SADEC 1965: A LOVE STORY Announced At The Toronto Fringe Festival

This powerful storytelling piece is best described as Cheryl Strayed's Wild but on a motorcycle on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

By: Jun. 15, 2023
SADEC 1965: A LOVE STORY Announced At The Toronto Fringe Festival
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SADEC 1965: A LOVE STORY Announced At The Toronto Fringe Festival

SADEC 1965: A LOVE STORY, a solo show written and performed by DC-based storyteller Flora Le, is part of the 2023 Toronto Fringe Festival. This powerful storytelling piece is best described as Cheryl Strayed's Wild but on a motorcycle on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

In 2013, Flora rode a motorcycle across Vietnam for six weeks, solo, in an attempt to make sense of her difficult relationship with her estranged Vietnamese father. Flora was on a quest to understand why her father, who left Vietnam with a scholarship to study in Canada in the mid-1960s, never spoke about Vietnam. Since the answers she was looking for would never come from him, Flora decided to go on a road trip across the country, riding a total of 3500 km in six weeks, from the Chinese border in the North to the village of Sadec, her father's hometown in the Mekong Delta, to reclaim the story of her origins and make sense of the difficult man that her father was.

Flora has been wanting to tell this story on a stage ever since she completed her motorcycle journey in 2014. But one piece was missing: her father's old love letters. After her father passed away, Flora found the love correspondence he exchanged with his high school sweetheart, a woman named Hien, whom he left behind in Vietnam during the war. This woman turned out to be an important piece of the mystery her father was, and reading their correspondence promised to provide many answers.

There was one problem: Flora couldn't read Vietnamese, since her father never spoke his language with her growing up. It took her five years and a team of thirteen Vietnamese to translate the voluminous correspondence the couple exchanged between 1965 and 1971. Flora was able to complete this translation project during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is an poignant excerpts from those love letters she shares in the show:

Letter dated May 15, 1968

My love, today is our anniversary. If it were not for the Viet Cong making chaos in Saigon, I would have received your letter by now. I don't believe you didn't write to me. The road to Saigon is difficult to travel so mail delivery is interrupted. The situation hasn't died down here since the Tet offensive. We hear gunshots and bomb shells day and night, and it's the same everywhere so there's nowhere to escape. One can only live for today and accept what will come tomorrow.

Flora Le is a storyteller based in Washington DC. She is a lawyer by day, though she has always had the soul of an artist. Flora discovered storytelling in 2017 while attending a Snap Judgment show in Washington, DC and she felt at home instantly. The combination of writing and public speaking was exactly the medium she wanted for self-expression. In March 2019, Flora was selected to perform at Story District's Tuesday Show in Washington DC, a popular storytelling show attended by 400 people. The performance of her #metoo story, an emotional and vulnerable experience, received a standing ovation, a rare occurrence at such shows.

Sadec 1965 is Flora's first full-length solo storytelling show. One theme is common to Flora's work: the transformation of pain into beauty. Flora uses her own painful life experiences to create beautiful stories of resilience, forgiveness, personal transcendence, and love. She is currently touring ten cities in the US (New York, San Diego) and Canada (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary, Nanaimo, Victoria and Kelowna) with her show.

Sadec 1965: A Love Story, a part of the 2023 Toronto Fringe Festival

Sadec 1965: A Love Story, written and performed by Flora Le

Tarragon Theatre, Mainspace, 30 Bridgman Ave, Toronto

WHEN:

  • July 5 @ 8:45 pm

  • July 7 @ 6:30 pm

  • July 10 @ 5:00 pm

  • July 11 @ 2:15 pm (relaxed performance)

  • July 13 @ 10:00 pm

  • July 14 @ 4:15 pm

  • July 15 @ 10:00 pm

TICKETS: $13, available at the door or online.

For more information about this show, visit www.sadec1965.com.

For more information about this show and the festival in general, visit www.fringetoronto.com.




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