Borderlands Theater Stars Refugee Teen
Former IRC client Laxmi Dahal is staring in a Borderlands Theater production during the month of February. Following a successful first week of performances, Dahal sat down with Jenna Glickman, Development Intern, to share his thoughts about being a refugee artist in the United States.
“I love acting, I love writing, I love poetry” proclaims Laxmi Dahal, a 19-year-old refugee living in Tucson, Arizona. “I am passionate about everything.”
Dahal’s zeal for the arts and for life began at an early age. When in 3rd grade in a refugee camp in Nepal, he was introduced to theater through his school. Soon, he helped form a drama club which performed plays about HIV/AIDS and domestic problems to peers. “The goal was to bring awareness to other refugees,” Dahal says.
Dahal and his family arrived to the United States in 2008. He mentions that adjusting to life in Tucson was difficult at first, mostly due to the vast differences in the educational systems. However, he soon found his niche with VOICES, a community-based story-telling organization. Writing for VOICES proved to be the starting point of his journey of self-expression in America. Since then, he has participated in many other events, including regular performances at Tucson’s annual RefugeeFEST. “Your voice is your power,” Dahal states.
His most recent project is the Borderlands Theater’s production of Agnes Under the Big Top: A Tall Tale. The play is described as an ‘exploration of struggle’- in this case, the struggle of first-generation immigrants to the United States as they attempt to find their identity on a subway train. The play opened on February 9th and runs until February 26th. Dahal portrays the character of Happy, a former call center employee from India.
“It’s about hope, sorrow, dreams, and the pain of immigrants- a mixture of everything,” says Dahal. While he can relate to much of Agnes, he recognizes that everyone’s story is different and appreciates the diversity of the characters, which includes immigrants from Bulgaria and Liberia.
After Agnes, Dahal plans to continue acting if he has the opportunity- and the time. He is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration at Pima Community College. However, true to his artistic roots, he is taking some writing classes too. His goal is to be a successful businessman- and maybe write a book. “I have a hope and aspiration to be great,” he says.
For more information on location, show times, and ticket prices of Agnes Under the Big Top, visit the Borderlands Theater website.
By Jenna Glickman, Development Intern. For more information about internships at the IRC in Tucson, visit our internship page.