Vietgone, a new play by Qui Nguyen—now at Manhattan Theatre Club through December 4—takes place in the 1970s during the Vietnam War and tells the story of Vietnamese refugees who find themselves in relocation camps in the US. The play was commissioned and first produced by South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA, in the fall of 2015, and has been seen at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (March 30-October 29, 2016) and Manhattan Theatre Club where it opened in October 2016. The show has received good reviews everywhere to date and continues to be produced
All three productions were directed by May Adrales, with original music and sound design by Shane Rettig. The designers for South Coast and MTC included Tim Mackabee, scenic design, Anthony Tran, costume design, Justin Townsend, lighting design (who joined the production in New York), , and Jared Mezzocchi, projection design. The designers for the OSF production were Sara Ryung Clement, sets and costumes designer, Seth Reiser, lighting designer, and Shawn Duan, video designer. That production is transferring to Seattle Rep, where it runs December 2, 2016 through January 1, 2017.
The LA Times noted about the South Coast Rep production: “The production's shifting mood (from sex farce to violent flashbacks to musical jamboree) is reflected in Jared Mezzocchi's pop-art-tinged projections, which are displayed on two billboards arrayed on Timothy R. Mackabee's cockeyed set. Everything is loosely sketched, including the junky motorbike that Quang rides to California, where he hopes to catch a flight to Guam and then a boat to Vietnam to rescue the family he was forced to leave behind.”
In Oregon, the Mail Tribune referred to... "Shane Rettig’s spine-rattling sound and Shawn Duan’s videos combining in sometimes jaw-dropping effects such as a panicked helicopter flight."
While The Hollywood Reporter commented about the MTC version: "Tim Mackabee's set design, which includes a forced-perspective depiction of a desert highway dominated by billboard signs displaying Jared Mezzocchi's colorful projections, dazzles."
And Variety comments: “A sun-baked environment of endless empty landscapes (nicely suggested by Justin Townsend’s stark lighting and Jared Mezzocchi’s projections) greet the refugees when they find themselves assigned to bunk beds in Army tents.”
Check out the video clip to see the designs on stage at MTC: