The New Americans (tentative working title)
A new play about two generations of Vietnamese women in their fight for their own meaning of freedom. Based upon the true story of my mother, who grew up during the Vietnam War and became a freedom fighter after Saigon fell. She helped create a network of protestors, news-spreading network, and intended to create an armed resistance against the Viet Cong before she was betrayed and imprisoned for 9 years in a reeducation camp. The odds of her surviving the camps, then escaping to America on a small fishing boat, and THEN, starting over and creating a family in America should have been impossible! Yet she did it.
I’m exploring what it means to be her daughter, a first generation Vietnamese American, born and raised in a country that has given and taken so much from my family, and how do I fight to create my own narrative, my own way. With support from the Naked Angels Issues Projects Lab, I intend on having a solid first draft by August 2018.
An Open Letter to The MUNY and other theatremakers
Because we, the AAPI community are sick and tired of having to explain why you casting a white person in an Asian-specified role is not okay. Also, the apology did not feel like a real apology at all. Don’t condescendingly call us “sensitive” or overly “PC”. Sensitive and PC is our justified response to the utter lack of representation on stage, film/tv, and when there are Asian characters written, they serve as foils for white characters: to be saved, to be made fun of, to be walking props, to be sexual objects, to be nothing more than one-dimensional set decorations.
Just because you cast a couple Asian people in a show DOES NOT make you an ally or know close to ANYTHING about the anger, the disappointment, the sorrow that we feel when you constantly erase our bodies from the narrative.
You know what you are doing. You may not want to admit it, but every time you replace an Asian body (who could’ve told the story with more authenticity and perspective) with a white one, you are telling us that: we are not good enough, we are not worth listening to, everything we have fought for for visibility, for citizenship, for humanity, is NOTHING. AND it’s part of the narrative that you constantly enforce that while we may work 100 times harder, have lived here for generations, contributed so much to the American fabric, we will never belong. You tell us that our food is good for you to consume, our clothing designs are good enough for you to wear, as long as it doesn’t come with us, the living breathing beings.
Also, there are dozens of playwrights who are writing wonderful full HUMAN characters who happen to be Asian. Produce those plays. Stop reviving outdated plays for nostalgia sake. If you have trouble, I can list them for you.