The irreverent new comedy and recent off-Broadway hit Vietgone will begin performances at TheatreSquared on March 14. Set in 1975 after the fall of Saigon, this New York Times Critics’ Pick is a stranger-than-fiction true love story between two refugees: he’s lost his wife; she’s lost her fiancé — and now, they just might find each other on the other side of the world. Qui Nguyen, now a playwright and screenwriter for Marvel, deploys hip-hop, fight sequences, and up-to-the-minute pop culture references to tell his own origin story as his parents first encounter one another in the repurposed barracks of a relocation camp in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. The production will be directed by T2 artist-in-residence Kholoud Sawaf. Performances are scheduled Wednesdays through Sundays, March 14-April 8, at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios in Fayetteville.
“With echoes of Hamilton, ‘70s biker road flicks, ’80s rom-coms — and a few ninjas thrown in — Vietgone is a joyous, impetuous mash-up that simply can’t be missed,” said Ford. “It’s rendered with a gorgeous, ripped-from-the-comic books production design. And how thrilling is it, after acclaimed debuts on both coasts, to bring it back home to Arkansas, just miles from where it actually happened?”
Qui Nguyen — an Arkansas native from El Dorado, whose writing has garnered him an Obie Award, and Emmy Award, and a job writing for Marvel Studios — gleefully hijacks and subverts cultural stereotypes while blending genres in his work. Vietgone tells a story that its playwright never witnessed growing up, in which his parents are cool, strong, sexy — and are also displaced immigrants. Unafraid of anachronisms, Nguyen’s characters rap and banter more like modern American teenagers than refugees from another era, showcasing the strength of the characters’ journeys as they veer from hilarity to heart-wrenching drama. The play is at once an irreverent romantic comedy and a moving account of one family’s unlikely, inspiring origin story in the Natural State.
Vietgone plays March 14 to April 8 at TheatreSquared, in residence at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios at 505 West Spring Street in Fayetteville. The play contains mature language and content and is recommended for ages 14 and older, with parental guidance.
The cast of Vietgone includes Cory Censoprano, Rebecca Hirota, Edward Hong, David Huynh and Jolene Kim. The creative team includes scenic designer Chika Shimizu, lighting designer Emily Clarkson, projection designer Joey Moro, costume designer Ruby Kemph, sound designer Michael Prieto, choreographer Casey Robinson, fight choreographer Scott Russell, properties master Brodie Jasch and production stage manager Shannon Jones.
Performances are scheduled March 14 to April 8, Wednesdays through Sundays, at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios.
- Wednesday – Friday: 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 2 p.m.; 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday: 2 p.m.
Tickets range from $17-$48 and are available at (479) 443-5600 or online. Through T2’s Lights Up! For Access program, supported by the Walmart Foundation, SNAP benefit recipients can purchase $5 tickets and patrons under the age of 30 can purchase $10 tickets. For more information, visit theatre2.org/lights-up.