Lao-American Ova Saopheng tried out a theatre role
in high school, fell in love with it and made theatrical performing his career
choice. To Asians, theatrical art is still an occupation not regarded as highly
as lawyers, doctors and alike; therefore, to see Asian actors in this field is
rather rare, but Ova sees it differently. He enjoys performing on stage and
loves it because he can make people laugh and cry.
Ova started performing in his teen. His teacher told
him to audition for a play back in 8th grade in Hawaii, so he went
and got the part. Ova said he had to
learn to say tongue-twisting sentences before he got the role. It was difficult
but he enjoyed the sound he made once he mastered the sentences. "It's embarrassing,
but once I got it, I think it is quite amusing," Ova explained.
Ova went on and took it further. He studied Theatre
Arts in college and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of
Southern California, and later joined the TeAda Productions in LosAngeles where
his wife Leilani Chan is a founding artist director.
Over has been working nationally with many theater companies including the
Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis on the production of
"Dragonwings," 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. Ova also toured colleges and
universities with the Asian American Theater troupe and is an active member of
We Tell Stories and Water's Edge Theater.
Besides his busy schedule with other
productions, Ova is also a roster artist with TeAda Productions based in
southern California. The
TeAda is a company dedicated to supporting and developing artists 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.
The success of "Refugee Nation" spreads out from Southern California all
the way to the Bay areas and up the West Coast and to Alaska. The play will be
part of the First
Ever National Asian American Theater Festival in New York City, June
22-24, 2007 at Abingdon Theater, 312 W 36th St., New York, NY 10018. In the
year 2010, the "Refugee Nation" will be
performing at the Khon Kaen University in Thailand as a part of the International for
addition to his stage career, Ova also has performed on screen, snatching a
role as an extra in the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean 3," in which he
appeared as one of the cannibals.
help fund his "Refugee Nation," Ova is selling T-shirts with the phrase "Lao'd
and Proud" in front to emphasize his Lao roots.
"Lao'd and Proud" T-shirts are available for purchase at www.blacklava.net or donate at www.teada.org
additional schedule and show dates: you can contact The TeAda Productions at http://www.teada.org