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Vietnamese Student Association Hosts Cultural Night

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UCI’s Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) hosted its 42nd Annual Vietnamese Culture Night (VCN) at the Rose Center Theater with a performance on May 7. The two co-directors, Hieu Tran, a computer science alumnus, and Daniel Le, a second-year undeclared student, based the performance on their lives and those of their family members. 

The two performances focused on a main story called “For Each Other – Vì Nhau Cho Nhau.” Act 1 detailed a story of love and determination as a Vietnamese couple moves to America in pursuit of a better life for their two children. Act 2 told the story from the perspective of the couple’s children, Sơn and Mai, as they navigate their own struggles while also trying to understand their parents’ sacrifices.

“Each story encompasses a theme each of us wanted to tell … stories that my own dad would tell me about,” Tran said.  

In the director’s message, Le expressed the direction for the story he wanted to tell.

“We frequently find ourselves navigating our complex relationships with our families, trying to make sense of their choices and expectations for us — all out of love. This story is inspired by my own relationship with my older sister, my ‘chi hai,’ who has done much for me throughout my life,” Le said.

Jolynna Dang played Xuan, the wife and mother, who strived to hold the family together during their journey to America. She spoke with the New University about the goals of the cultural night.

“Our team’s goal was to tell a story that showcased various aspects of Vietnamese culture so that our generation would be able to have a bigger understanding with the older generation,” Dang said.

The night also featured cultural dances, including the lion dance based on the mythical creature, “Kỳ Lân.” The dance mimics a lion’s movements in hopes of bringing good luck.  

As the curtain went down, the audience applauded and cheered. In an interview following the performance, Le said he was very happy with how the show turned out.

“I have a great love for last year’s VCN and how it fostered friendships and community. As director, I wanted to emulate that atmosphere and hopefully I was able to do so with the crew members involved with this year’s VCN,” Le said. “I am also very glad to hear that it was received well by our audience members and we were able to have many of them relate to our story.”

Information for the next VCN can be found on Instagram at @ucivcn.

Noor Abuaita is a Campus News Intern for the spring 2023 quarter. She can be reached at nabuaita@uci.edu.