VIETGONE

Critics

LemonMeter

93 %

Reviews: 7

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

East West Players
presents the Los Angeles premiere of

VIETGONE

By Qui Nguyen
Directed by Jennifer Chang
Composer: Shammy Dee

October 18 – November 11, 2018

Vietgone spins a modern twist on the classic boy-meets-girl story: Quang and Tong are refugees fleeing the Vietnam War, who hook up and fall in love in a relocation camp in Arkansas. Bold, and fearless, Vietgone takes audiences on a hilariously rip-roaring ride across 1970s America with a hot soundtrack that serves up hip-hop, sass, and revolution.

Vietgone is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.
Generous support for this production is provided by the S. Mark Taper Foundation Endowment for East West Players.

Leave a comment

Reviews

Shari Barrett
"Over its remarkable 53-year history, East West Players has become the longest-running professional theater of color and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work. Their 2018-2019 season, entitled Culture Shock, explores what it means to be an immigrant in this country and an American abroad. To that end, the first play of the season, flawlessly directed by Jennifer Chang, is the Los Angeles premiere of VIETGONE. The play is written by Qui Nguyen, inspired by how his parents met and fell in love in a refugee camp, weaving in personal history with a powerful narrative about immigration, war, and forced relocation. Just as the topic of illegal immigration is in the news now, “Vietgone” addresses just how difficult it was for so many refugees at the end of the Vietnam War when so many were forced to leave their country and family members behind while fleeing for their lives with just the clothes on their backs."

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon
"In Quang's case, he was fleeing for his life, as he was a captain in the South Vietnamese forces and feared for his life were he to be caught by the victorious Viet Cong. There's a funny but telling scene in Act 2 when Quang, trying to return to Vietnam to be a father to the two young children he left behind, encounters a dope-smoking husband-and-wife hippie couple on the road. Hippie Dude tells him, quite earnestly, how sorry he is for what the U.S. did to Quang's country and how he worked so hard to end the war. But that is not Quang's perspective at all: He had earlier trained as a helicopter pilot in the U.S., and regarded the Americans as saviors from Communist murder, rape and humiliation. “Many of them died so I could be here.” If Quang is the male protagonist of the play, with Asian agency, he appears to have no clue that his diehard service in the South Vietnamese armed forces was itself in the larger service of American imperial and Cold War designs (from my Hippie Dude-sympathetic point of view, I will admit)."

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Gil Kaan
"East West Players solidly mounts the Los Angeles premiere of playwright Qui Nguyen's VIETGONE. With a sturdy cast of five talented performers, complemented greatly by the vividly vibrant projection designs of Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson; many individual moments of heart-string tugging pathos score a bulls-eye. Scenes centering around Glenn Michael Baker's prop motorcycles result in fine physical comedy bits (especially the comic fight , with ninjas, choreographed by Thomas Isao Morinaka and Aaron Aoki). Jennifer Chang ably directs her committed cast as they span locations from Vietnam to Arkansas to California, from the 1970s to the 2010s."

sweet - Gil Kaan - BroadwayWorld.com - ...read full review


Avatar
"The writing is super solid, as are Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson's sets and projection, but the production is shakily recommended because it almost works too hard to unearth the play's universal core and loopy gifts."

sweet-sour - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar
"Nguyen's writing is smart, compelling and funny. He takes pains to keep the show visually interesting and stylistically surprising, as in a sobering scene where a reunion for Tong becomes a bloody nightmare. ...this play is a very impressive achievement, and the current production at East West Players does it full justice. - RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"The all Asian American cast tells a tale about immigration that sounds and feels authentic. Most interestingly, it gives an opinion about the Vietnam War that is different than the usual."

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sighs - ...read full review


Avatar
"Nguyen's play has an epic quality; its story goes back and forth in time in non-linear fashion, and it often breaks into song at unexpected times (just like an opera.) But such is Nguyen's gift as a writer, I was always caught up in the flow of his tale and in the struggles of his conflicted characters to find a place in a strange new world. I was also much impressed with the work of its five-person cast (three of whom play multiple roles) and of its director, Jennifer Chang, who kept this speeding-train of a play from going off the rails."

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Shari Barrett
"Over its remarkable 53-year history, East West Players has become the longest-running professional theater of color and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work. Their 2018-2019 season, entitled Culture Shock, explores what it means to be an immigrant in this country and an American abroad. To that end, the first play of the season, flawlessly directed by Jennifer Chang, is the Los Angeles premiere of VIETGONE. The play is written by Qui Nguyen, inspired by how his parents met and fell in love in a refugee camp, weaving in personal history with a powerful narrative about immigration, war, and forced relocation. Just as the topic of illegal immigration is in the news now, “Vietgone” addresses just how difficult it was for so many refugees at the end of the Vietnam War when so many were forced to leave their country and family members behind while fleeing for their lives with just the clothes on their backs."

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon
"In Quang's case, he was fleeing for his life, as he was a captain in the South Vietnamese forces and feared for his life were he to be caught by the victorious Viet Cong. There's a funny but telling scene in Act 2 when Quang, trying to return to Vietnam to be a father to the two young children he left behind, encounters a dope-smoking husband-and-wife hippie couple on the road. Hippie Dude tells him, quite earnestly, how sorry he is for what the U.S. did to Quang's country and how he worked so hard to end the war. But that is not Quang's perspective at all: He had earlier trained as a helicopter pilot in the U.S., and regarded the Americans as saviors from Communist murder, rape and humiliation. “Many of them died so I could be here.” If Quang is the male protagonist of the play, with Asian agency, he appears to have no clue that his diehard service in the South Vietnamese armed forces was itself in the larger service of American imperial and Cold War designs (from my Hippie Dude-sympathetic point of view, I will admit)."

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Gil Kaan
"East West Players solidly mounts the Los Angeles premiere of playwright Qui Nguyen's VIETGONE. With a sturdy cast of five talented performers, complemented greatly by the vividly vibrant projection designs of Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson; many individual moments of heart-string tugging pathos score a bulls-eye. Scenes centering around Glenn Michael Baker's prop motorcycles result in fine physical comedy bits (especially the comic fight , with ninjas, choreographed by Thomas Isao Morinaka and Aaron Aoki). Jennifer Chang ably directs her committed cast as they span locations from Vietnam to Arkansas to California, from the 1970s to the 2010s."

sweet - Gil Kaan - BroadwayWorld.com - ...read full review


Avatar
"The writing is super solid, as are Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson's sets and projection, but the production is shakily recommended because it almost works too hard to unearth the play's universal core and loopy gifts."

sweet-sour - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar
"Nguyen's writing is smart, compelling and funny. He takes pains to keep the show visually interesting and stylistically surprising, as in a sobering scene where a reunion for Tong becomes a bloody nightmare. ...this play is a very impressive achievement, and the current production at East West Players does it full justice. - RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar
"The all Asian American cast tells a tale about immigration that sounds and feels authentic. Most interestingly, it gives an opinion about the Vietnam War that is different than the usual."

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sighs - ...read full review


Avatar
"Nguyen's play has an epic quality; its story goes back and forth in time in non-linear fashion, and it often breaks into song at unexpected times (just like an opera.) But such is Nguyen's gift as a writer, I was always caught up in the flow of his tale and in the struggles of his conflicted characters to find a place in a strange new world. I was also much impressed with the work of its five-person cast (three of whom play multiple roles) and of its director, Jennifer Chang, who kept this speeding-train of a play from going off the rails."

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review