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Vietgone’ Tells Story Of Playwright’s Parents Falling In Love At A Refugee Camp

Katherine Ko and Ben Levin are pictured in this publicity photo for

Credit: Photo by Daren Scott / Courtesy of San Diego Repertory Theatre

Above: Katherine Ko and Ben Levin are pictured in this publicity photo for "Vietgone." Ko plays Tong and Levin plays Quang in "Vietgone."


Qui Nguyen, playwright, "Vietgone"

In "Vietgone," playwright Qui Nguyen tells the story of how his parents fled Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War and fell in love at a refugee camp in Arkansas.

"For me it's really important to just remind folks that refugees just aren't numbers or a political pawn piece being moved around to win votes or lose votes or what have you. That they're people. People who have lost a country, people who are just trying to have a life and fall in love and have a family and have the same struggles as anyone on this planet," Nguyen said.

Pop culture plays a large role in "Vietgone." Nguyen said it's inclusion is a reflection of who he is as an artist and his reaction to being a teen in the 1980s and only seeing films that referenced Vietnam in a way that felt "foreign or dry" to him.

"When I sat down to write 'Vietgone' there was a part of me that just wanted to do something that was fun ... because it's a love story. It's not a story about the tragedies of war — it's about how you survive one," Nguyen said.

"Vietgone" opens at the San Diego Repertory Theatre's Lyceum Space on Thursday, Jan. 25. It runs through Feb. 18.

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