Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Viet Thanh Nguyen hosts a conversation about Southeast Asian Theatre for DVAN’s ACCENTED: Dialogues in Diaspora program.

The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) presents ACCENTED: Dialogues in Diaspora, a virtual series of programs that will feature a variety of writers, poets, artists, actors, filmmakers, scholars, and other cultural producers from the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora.

Hosted by Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer. This event is in partnership with the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, who is hosting a virtual screening of Susan Lieu’s “140 LBS: HOW BEAUTY KILLED MY MOTHER” the next day.

This installation of ACCENTED will be Friday, November 13th at 7:00 pm PST / 10:00 pm EST, hosted by Pulitzer-prize winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, and will feature actor Marc dela Cruz, playwright Qui Nguyen, journalist/editor/critic Diep Tran, and playwright/producer/performer Susan Lieu. Amidst the current political theatre of the 2020 US Elections, the conversation will center the hopes and struggles of Asian American performers and writers, the roles they have (or don’t have), the guests’ bodies of work, and journeys in the performing arts, and the narrative production of the Southeast Asian diaspora.

About the Guests:

Marc dela Cruz got his start in theater in Seattle with the Northwest Asian American Theatre, ReAct and the series Sex in Seattle, while a student at the University of Washington. After finishing his degree in International Studies with a minor in Japanese he continued training and performing around the Seattle area with Village Theatre and the 5th Avenue Theatre. In 2006 he moved to New York and began auditioning for everything he was remotely right for. Credits since then have included the national tour of Disney’s High School Musical, the world premiere of Where Elephants Weep in Cambodia, his Broadway debut in the original cast of If/Then and subsequent national tour and his current post in the Broadway cast of Hamilton where he is in the ensemble and understudies Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Laurens/Philip and King George. Off Broadway he appeared in Keen Company’s revival of Ordinary Days and Transport Group’s Three Days to See. Regional highlights include Quang in Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone at Studio Theatre in D.C., Dan in Next to Normal with Tantrum Theatre and the world premiere of Allegiance at the Old Globe. He currently lives in Harlem with his cat, Eddie.

Qui Nguyen is a Co-Founder of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company of New York City, the “pioneers of geek theatre.” His best-known plays include Vietgone, Poor Yella Rednecks, She Kills Monsters, Revenge Song, Alice in Slasherland, and Living Dead in Denmark. For TV, he most recently wrote on AMC’s Dispatches from Elsewhere and Netflix’s The Society. His upcoming film, Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, co-written with Adele Lim, premieres this March 12, 2021. He’s also a recipient of a 2016 Daytime Emmy Award for his writing on PBS’s Peg+Cat.

Diep Tran is a journalist and editor based in NYC. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, NBC Asian America, Hello Giggles, Playbill, Time Out New York, Backstage, CNN, Salon, and other publications. Her day jobs include being features editor of and senior editor of American Theatre magazine. She is a judge for the 2020 Obie Awards and is a 2020 Drama Desk Award voter. During quarantine, she co-founded a media company called Token Theatre Friends (you can subscribe to their podcast) and helped launch, where she’s the managing editor.

Susan Lieu is a Vietnamese-American activist, playwright, and performer who tells stories that refuse to be forgotten. With a vision for individual and community healing—made possible through the interplay of comedy and drama—her work delves deeply into the lived realities of body insecurity, grieving, and trauma. Her first theatrical solo show, “140 LBS: HOW BEAUTY KILLED MY MOTHER” is the true story of how her mother died from plastic surgery malpractice when Lieu was 11 years old and her search to find her mother’s killer. Susan self-produced a nearly sold-out 10-city National Tour with press from L.A. Times, NPR, The Washington Post (The Lily), NBC News, American Theatre, and The Seattle Times. Lieu has performed her show and its sequel 51 times to 6000 people in the past year. Her work has been showcased with The Wing Luke Museum, The Moth at Benaroya Hall, On The Boards, and Bumbershoot. Susan has a BA from Harvard, an MBA from Yale, and is the co-founder of Socola Chocolatier, an artisanal chocolate company in San Francisco.

About the Host:

Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of The Sympathizer, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, The Refugees, and Race and Resistance: Literature, Politics and Asian America. His most recent book was Chicken of the Sea, done with his son Ellison. His next book is The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer.

About the Moderator:

Philip Nguyen is the producer of ACCENTED: Dialogues in Diaspora presented by the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN). He teaches Asian American Studies in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University and is the Community Organizing Manager for the Vietnamese American Roundtable, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in San Jose, California. Philip serves as the President of the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA) and as the Co-Chair of the Young Vietnamese Americans (YVA) Committee for PIVOT – The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization.

About the Oakland Asian Cultural Center:

The Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) has thrived as the only pan-Asian community arts organization in the East Bay that builds stronger and more vibrant communities for over 20 years. In the heart of Oakland’s Chinatown district, OACC provides affordable, unique, and easily accessible multi-ethnic and multidisciplinary art and cultural programs. OACC strengthens relations by fostering inter-generational and cross-cultural dialogue and understanding, community collaboration, and social impact through these three pillars of programming: (1) Cultural Identity, Festivals, and Special Events; (2) Performing and Visual Arts; (3) Social Justice and Community.

About the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network:

DVAN is partnering with Eastwind Books
of Berkeley for all book sales and shipping, and books from featured authors will be available on for a discounted price.All funds raised for ACCENTED will go towards supporting DVAN’s mission to promote voices and stories of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora and connect them to diasporic communities all over the globe.

This program is sponsored by the DVAN@SFSU Project of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.For more information about the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) please visit our website at or follow us on Instagram (@weare_dvan)

DVAN believes that the stories, imaginaries, and poetics of a thriving Vietnamese diaspora can unite our global community. Our mission is to celebrate and foster diasporic Vietnamese voices. DVAN presents nonfiction, fiction, and poetry to empower Vietnamese artists in the diaspora and to promote understanding and dialogue within our community, and with others. Our complex and diverse stories must be championed and passed on to current and future generations. We are refugees, immigrants, survivors, and descendants, and our stories must be heard. See Less

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