Reclaiming Vietnam

Kim Chinh has mastered the art of storytelling in her new one-woman show Reclaiming Vietnam. Through her eloquent dialogue she narrates how her travels to Vietnam, in order to reclaim an identity she had rejected most of her life, awakened memories she had long ago tried to forget. Her story moves between her present day attempt to discover and find her identity in Vietnam, with flashbacks of her trying to overcome a traumatic experience in her past. 

This is a raw piece which leaves you with a mixture of emotions.

Through the account of her experiences, we see how each ordeal she has faced has not only given her courage to speak the truth and be more open about herself but has also allowed her to reclaim an identity she has lost, meaning that she now feels open and free.

One of the highlights of the performance is Kim’s vivid description of riding a motorbike through the streets of Vietnam. She has the knack of being able to transport you into the heart of this country, feeling that you are travelling on this journey with her. This causes her later revelations to become a lot more harrowing and moving as we become invested in her story. Complementing this dialogue are her movements which are simple and understated, but this subtlety is what makes this show such a treat: they keep you captivated and on the edge of your seat, entangling you in her story.

This is a raw piece which leaves you with a mixture of emotions as she freely opens herself up to the audience, exposing who she is in order to help claim her own identity. Through her mannerisms and calm collected voice, she leaves clichés behind, openly explaining who she is and how she has overcome traumatic experiences. This is a lifting piece which on the one hand helps you to understand and relate to the difficulties someone of a minority ethnic background has growing up in a white country like America – and on the other, shows how people can overcome their past and feel free for the future and its possibilities.  

Reviews by Emily Blackwell

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★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A young woman arrives in the homeland of her father. Vietnam represents a part of her identity she has rejected for most of her life, wishing to be seen as an American (like her Caucasian mother) and not Vietnamese. A spontaneous moonlight ride on a motorbike ends in a crash and old memories surface. The play alternates between her present day search for identity in Vietnam and flashbacks to her attempts to confront her personal history. Each experience strengthens her resolve to say the truth and in the process, reclaim what was lost.