SADEC 1965: A LOVE STORY at the Montreal Fringe Festival
SADEC 1965: A LOVE STORY, a solo show written and performed by DC-based storyteller Flora Le, is part of the 2023 Montreal Fringe Festival. This powerful storytelling piece is best described as “Motorcycle Diaries” meets “Eat, Pray, Love” set in Vietnam.
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 2100 miles 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 bombshells 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.
“Flora’s story is powerful and exhilarating, and she is so honest and vulnerable throughout that you can’t help but be totally swept away.”Diana B.
“A breathtaking, heartbreaking, awe-inspiring, deeply thoughtful piece of art. I cannot get this story out of my head.”Dani H.
“The visual and gestural echoes between childhood and young adulthood in Canada and her motorcycle journey across Vietnam are masterful, bringing worlds with decades and oceans between them side-by-side. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s poetic.”Nicolas S.
Don’t miss her show Montreal! See the information below.
WHAT: Sadec 1965: A Love Story, written and performed by Flora Le
WHERE: O Patro Vys, 356 Mont-Royal Ave E, Montreal
● June 9 @ 5:00 pm
● June 11 @ 7:00 pm
● June 12 @ 7:15 pm
● June 14 @ 9:45 pm
● June 16 @ 4:00 pm
● June 17 @ 10:45 pm
SHOW TRAILER: Here
TICKETS: $15, available at the door or online.
For more information about this show, visit www.sadec1965.com.