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Announcing PAPER OFFERINGS, A Mail-Based Theatre Performance in English and Vietnamese

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Interested households can register until November 30.

Announcing PAPER OFFERINGS, A Mail-Based Theatre Performance in English and Vietnamese

For December 2020, Brave Little Company will produce a new original bilingual piece, Paper Offerings. Told in English and Vietnamese, this theatre piece for family audiences uses a combination of written storytelling through "snail mail" and virtual online performance.

Paper Offerings is funded in part by a MidtownHOU Arts Micro Grant. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish, but space is limited. Interested households can register until November 30 via www.brave-little.com.

Paper Offerings begins when a girl named Amy finds a series of notes and items left around her house--even though no one has visited during lockdown. Starting December 1, audience members will receive these letters and packets by mail, helping Amy unfold the mystery around her family. Together, you will discover the story of two siblings and their journey from Vietnam to Houston. It is up to Amy and the audience to uncover what really happened, who is leaving the clues, and how the family can be reunited. All is revealed in the finale, a performance livestreamed on social media. This festive, beautiful, family-oriented piece draws on Vietnamese and Asian folklore, immigrant experiences, Houston history, and food traditions to create a story that all audiences can enjoy, using all of their senses!

The title Paper Offerings is inspired by the Vietnamese Buddhist tradition (with variations in many Asian cultures) of making offerings to the memory of one's ancestors. Paper offerings may be money, clothing, or even luxury items. The title also refers to the COVID-conscious medium of the piece - letters and postcards received by audience members, a format which expands the definition of theatre.

Fulfilling its mission to reflect Houston's diversity, Brave Little Company has regularly produced bilingual works since its first production in 2013. This is the company's first production in English and Vietnamese, exploring and celebrating the history of Vietnamese people and Vietnamese Americans in Houston.

During the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese were forced to flee for their lives following the fall of Saigon to North Vietnamese forces in 1975. With the help of local charities, many families resettled in Texas' Eastern Gulf Coast region, where the warm climate and access to the Gulf presented opportunities for those experienced in fishing and shrimping.

Since then, Houston's thriving Vietnamese American community has grown into the largest in the United States outside of California. Houston's Midtown was an early destination for refugees. A micro-economy flourished there, with all types of businesses from restaurants to hairstylists to lawyers catering to Vietnamese American clientele. The area became known as Vietnamtown or Little Saigon (though this name is now more commonly associated with Houston's "International District" near Bellaire Boulevard and Texas State Highway Beltway 8).

Until 2017, Houston remained a major destination for refugee resettlement for people from all over the world. The city is celebrated as the most diverse major metropolitan area in the United States.


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