Friday, August 4, 2023

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2023: "Reincarnation Soup"


Show: 1


By: Viet Nguyen

Created by: Viet Nguyen

Location: Southern Theater

Summary: A series of stories about Vietnam, Vietnamese, and the complicated relationship between America and Vietnam.

Highlights: This one defies description, so I'll let the artist do it: "A mythic tale of soup, Saigon, & recycled souls. Journey through the Vietnamese heart in this multi-character memory play." Hailing from Florida, Viet Nguyen has performed this show at Fringe festivals around the continent, and it shows. It's beautifully constructed, with gorgeous lighting design playing on the historic brick arch of the Southern Theater, and sound design including music and sounds of buses and busy streets. Dressed in a beautiful red traditional Vietnamese garment, Viet completely transforms into these various characters, from an aging prostitute (who may or may not be Miss Saigon decades later) to a Vietnamese-American visiting the home country for the first time. A connecting thread is a soup line in the afterlife, or between lives, waiting for the reincarnation assignment. I'm not quite sure how or if the various stories connect, but each one is spellbinding. Together they create a beautiful portrait of, yes, the Vietnamese heart. A great start to my Fringe.