Miss Saigon vs Wilfred’s Can

Thom Sesma The Engineer

Thom Sesma
The Engineer

Diana Huey Kim

Diana Huey
Kim

Gannon O'Brien Chris

Gannon O’Brien
Chris

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“Created by the acclaimed writers of Les Misérables, this modern, rock-infused adaptation of Puccini’s 1904 opera Madame Butterfly explores the ongoing impact of love, loss and the collision of cultures during the Vietnam War…Vietnamese Kim and American G.I. Chris fall in love during the tumultuous fall of Saigon. Three years after their dramatic separation, newly-married Chris discovers Kim survived the war. The star-crossed lovers attempt to reunite in a race across Bangkok in this tragic romance about the shattering devastation of war and the ultimate sacrifice…Signature brings the electrifying score to life with a 15-piece orchestra and 18-actor company in this new environmental production, performing hit songs including ”The Heat is On in Saigon,’ I Still Believe,’ ‘Why, God, Why?,’ ‘Last Night of the World’ and ‘The American Dream.'” http://www.signature-theatre.org/shows/miss-saigon#cast-member_0

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of experiencing the Miss Saigon production at Signature Theater in Arlington, VA. The acting, music, dancing, and story were exceptional, and the theme of Amerasian orphans is permanently filed in my brain. The music made me think of the songs I wrote in Vietnam in 1967, which are on my Skytroopers CD, and the tale reminded me of  the love story in my satire Cologne No. 10 For Men. My charactersCan, a prostitute, and Wilfred, a lieutenantalso fall in love. But they differ from Kim and Chris. Can is hot-tempered and thinks her lover is dinky-dau (because of a vast cultural disconnect). She despises the slaughter of Vietnamese by Wilfred’s unit (“Wi’fed no kill Vietnamese!”), and she is tricked into spying for the Viet Cong. However, when the Viet Cong attack Wilfred’s unit, she sees the evil of both sides. Thinking that Wilfred is dead, she withdraws to her mama in despair. Wilfred retrieves hereven though she thinks he’s a ghostand after some twists and turns as he tries to take over the war, he joins her in a happy ending. This is not a tragedy!

I love both stories, but mine the best.

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