Dmae Roberts presents a  two-part Stage & Studio focusing on the songs and stories of Tongan sewing circle in Portland as well as a play celebrating the heroic stand of Senator Wayne Morse, one of two congressman to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

Kato Kakala
Kato Kakala Kavapalu

First, off a feature on Portland’s Tongan community through the stories Kato Kakala Kavapalu and Kolini Fusitua for the Migrations project  focusing on little known immigrant and refugee arts in the Portland area.

We’ll hear about the Pacific Islander Sewing Circle, a group of women who get together to sew and sing in beautiful harmonies as they work. Learn how this one group is the hub for hundreds of Tongan families in the Northwest.

This project is part of a year-long series on immigrant and refugee artists called Migrations with funding from the Regional Arts and Culture Council-

For more info on the Migrations project visit:


Hear the feature here on SoundCloud:


Read Dmae’s feature piece in The Asian Reporter:

Excerpt: “Sewing is considered a folk-art form in many cultures, especially quilting, which reflects the quilter’s personal experiences and traditions. I also heard that many of the women currently participating in the sewing circle are Tongan and they sing traditional songs. After learning that, I had to check it out.

The sewing circle met weekly this summer at George Middle School in north Portland. I attended a couple of meetings.What I discovered was a group of about 10 to 18 women gathered around tables in a large classroom while their school-age children drew pictures or played with wooden blocks in other parts of the room. Most of the women, ranging in age from 30 to 80 years old, were hand stitching various quilts in colorful patterns that reached out like sunrays.”


Hear entire show here…


And in the second part of the show we talk with playwright Steve Lyons about his play The Ghosts of Tonkin,a play about the behind-closed-doors drama in Washington DC that led to the Vietnam War, and Oregon Senator Wayne Morse’s battle to stop the war before it began. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that authorized LBJ to use military intervention in Vietnam. The Ghosts of Tonkin runs on Sept. 27th at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall. and in Eugene on Sept. 28th.Ghosts_of_Tonkin_web_site

More info about THE GHOSTS OF TONKIN: Written by Steve Lyons;  Directed by Mark KuntzIn association with the Wayne Morse Legacy Series, Bellingham TheatreWorks presents the powerful, behind-closed-doors story of how seemingly well-intentioned public officials brought about one of the most devastating chapters in the history of the United States: The Vietnam War.  Post-play discussion panel including former members of Wayne Morse’s staff as well as Vietnam Veterans.

Saturday Sept 27 at 7:30pm Screen_Shot_2014-08-29_at_8.30.14_AM
Lincoln Performance Hall
Portland State University
1620 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
$20 including service charge
Portland State Univ. Box Office

Sunday Sept 28 at 7:30pm Ghosts_McNamara_small
Wildish Theater
360 Main Street
Springfield, OR
$17 including service charge
Wildish Theater Box Office

About the Playwright:
Steve Lyons, the producing director of Bellingham TheatreWorks, lived in California his entire life until 2011 when he moved to Bellingham from Berkeley. He puts his degree in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley to good use by writing plays and being a homemaker to wife Bree and son Riley. His plays have won multiple awards and have been produced in Edinburgh, London, New York City, Philadelphia, Boulder, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Bellingham and elsewhere. In 1998, Steve founded Playwrights Café, a theatre writing group, in Berkeley California that is still going strong.  Most recently he was instrumental in developing AACT NewPlayFest, one of the largest new works

You can hear Stage & Studio on: