CS 2016 Character List

Story Synopsis

Set during the late 1970s-80s, our story follows the lives of Loan and Long as Amerasians or con lai in Vietnam. The play takes place during a time of anti-American sentiment and focuses on Vietnamese society that reflected that mindset. After the Vietnam War, many relationships between American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers created a generation of Amerasians or as many called them, bui doi or “the dust of life.” The con lai, if not abandoned by their mothers or taken to orphanages, had lives of racial discrimination, financial and social inequality, and political invisibility. As a result of the Vietnam War that is not commonly discussed, this story portrays the hardships that many con lai faced in Vietnam in their struggle to discover their self-identity.

 

Characters marked (*) are Caucasians or Amerasians

Main Characters

 

*Loan

 

Being the youngest of the siblings, Loan does not have the most positive outlook on life. She dreads her daily lifestyle of physically demanding work, and wishes to live as her older siblings do, with schooling and friends. Although she complains more often than the rest of her siblings, she still loves her mother and brother. While growing up, her low self-confidence and pessimism furthers her feelings of unbelonging to the motherland, and she strives to establish a connection with a location in which she can actually settle and thrive.

 

 

*Long

 

The second youngest child, Long’s perspective is more positive. He doesn’t complain much about the work they do, and does what he can to help his mother. However, he enjoys pestering Loan, albeit with a playful nature. He credits his strong, perseverant attitude from his father, Hodge. He always tries to make the most of his environment, social standing, and overall, life. Although he doesn’t outwardly state it, he loves his sister and mother, and will do what he can to protect them.

 

 

Supporting Characters

 

Lan

 

A widow and mother of Loan, Long, Hung, Trang. She’s a hard-working woman who strives to protect her children from resentment and discrimination. She knows clearly the trouble her children faces in society and tries her best to raise them in a safe environment.

 

 

Hung

 

The oldest of the siblings, Hung feels like he must carry the family torch, ever since the passing of his father. He has little patience for his younger mixed siblings, and does not seem as filial with his full sister. However, he is quite considerate of Lan. He misses his father and attempts consoling his mother for the loss.

 

 

Trang

 

The second oldest child, Trang has the least patience for her half siblings. She can be very critical of their innocence, pressuring that they should never complain about work, to be as hardworking as she was/is, and constantly reminding them how lucky they have it. She hardly gives the main characters enough credit due to her pessimistic attitude. However, there are moments where her cynicism proves to incite toughness and durability in her siblings, though not with the best methods.

 

 

Tho

 

A classmate of Loan’s during her first day at school, Tho supports her when she is not credited enough. Tho’s welcoming attitude allows her and Loan to quickly become close friends. Although a “typical, cartoonish nerd”, she genuinely cares about Loan and is protective of her, ensuring Loan does not befriend the wrong people.

 

 

*Hodge P. Williams

 

An African-American soldier who fathered Loan and Long. He left his family behind in Vietnam to return to America. He left behind a letter for Loan indicating how much he loves her and promises to come back for her and the family.

 

 

Co Hong

 

Loan’s teacher who shows favoritism towards other children. She neglects to recognize Loan in class due to her racial background.

 

 

Quynh  & Ha (A3S3)

 

Two bullies who seek confidence boosting and completed tasks from Loan for their purported friendship. However, they are just attempting to exploit Loan’s naivety.

 

 

Extras

 

Mother 1, 2

 

Mothers of other children at Loan and Long’s school. They criticized Loan for being able to study at the school among “normal” children.

 

 

Bully 1, 2, 3

 

Three hateful students who not only ransack Lan’s home and belongings, they verbally and physically assault Loan, all due to their mixed race.

 

 

Merchants, vendors

 

Different vendors at the market who discriminated Lan and Loan and charged them higher prices.

 

 

Customers, field workers, students

 

 

Customers walking around during market scenes, school scenes, field working scenes.

For more information, please feel free to contact our directors, Anh Nguyen and Andy Le, if you have any questions or concerns. We look forward to having you in Culture Show this year!