Writers compose plays about Vietnamese identities across borders

August 10, 2022 - 08:00

HÀ NỘI — Four second-generation Vietnamese writers from the Czech Republic, Germany, France and the US, have written short plays on what Việt Nam means to them.  

The performances are part of a project about Vietnamese identities across borders entitled Mein Vietnam (My Việt Nam). The project is co-organised by the Goethe Institute Vietnam and the literary online magazine Zzz Review. Each play, lasting around five minutes, draws upon personal experiences and issues of cultural identity.

The writers include Nhung Đặng from Prague, Eric Nguyễn from Washington DC, Line Papin from France, and Khuê Phạm from Berlin.

Nhung Đặng from Prague, Czech Republic. — Photo courtesy of Nhung Đặng

Born in 1988, Nhung Đặng is a performer, artist and director trained at the Theatre Faculty of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and Rose Bruford College in London. Her most significant projects question matters of identity, such as a documentary multimedia piece Oizoioi (So, Where Are You Really From?), and the interdisciplinary show Homeland.

Eric Nguyễn from Washington DC. — Photo courtesy of Eric Nguyễn

The same age as Nhung Đặng, Eric Nguyễn earned an MFA in Creative Writing from McNeese State University in Louisiana. He is the editor in chief of diaCRITICS.org. He has published a debut novel Things We Lost to the Water.

Line Papin. — Photo courtesy of the author

Born in 1995 in Hà Nội, Line Papin moved to France at the age of 10. She studied cinema and art history at the Sorbonne and at the film school La Fémis. Her first book was published in 2016.

Khuê Phạm from Berlin, Germany. — Photo courtesy of Khuê Phạm

Khuê Phạm, born in 1982 in Berlin, studied communication science and sociology in London. She worked as a journalist for various media outlets in English-speaking countries.

Since 2010 she has been working for the well-known German weekly magazine Die Zeit. Her debut novel Wo auch immer ihr seid (Wherever You Are) made her the most important voice of the Vietnamese diaspora in Germany. The book will soon be pubilshed in English by the Scribe Publications – an independent publishing house in Melbourne, Australia.

Alongside four writers from abroad, five young authors from the North and the South of Việt Nam also joined the project.

Five young authors from the North and the South of Việt Nam also joined the project 'My Việt Nam'. Photo courtesy of the Goethe Institute Vietnam

Chukim (Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, born in 1988) – a writer of short stories and poetry, has composed the short play Thế Mà Cũng Là Nhà Thơ (How, for Heaven’s Sake, Can You Call Yourself a Poet?).

Filmmaker-writer Đỗ Văn Hoàng (born in 1987) has written Coca, Rau Muống, Tỏi (Coke, Water Spinach, Garlic), while Lê Khải Việt (born in 1983) completed Nhà Hàng Việt Nam (The Vietnamese Restaurant).

Other plays are Mộng Tam Sinh (The Dream of Three Lives) by writer-filmmaker Maik Cây (Nguyễn Phương Anh, born in 1988), and Căn Phòng (The Room) by Vũ Ánh Dương (born in 1985), a screenwriter, film critic and lecturer in Communication and Film Studies.

All nine plays will be performed in the language of the respective writers in a non-theatre-space that will be audiovisual-recorded. Each recording will be subtitled in English, Vietnamese and German and presented on a project-landing page of the Goethe Institute.

However, while the four productions from Germany, France, Czech, and the US are financially secure, the project presently requests financial support for the film production of the five Vietnamese plays. To support the project, please visit www.crowdify.net/en/project/my-vietnam.  VNS