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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 "Vietgone." Ko plays Tong and Levin plays Quang in "Vietgone."
Photo by Daren Scott / Courtesy of San Diego Repertory Theatre
Katherine Ko and Ben Levin are pictured in this publicity photo for "Vietgone." Ko plays Tong and Levin plays Quang in "Vietgone."
Vietgone
GUEST: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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