THE SHADOW WAR
"The Shadow War" is the story of five characters whose lives and destinies are woven together by the tragic circumstances of America's secret war in Laos, the Vietnam War's "shadow" second front. In 1971, Luang Prabang, the characters are brought together under the same roof, the house of the CIA station chief: he and his wife, their Hmong housekeeper, and the Pathet Lao agent hired as their guard, inhabit this house, while the housekeeper's combatant brother is a frequent, and later ghostly, visitor.
The story is based on the experiences and research of the playwright, Amy Russell, who lived in Laos as a child. However the workshop is intended as a writing-encounter: through the process of devising, five actor/writers, the playwright, and the director will bring their own stories and experiences to the work, and flesh and blood to the characters.
This 5 day workshop is Phase 1 of the Shadow War Project. At the end of the week, we will present the results of our work to a specially invited audience, participants whose feedback holds special meaning to the story: members of the Hmong American community and especially those with memories of the war; and Vietnam War veterans. The entire process will be supported by a dramaturgical partnership with the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT).
The week's work, documented on video as well as notated, will then be taken into Phase 2. Amy Russell will present the cast with a first version of the co-authored script-in-progress, which will be taken into a full workshop/rehearsal process, resulting in a multi-lingual production that will premier in St. Paul, MN in the Fall of 2013.
Local filmmaker Nikki Jackett will be producing the recorded material from our research and devising work together as a documentary film. With additional archival material, this documentary will accompany the production, providing both a background for the production as well as future promotion.
WHY IS YOUR PLEDGE NEEDED?
Our unique approach to this unique story will only be possible through contact and collaboration. Our target for Phase 1, $1,000, will barely cover travel expenses and the cost of filming our work. Your support will give seven artists the opportunity to share our story with you.
THE SHADOW WAR TEAM:
ABOUT CHAT, OUR DRAMATURGICAL PARTNER
The Center for Hmong Arts & Talent (CHAT) grew out of Pom Siab Hmoob Theatre (PSHT), the first Hmong theatre company in the world. In 1998, PSHT organizers decided to expand their focus beyond theater arts in order to serve more artists in the Hmong community. PSHT changed its name to CHAT and expanded its reach into multiple disciplines – making it the first Hmong arts organization in the United States. CHAT exists to nurture, explore and illuminate the Hmong American experience through artistic expressions. CHAT envisions a vibrant community where Hmong American artists are inspired to share their perspectives, valued for their creative contributions, and empowered to challenge life’s boundaries. CHAT addresses social injustices through Hmong American artists and youth that express their inner truths through contemporary arts by 1) raising awareness 2) initiating action and 3) building community. Reflecting our mission statement, our commitment to a viable arts community and our strong belief in the benefits of arts education, these value statements embody our core principles: to provide quality arts education, activities and opportunities for Hmong American children and youth; to foster the advancement of emerging and experienced Hmong American artists, and to build audiences for the arts by creating and producing art that significantly enhances understanding both within the Hmong community as well as cross-culturally.
ABOUT THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Teresa Mock is a multifaceted theatre artist with experience in acting, directing, devising, teaching, producing, and costume design. She received her specialized training while completing an MFA degree in Lecoq Based Actor Created Physical Theatre at The London International School for Performing Arts (LISPA) through Naropa University. She is currently a Planning Committee Member and Costume Designer for Mixed Precipitation’s annual Picnic Operetta. Her ensemble created campy vaudeville show, Batmama, featuring original music and vocal composition, was performed as part of the 2010 Minnesota Fringe Festival and received recognition on MPR for Best Costumes as well as a VISI Award for the trailer video. Teresa's autobiographical solo performance, Piece Story, was recognized by Curve Magazine, the best selling lesbian magazine, for Best of Lesbian Regional Theatre. Other Minneapolis works include directing and co-producing Body and Sold, a docudrama about human trafficking, with Tempest Productions (Boston.) In London, Teresa and her ensemble created a shadow puppetry piece, Blue Buick, supported by Theatre of Inspirations and performed at The Space. As an actor and collaborator in the Twin Cities she has also worked with Joel Sass, Walking Shadow, The Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts, MN Shakespeare Project, St. Croix Festival Theatre, The National Theatre for Children, Actors Theatre of Minnesota, Four Humors, and Z Puppets Rosenschnoz, among others.
ABOUT THE DEVISING DIRECTOR/SCRIPTER
Amy Russell is an internationally produced playwright. Having trained in ensemble devising and physical theatre at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, she joined the Touchstone Ensemble in Bethlehem, PA, which produced three of her plays, including the award winning children's play about interracial friendship, Out of the Net. Her verse play, Bloody Mary, was produced by Antibea Theatre in Antibes, France, in 1998. Joining the resident company at the Clarence Brown Theater in Knoxville, TN, she wrote the bi-lingual play, Je T'embrasse, Elvis, which was produced by Compagnie Ajar, which she co-founded with Eric Ting. The production toured to the Avignon Festival in 2000. Compagnie Ajar then produced her script for one actor, Killing Lincoln, which won the Knoxville Area Critics Award in 2001. Internationally acclaimed Polish director, Henryk Baranowski, commissioned her adaptation of Aeschylus' Oresteia, which toured to Bratislava in 2001. After a hiatus during which she founded, chaired and taught Naropa University's MFA in Actor-Created Theatre, she has written The Shadow War, based on her childhood experiences in war-torn Laos in the 1970's. The play has received a professional reading in London, where she currently resides.
ABOUT THE DEVISER-PERFORMERS
Sandy'Ci Moua has performed in over 45 productions on stage, in local film, commercial and print work. She starred in three pivotal world premieres of work written by Hmong-American playwrights. She has also worked as a casting consultant, and production assistant for Clint Eastwood's 2008 film Gran Torino where she successfully advocated for an authentic Hmong-American cast, wrote an audition blog leading up to the MN and Fresno, CA open auditions, as well as coached actor Bee Vang toward landing a substantial role in the film. Sandy'Ci is also an educator and community activist.
Jerry Lee moved to St. Paul in 2002 from Chico, CA. He studied Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement and Business Administration. As a film actor he had a role as a Hmong gangster in Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino. He has appeared in a number of short films as well.Jerry’s personal passion is writing stories and screenplays.
Erik Hoover recently appeared with Walking Shadow's Compleat Female Stage Beauty after performing in two of their earlier productions (Drakul and Amazons and Their Men). He has also worked with: Sandbox Theatre, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Classical Actors' Ensemble, Theatre Novi Most, Theatre Pro Rata, Park Square Theatre, Burning House Group, the Red Eye Collaborative, and Penumbra Theatre. He's also appeared in a number of short films including Northwoods, Looking Past You, and Ex Post Somnio. Erik received his BA in Theatre Arts from the U of M before training and performing with the Margolis-Brown Theater Company for a number of years.
Isabel Nelson is a performer, director, and theatre creator in the Twin Cities. She received her B.A. from Macalester College in Theatre and Religious Studies, and a certificate in Creating Theatre at the Lecoq-based London International School for Performing Arts (LISPA), where she completed both the Initiation and the Advanced Courses. As a performer, she has worked with Live Action Set, Jon Ferguson Theatre, and Four Humors, among others. Her directing credits include work with Black Dirt Theater and Macalester College. As co-artistic director of Transatlantic Love Affair, she also conceived/directed Ballad of the Pale Fisherman and Red Resurrected. Isabel is thrilled to be a part of this project, and the telling of an important story.
S.H. Kim is a theater artist who has performed and produced work mainly in Portland, Or. He has also performed with companies in Southern California and Seoul, Korea.
Nikki Jackett - Deviser-Filmmaker has worked for Northwest Community Television (NWCT) since 2004 and is both a Public Access Manager and Studio Manager. As a Public Access Manager she teaches television production classes to the public. As a Studio Manager she is part of the Channel 12 news production team and on any given day will be floor directing, running audio, creating graphic designs and editing, and/or directing the live news broadcast. She and her Channel 12 news team are 2010 Regional Emmy Award winners. Nikki holds an associates degree in Television Production from Brown College and will soon be graduating with a film degree from the Art Institute International.
David Nutt - Deviser-Video Archivist
Joseph Pyfferoen - Deviser - Production Stage Manager is beginning his Senior Year in the fall at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. At the end of the academic year, he will graduate with a BA in Theatre Arts. For the past year, he has been acting semi-professionally, appearing on the Minnesota Centennial Showboat two years in a row (170 performances over those two years), and performing with Theater Latte Da at the Ordway in their production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Not only will Joseph be Stage Managing our workshop of The Shadow War, but the week after the workshop he will be Assistant Stage Managing the BFA Guthrie Programs production of The Rover with director Joel Sass.
- (30 days)