ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Geva Theatre is presenting “Vietgone” on the Main Stage in Rochester with performances through October 24.
Actor Kurt Uy, who plays Quang in “Vietgone” discussed the unique aspects of the play and a return to the stage Monday during News 8 at Noon.
“There are two parts of it,” Uy said. “It is a little bit like riding a bike in terms of when you get into the room and you’re rehearsing. Most of us haven’t done this for almost two years now, a year and a half I guess. So getting back into the room, exploring text, working with others is a little bit like riding a bike but I think being in the pandemic, being sheltered – or sheltering in place I suppose – you get used to not interacting with people socially or being in large crowds, or that idea. So being in front of an audience again I think is an entirely different animal. In the very first scene of the play part of what I’m doing is we’re directly addressing the audience. We’re talking about the fact that it’s a play and we’re telling a story and one of the things that I get to do is look right at the audience. I remember our first preview – our first performance while the play is still being crafted with the audience in mind, we’re getting some feedback from the audience – I just took it all in and I have to say it was a really emotional experience for me and surprisingly so.”
Uy explained how “Vietgone” is based in part on the real-life experience of playwright Qui Nguyen. “This play actually covers the way in which his parents met. His parents fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon and they met at a refugee camp in Arkansas. This play centers on the Vietnamese experience, the refugee experience, but not in your typical fashion. It’s a romance. It’s part ROM-COM. It’s part of an adventure. It’s about two people trying to make a new life in a completely new place. It has music. There’s rap. There’s comedy. There’s just a lot of joy. It doesn’t center the idea of trauma as much as it does the idea of resilience.”
“Vietgone” also features Asian-American actors in the leading roles. Adding to the significance, Uy noted, is that they are presented not as ingenues but as characters with a fully-lived experience.
Get your tickets for “Vietgone” online at gevatheatre.org.