On April 5th, at South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa, California, OHIO MFA playwriting alum Qui Nguyen — a pioneer of “geek theatre” — will open his new play Poor Yella Rednecks. The play is a sequel to his highly lauded Vietgone, and commissioned by SCR and Manhattan Theatre Club.
Poor Yella Rednecks is the sequel to Nguyen’s Vietgone, which premiered at South Coast Rep in 2015. Rednecks begins previews Saturday and opens a week later. The plays, co-commissioned by SCR and Manhattan Theatre Club, follow the love story of Nguyen’s mother and father, Tong and Quang, who met in the Fort Chaffee refugee camp in Arkansas after they escaped Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. Poor Yella Rednecks, which Nguyen lovingly nicknamed Vietgone 2, zeroes in on the challenges the couple face as blue-collar immigrants, recently married and starting a family. (L.A. Times, March 28, 2019)
Qui writes for TV and film, in addition to continuing to be one of the most sought after playwrights in the country:
“I started in TV, then I went to Marvel, and then I went back to TV for a while and did AMC and Netflix, and now I’m back in film for Disney,” he says. “I feel like I’m late to the game, so I’m hungry to succeed.” (L.A. Times, March 28, 2019)
Writing for likes of Marvel and Disney hasn’t slowed his pace as a playwright: major theaters such as Center Theatre Group in L.A., Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Atlantic Theater Company and Playwrights Horizons in New York continue to commission him.
For more about Qui’s climb to national recognition:
- New York Times profile of Qui in 2016
- NBC News on Vietgone in 2017
- L.A. Times review of Vietgone at South Coast Rep in 2015
And more about his latest play, Poor Yella Rednecks, opening next week:
What is “Geek Theatre”?