Quang (James Seol, front) and friend Nhan (Stephen Hu, back) embark on a motorcycle trip from Arkansas to California in Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone at American Conservatory Theater’s Strand Theater. Below: Two hippies (Cindy Im, left, and Jomar Tagatac) smoke a joint. Photos by Kevin Berne
I reviewed Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone, an American Conservatory Theater production at The Strand Theatre, for Theatermania.com. Here’s an excerpt:
From the start, Nguyen attempts to defy expectations when he has an actor pretending to be him (Jomar Tagatac) tell the audience what they’re about to see. Even though the play begins with the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War and has a great deal to do with that conflict, he says this is a play about love, not war. Specifically, it’s a love story about two people who resemble his parents but are definitely not his parents. He also describes how characters will be speaking. The Vietnamese characters will not speak with the kind of Asian accents we’re too used to hearing on stage or screen. Rather, these characters will speak in a hip, urban lingo more akin to today than 1975 when most of the play’s action takes place. The American characters will speak in explosions of stereotypical nonsense involving words like “NASCAR,” “Botox,” “freckles,” and, of course, “cheeseburger.” This introduction builds an excitement that slowly dwindles throughout Act 1.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone continues through April 22 at ACT’s Strand Theater, 1127 Market St., San Francisco. Tickets are $25-$90 (subject to change). Call 415-749-2228 or visit www.act-sf.org.