laos mountains.jpg

When

2013: winner, Best Original Radio Play, 2013 AWGIES

2012: broadcast on Airplay, Radio National ABC Australia

2011: commissioned by Radio National

2010-11: first radio development, Ian Reed residency

2008: first stage development with City of Melbourne and Multicultural Commission funding

Creative team

Broadcast – Radio National

Produced by Radio National

Director Maryanne Lynch

Dramaturg Noelle Janaczewska

Composition by Elissa Goodrich

With Aljin Abela, Ferdinand Hoang, Jon-Clair Lee, Gareth Yuen and Peter Bright, Matt Crosby, Fanny Hanusin, Hai Ha Le, Chris Pang

Developments – various

2010-11: dramaturg Noelle Janaczewska

2008: director Gorkem Acaroglu, dramaturg Chi Vu and with performers Luke Fraser, Fanny Hanusin, Kha Tran, Mark Tregonning and Gary Yang.

About

Format

Full length, radio

Casting

4M, chorus

Content

This is a play about a boy called Charlie, who watches a tiger coming for him. It is about a shaman, who’s cheerful but rusty. There is a gangster Hmong boy, Victor, from America. And Charlie’s uncle, Guy, tapes oral letters to his brother who is languishing in a refugee camp. This play is about Hmong people and some of the challenges of settling into Australia. From Laos, we fled the aftermath of the Secret War. In the early 1990s, there were about 130 Hmong families in Australia. Today, there are 2000 people (I’m not sure how many families that is!).

My people are originally from Southern China (but are ethnically different from the Chinese) and we’ve been in Laos for several generations. During the Vietnam War, Hmong were enlisted by the CIA to fight as guerrilla fighters keeping Communist Vietnamese from coming into Laos. The majority of Hmong were thus allied with the conservative party in Laos, the Royal Lao Army, who were allied with the Americans. The minority Communist party in Laos at the time was the Pathet Lao Party. In 1975, after Saigon fell, the Pathet Lao Party took government and ordered Hmong into re-education camps, as well as massacring Hmong people. In the meantime, a lot of Hmong left Laos and came to Western countries, mainly America but, of course, here in Australia too, which is where I was born.

Listen to a sample

Buy the script

You can buy the script for See how the leaf people run from the Australian Script Centre.

Video

This video was from the 2008 development of the stage version. The video was edited and shot by Brienna Macnish. It features actors Luke Fraser, Gary Yang, Kha Tran, Fanny Hanusin and Mark Tregonning.

Leaf People web from Michele Lee on Vimeo.