New Women
       
     
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New Women
       
     
New Women

Dramatic Reading with Stage and Costumes.
2017

New Women tells the story of three women working for a contemporary women's magazine and was originally written in 1944 by seminal Vietnamese playwright Vũ Đình Long. Although the play was seen as modernizing because of its French-influenced "théâtre-parlé" style, the plot champions a patriarchal, Confucian gender structure: the main female character is preyed upon by the male publisher of the magazine and one woman is pitted against another. Ngô uses the 20th century story to reexamine how patriarchy and capitalism operate in concert, yet invisibly to exploit female-identifying bodies. In her dramatic reading, Hương Ngô adapted the play by omitting all of the male voices. This process leaves behind blank spaces and long pauses, opening the text to a contemporary reinterpretation.

The original play was inspired by the actual magazine Phụ nữ Tân văn, which was published out of Saigon from 1929 – 1935 and covered a wide range of topics including home-making, child rearing, relationships with the family, and politics. Political content that was censored in mainstream magazines often went unremarked in Phụ nữ Tân văn, such as the results of a mock election, published while Vietnam was still under French colonial rule. While it is difficult to trace actual characters from Đàn bà mới to Phụ nữ Tân văn, one can see parallels in conflicting ideologies of Marxism, French feminism, and Confucianism in the magazine’s content and eventual fate.

Performance at Para Site, Hong Kong. Directors: David Borgonjon and Hera Chan. La Chiquitta as Tố Lan, Claudia Jim as Minh Nguyệt, Jes Fan as Song Quang, Hera Chan as Stagehand. Documentation by Kwon Lok Man.

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Video of New Women at Para Site, Hong Kong

Performance at Para Site, Hong Kong. Directors: David Borgonjon and Hera Chan. La Chiquitta as Tố Lan, Claudia Jim as Minh Nguyệt, Jes Fan as Song Quang, Hera Chan as Stagehand. Documentation by Kwon Lok Man.

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