights the hidden stories of Laotian Americans. It celebrates their rich culture, honoring the past to shape a hopeful future. Refugee Nation unites people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and histories relating the ideas of change, loss, struggle, healing, and the unrelenting strength of the human spirit.

Intermedia Arts Creative Leadership Network
social X change
Friday, April 11, 2014
8-10pm at Intermedia Arts
Food and Drink provided

Only $12-15 for a Friday night of fun – with theater, food, local beer & inspiring activities!

Following this special performance of Refugee Nation you are invited to join other artists, activists, social entrepreneurs and changemakers from Intermedia’s Creative Leadership Network for a fun gathering of inspired ideas, participatory activities and face-to-face conversations. Watch Refugee Nation and then share food, drinks and your thoughts about what it takes to make social change with other people who are doing it too!

What’s a social X change?
A laid-back and interactive social experience to brighten your Friday night! Kick back and be inspired by the 8PM performance of Refugee Nation and then mix and hang with our local network of creative leaders, artists, and changemakers at the social X change. Great food, local beer, and plenty of very cool artist-led ways to connect!

LISTEN: Podcast Interview with Ova Saopeng


Leilani ChanLeilani Chan is an award winning performance artist, actor, playwright, director, cultural worker, Founding Artistic Director of TeAda Productions. TeAda Productions exists to enrich the repertoire of contemporary works created and performed by people of color. Leilani and her partner, Ova Saopeng, are currently traveling the country developing Refugee Nation a multi-disciplinary performance based on the stories of Laotian refugees and their descendants from around the country. This project received a Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund and a NPN Creation Fund in partnership with OUTNORTH, Highways Performance Space and Legacies of War – and education and advocacy group around the removal of UXOs form Laos ( Leilani is a Department of Cultural Affairs Artist-in-Residence and has toured natitionally with her solo work “E Nana I ke Kumu.” Her performance installation “Life as a Dashboard Hula Dancer” has been presented as part of Guillermo Gomez-Peña’s La Pocha Nostra at LACMA in 2005 and FITLA 2004. Ms. Chan has worked with Hawaiian and multi-racial communities to develop community-based performances and has she been presented at Borderlands Theater, Highways Performance Space, JACCC, Grand Performances, the Getty Center Museum, and at many other college campuses and performance venues across the country. Leilani has directed new works by Robert Karimi at Out North in Anchorage, Alaska and Kristina Wong at REDCAT, [INSIDE] the Ford, and at La Peña Cultural Center. Ms. Chan has also worked with numerous arts organizations throughout the country including Center Theatre Group, New WORLD Theater, Great Leap, Highways Performance Space and many others. Leilani obtained her M.F.A. from U.C. Irvine in 2004. Ms. Chan is on the national steering committee for the National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival and for Legacies of War.

Ova SaopengOva Saopeng is an actor and writer from Los Angeles, he was born in Savannahket, Laos and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He received his B.A. in Theater from the University of Southern California and since then has worked nationally with many theater companies from the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis on the production of “Dragonwings” based on the Newberry Award winning book by Laurence Yep, Mark Taper Forum/P.L.A.Y. production of “Wondrous Tales of Old Japan”, a kabuki American adaptation of Japanese folk tales written and directed by David Furumoto, and East West Players the premiere Asian American Theater Company in the nation. He has toured colleges and universities with the Asian American Theater troupe hereandnow and is an active member of We Tell Stories and Water’s Edge Theater, children’s theater companies based in southern California. He is also a roster artist with TeAda Productions led by founding artistic director Leilani Chan, who is also his wife. TeAda is a company dedicated to supporting, developing and incubating artist of color to create innovative theatrical performances to empower under-served communities. Refugee Nation, a play written and performed by Leilani Chan and Ova Saopeng about the Lao-American experience, based on interviews and workshops in Lao communities throughout the U.S., is currently touring.

Litdet Viravong

Litdet Viravong is an actor born in Laos and raised in Oklahoma. On TV he has guest starred in The Sarah Silverman Program, Crossing Jordan, Al Shearer Project and Film roles include Cannibal “Blow dart specialist” in Pirates of the Caribbean II and as a Core Asian Pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean III. He also has been seen in national commercials such as Capital One and International Rotary Club. He performed with Water’s Edge Theater, a Los Angeles based children’s theater company that tours throughout southern California schools. He traveled through the valleys, smog cities, Redwood forest, and coast lines of California landing in Portland, Oregon…where he resides now. Litdet has been a part of the Refugee Nation team since 2006.


Performing April 10
Vongsay is an award-winning Lao American poet, essayist, and playwright of “Kung Fu Zombies Versus Cannibals” – a play named Best Production of 2013 (L’Etoile Magazine). She is the Lead Chair for the National Lao American Writers Summit and Chair of the annual Twin Cities World Refugee Day Celebration committee.

Performing April 11
At root a storyteller and community engagement specialist, Robert Farid Karimi mixes humor, rasquatche aesthetics and performance to communicate poems and stories that feed audiences an interactive cross-cultural collision of joy, pop culture & personal history in theatres, grocery stores, backyards, and off-Broadway. His writings have appeared in newspapers, NPR, literary journals, and anthologies, most recently Asian American Literary Review. A national poetry slam champion, he has featured throughout the country at venues such as the Nuyorican Poets Café, Def Poetry Jam, The Chicago Theater, and SXSW. Creative Capital, the NEA, the MAP Fund, Warhol Foundation, and MSAB have invested in his recent projects, all of which include a community of multidisciplinary artists.  He works at ThePeoplesCook as an arts educator, public engagement deviser, playwright, director, and community arts consultant. He has lived and worked in Minnesota since 2006 and is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Performing April 12
Abdifatah Farah Ali (Abdi Phenomenal) is a spoken word artist, teaching artist, actor and a community activist. A member of the MN Spoken Word Association, Abdifatah Farah is known in the Somali-American community as “Abdi Phenomenal. Abdi’s strength lies in spoken word poetry and reviving the dreams of those who never made it. He wants to encourage the youth to promote peace and be a voice for themselves and tell their stories to the world.

Performing April 13

Fres Thao is an advocate for the arts, believing art is direct energy from the soul. He is the Executive Director at the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, the first and only multidisciplinary Hmong arts organization, and the founder of Figure Eight Loops Media.  His mind is restless, his body suffers, but his soul gets to shine.

Performing April 17
Fresh Traditions is collaboration between Tou SaiK Lee and his Grandmother Zhoua Cha. This performance is a bridge between Generations, Cultures, Art Forms and Language. Zhoua Cha performs Traditional Hmong Poetry called Kwv Txhiaj pronounced (Koo Tia) and Tou SaiK performs  Spoken Word Poetry in English and Hmong. They have blazed stages across Minnesota and other states performing for a variety of audiences of different ages and ethnic backgrounds. In their personal time, Zhoua makes her own ultra-potent rice wine and hustles cassette tapes with tissue paper stuffed in the corners of her self recorded storytelling called Dab Neeg (pronounced Da Neng). Tou SaiK is an organizer that strives to invent guava flavored gummi dragons.

Performing April 18

May Lee-Yang writes plays, stories, poems, and occasionally plays different versions of herself on stage. Her theater work has been produced at Mu Performing Arts, Intermedia Arts, CHAT, Out North Theater, the MN Fringe Festival, and other venues. In her non-artist life, she enjoys karaoke, romance novels, and hanging out with chubby kids.

Performing April 19
IBé was born in Kankan, Guinea; grew up between Koindu (Sierra Leone), Evanston (Illinois) and St. Cloud (Minnesota). Naturally, he lives in “The Middle of the Atlantic”…with a mailing address in Minneapolis, MN. IBé is the recipient of a 2010 Midwestern Voices Award, a 2009 Urban Griots’ Cultural Award, a 2005 Jerome/SASE Verve Grant, and a 2004 Minnesota Academy Award nominee for Best Spoken Word. IBé writes that which he sometimes finds hard to say. Spoken word helps him say it. He is the author of “Bridge Across Atlantic”, a collection of poems about life between Africa and America.

The mission of TeAda Productions is to expand the awareness of issues affecting underserved communities through the development and presentation of performances by people of color. TeAda’s cross-disciplinary performances incorporate theater, performance art, and dance. TeAda embraces a fearless commitment to provide artists a space to explore cultural and political issues most relevant to their communities. TeAda serves as a bridge between the health, education, and social justice issues of these underserved communities.

This production is made possible in part by National Performance Network (NPN) Performance Residency Program and by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.