A soaring, mostly true story told by Qui Nguyen, Poor Yella Rednecks at A.C.T.’s Strand Theatre is the celebrated sequel to Nguyen’s hit, Vietgone. The playwright enters the stage and introduces himself as the narrator of his parents’ complex and turbulent love story, following their departure from Vietnam. Actor Jomar Tagatac tackles the portrayal of the playwright with finesse and style. The man is smooth.
In an interview with the playwright’s mother that opens the show, she demands a few things in exchange for her narrative. At the top of her list is a desire to talk like Qui, who is infamous for his linguistic ability to weave philosophical truths into streams of expletives. Or as the script declares, he has an infamous potty mouth. What emerges is delightful language play. The mother’s second request is that the white Americans, played by the Asian actors in the cast, speak in disjointed rejoinders the way that they would be heard by someone who doesn’t speak English. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese immigrants have a strong grasp not just on English but its wide potential of human expression, curse words and all.