VSU’s 17th Annual Show

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Christina Ho and Claudia Ly

VSU’s 17th annual show, The Diamond in Everyone (Vien Kim Cuong Trong Moi Nguoi) took the stage in the EVHS theatre on Saturday, February 1st, 2020. The performers entertained the audience through a series of dances in between a centralized skit. The theatre was packed, which helped with the club’s philanthropic goal: donating proceeds to the ACWP (Aid to Children Without Parents) to help orphans in Southeast Asia. 

This year’s show drew inspiration from the sentiments of post-war immigrants from Vietnam who sought success in America. Phuong (Lynna Ngo) is a young girl who is raised solely for marriage but dreams of becoming an author. Her brother, Thien (Brian Ngo), who went to school in America himself, urges Phuong to do the same, even if it is against the wishes of their parents. Despite her mother’s (Kaley Le) and father’s (Nathan Dang) initial disapproval, her parents allow Phuong to travel to the United States on the condition that she become successful, or come home and be wed off.

Taking her first step in the new world, she is immediately met with racism from a cashier, who mocks her and kicks her out of the store for not being able to speak English. Making her way to the boarding school, Phuong is met with more aggression by a school administrator who doesn’t understand her broken English. Luckily, she is saved by Lanh (Jaden Nguyen) who introduces her as a relative and new transfer student.

Phuong does not experience the same hospitality from her other classmates and is terrorized by Jenny (Emily Le) and her circle of friends. Phuong, being fresh off the boat, struggles in her classes and gets made fun of for it. Lanh takes notice of this and offers to tutor her after school at his house. She takes up his offer and starts to study with him. With each “study date”, the two share more about each other’s lives, and soon they begin to grow closer. 

One day, Phuong receives a surprise phone call from her brother checking up on her. Her parents suddenly cut into the call to inform Phuong that they have arranged a marriage for her since they were sure she had failed in America. Phuong is taken aback and angrily hangs up, determined to pass her exams and prove her parents wrong. But even with all the tutoring from Lanh, Phuong still struggles greatly in school, which only prompts Jenny to continue her vicious attacks. “I just HATE the way you talk, the way you dress, the way you act. Everything about you is so different, so disgusting,” she screams at Phuong. Her bad marks also catch the attention of her teacher, who constantly scolds her after every test or assignment. 

Following intermission, the show took a small break from the play with a fashion show hosted by Quynline Lam. Participants repped beautiful ao dai, trendy hypebeast attire, as well as all the costumes from each dance. There was also a mini showcase that featured other clubs, including, Kababayan, Cougar Esports, Red Cross, and ACWP.

Phuong, worn out from all the abuse, secretly flies back to Vietnam and accepts her fate as nothing more than a housewife. Upon returning home, she is met with many I-told-you-so’s from her mother and father, as they quickly prepare her for her upcoming wedding. Phuong reverts back to her submissive attitude, blindly following everything her parents tell her to do.  Thien tries to convince her to go back to America to live her dreams but Phuong stays grounded in her decision. “THAT’S my miserable destiny, Thiên!” she argues. Unbeknownst to her, Lanh travels to Vietnam and finds his way to Phuong’s house to try to convince her to come back with him and finish her studies. Phuong is hesitant at first but ultimately agrees, knowing that with the support of Lanh and Thien she can do anything. Her mother and father seeing the heartfelt moment finally give in and lend their full support to Phuong and her ambitions. Years later, long after completing boarding school and college, Phuong finally became the world-renowned author she had always dreamed of being.