If you like what you read here, please consider making a donation to DVAN via Intersection for the Arts.
A single woman supplied with a folding chair and multiple voices was able to render an entire audience paralyzed with grief. By the end of the show, it seemed clear that while this began as a tale seeking revenge, it was actually a tale of a daughter seeking to understand, connect, and honor her mother by any means necessary, even if it meant ripping apart scars by uncovering her and her family’s unaddressed trauma.
There is a lot of conversation around inherited trauma. They are so very real. We’ve lived with them and through them. But I wanted to also cradle our inherited strength in our other hands, holding them side by side as a reminder that we are given this very strength that will walk us through the trauma.
Through my parents’ repeated retellings of their stories, with the same tones, rhythms, inflections, and unreconcilable non-endings, I realized that beyond being a ubiquitous source for survival, water, or nước, was also personally symbolic for my parents.
I came up with the title Hoài (in Vietnamese meaning both ongoing and memory) to encapsulate the feeling experienced by queer refugee descendant—realities fractured with memories, multiple identifications, and an unsettling home that is rooted in refugee displacement.
From one witch to another, I sat across from her and asked the question that has haunted me my entire life. The question that made me travel almost 3,000 miles to Brendon’s hometown, to elbow my way through the tourists, to float on my back on the clearest waters you really ever did see and wonder if what Lan Vo told me would ever come to fruition.
The Missing Piece Project calls for a collective intervention at the Wall by Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and other refugee community members still affected today by the legacy of American militarism and imperialism in Southeast Asia. This project envisions a nationwide, coordinated, mass dedication of items at the Wall by refugee community members on the upcoming April 30 anniversary in 2020.