Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Viet Nguyen performed all the parts in this Fringe show that a story about a family's hardships and suffering. He hobbled onto the stage as an old man who sat silently watching a sunset. At the Fringe preview, he had performed a heart warming story about how he met an incredible girl while singing at a Vietnamese karaoke bar. Being American, he couldn't keep up with the lyrics. The girl however filled him with confidence. Afterwards he imagined how wonderful it might be to be a tree standing eternal vigil beside her home.
That heart warming scene was still part of the production, but it was a faint glimmer of hope among a cast of hardships. There were rapes at sea, arguments in a jail cell and a childhood game with a water pistol. Viet played so many characters, both men and women, young and old, that I lost track of who was who. With so many experiences spliced together, I wasn't sure who I should care about. Viet's performance was amazing but Reincarnation Soup as a whole unfortunately left me cold and indifferent. The play ended with the old man returning to watch the sun set. I wasn't sure if it was his experiences that I had just witnessed.