“Sadec 1965: A Love Story,” a solo show written and performed by Flora Le, is part of the main lineup for the 2022 Atlanta Fringe Festival. This powerful 60-minute solo storytelling piece is best described as “Motorcycle Diaries.” “Eat, Pray, Love” meeting taking place in Vietnam. The show will be performed at the neighborhood church May 19-22, with tickets available at the door or online at www.atlantafringe.org.
In late 2013, Flora rode a motorbike through Vietnam for six weeks, solo, in an effort to make sense of her difficult relationship with her estranged Vietnamese father. Flora was trying to understand why her father, who left Vietnam on a scholarship to study in Canada in the mid-1960s, never talked about Vietnam. As an adult, Flora knew nothing of her father’s life in Vietnam. Since the answers she was looking for would never come from him, Flora decided to take a road trip across the country, covering a total of 2,100 miles in six weeks, from the Chinese border in the north to the Mekong Delta in the south, reclaim the story of his origins and give meaning to the difficult man that his father was.
Flora has wanted to tell this story on stage since she finished her motorcycle journey in 2014. But one piece was missing: her father’s old love letters. After her father’s death, Flora found the love correspondence he had exchanged with his high school sweetheart, a woman named Hien, whom he had left behind in Vietnam during the war. This woman turned out to be an important piece of the puzzle, and reading their correspondence promised to yield many answers.
There was a problem: Flora couldn’t read Vietnamese, because her father never spoke the language during her childhood. It took her five years and a team of thirteen Vietnamese to translate the voluminous correspondence exchanged by the couple between 1965 and 1971. Flora was able to carry out this translation project during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a poignant excerpt from those love letters she shares on the show:
Letter of May 15, 1968
My love, today is our anniversary. If it hadn’t been for the Viet Cong chaos in Saigon, I would have received your letter by now. I don’t believe you haven’t written to me. The road to Saigon is difficult to navigate so mail delivery is interrupted. The situation has not calmed 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. We can only live today and accept what will come tomorrow.
Flora Le is a storyteller based in Washington DC. She is a lawyer by day, although she has always had the soul of an artist. Flora discovered storytelling in 2017 while attending a Snap Judgment show in Washington, D.C. and felt immediately at home. The combination of writing and public speaking was exactly the medium she wanted to express herself. In March 2019, Flora was selected to perform at the Story District’s Tuesday Show in Washington D.C., a popular storytelling show attended by 400 people. The performance of her #metoo story, a moving and vulnerable experience, received a standing ovation, a rare occurrence on such shows.
a??Sadec 1965 is Flora’s first 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.
“I am thrilled to perform Sadec 1965 in person for the first time in Atlanta! This raw and vulnerable story is not for the faint of heart, but audiences are sure to be captivated.”
Sadec 1965: A Love Story, part of the annual 2022 Atlanta Fringe festival
Written and performed by Flora Le
Location: The neighborhood church
May 19 at 9:30 p.m.
May 20 at 11:00 p.m.
May 21 at 6:30 p.m.
May 22 at 2:00 p.m.
For more information on this show, please visit www.sadec1965.com.