A Vietnamese restaurant stands at the centre of overlapping times and places. It stands in both Saigon and Paris. It is 1956, when the French occupying forces must leave following the capitulation in the Indochina war, and at the same time it is also 1996, when the lifting of the US trade embargo saw many Vietnamese exiles go back to their homeland. In an impressive Cinemascope set design, this restaurant becomes the centre point for forgetting and remembering, as everything takes place live before our eyes: cooking, karaoke, grieving, arguments and weddings.
The backdrop for this poetic theatre evening is French colonial history in former ‘French-Indochina’ (known today as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam). Caroline Guiela Nguyen, rising star of the French theatre scene, has spent more than two years conducting research with eleven actresses and amateurs. Their stories are about forgotten heritage, the repressed pain of exile or remembered trauma of integration into French society, through to the elimination of their own language and culture. SAIGON interweaves these stories and encounters into a melodramatic story told by many voices.
Since its premiere in 2017, SAIGON has been a highlight of festivals across the world. Shortly before it comes to Thalia, it will be performed at the Theatre Olympics in St. Petersburg.
A production by Les Hommes Approximatifs / executing production of La Comédie de Valence CDN Drôme-Ardèche
“With its smooth, headstrong charm the production was greeted by rapturous applause at the Festival d’Avignon” - Le Monde
26th & 27th October 2019, Thalia Theater