It’s been a good year for Minnesota-based theater artist Kaysone Syonesa, who recently completed a number of productions including Pangea World Theater’s ground-breaking Isla Tuliro, Loom Labs’ The Middle Keeps Moving, and the recent debut of the SEAD Project’s River of Memories.
Syonesa is one of the Lao Americans with a formal background in theater, graduating from the University of Minnesota ten years ago with a degree in Theater Arts. Sahtu Press recently did an extensive interview about her work and techniques.
Syonesa’s family comes from Khongsedone in the Salavan Province of Laos. She has been a positive role model working well with youth to help them participate in the creation of their own stories, and has been assisting Twin Cities efforts to collect oral histories across multiple generations as the community navigates the difficult questions that came in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and what that journey means almost 45 years later.
Thoughtful, inspiring and energetic, she has lent her talents to projects by Ananya Dance Theater, Mu Performing Arts, Green T Productions and many others. Lao American poet Bryan Thao Worra remarked “In all of her productions, she’s utterly fearless and dynamic. She brings a graceful, deeply expressive and joyous presence to the stage in everything she’s in.”
She is putting the final touches on her new full-length work, In the Land of 10,000 Stories, and had previously created plays such as Sticky Rice Drama and a collaborative play called Many Routes. Even more exciting projects are sure to come!