Dong Xuan Center

In the newly created center of Berlin’s Northern Vietnamese community, Lili, a 14-year-old Vietnamese middle school student, and her sister Nathalie struggle to repair their relationship after the death of their late mother. When Lili befriends her German former bully – who has a dark secret of his own – the sisters' relationship to their adopted country and to each other will be pushed to the brink.
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Dong Xuan Center

Recommended by

  • Nick Malakhow:
    25 Jun. 2019
    What a beautiful piece! Lili is a compelling protagonist, and her journey is unique and nuanced. What I admire most about this play is how subtle the shading is for every character. The natural rhythms of speech are captured beautifully, along with thoughtful and at times lyrical monologues that don't feel forced but, rather, feel like genuine moments of revelation for the characters speaking them. Like the best plays, the specificity and richness of these characters from a world so different from my own only heightens the universality of the themes. Citizenship, belonging, betweenness/cultural liminality--so much to think about!

Character Information

  • Lili
    14,
    Vietnamese-German
    ,
    Female
    Shy but an extrovert, inquisitive but defensive, open to new ideas, good at being on her own.
  • Nathalie
    27,
    Vietnamese-German
    ,
    Female
    Lili’s older sister and legal guardian, current owner of her late mother’s restaurant. Protective, practical, family-oriented, funny.
  • Max
    14,
    White
    ,
    Male
    Independent, impressionable, confident he knows what he’s talking about – even a bit past the point at which he doesn’t.
  • Sinh
    20s,
    Vietnamese-German
    ,
    Male
    A German tutor living in Spandau. Kind-hearted, excitable, but hates confrontation. A German university graduate, you won’t find a more vocal supporter of the former West Germany.
  • Mrs. Dao
    70s,
    Vietnamese
    ,
    Female
    She can haggle, make a sale, babysit like a pro, and could probably beat you up.
  • Tuan
    40s,
    Vietnamese
    ,
    Male
    Formerly a fighter for Vietnam’s National Liberation Front (aka Viet Cong), now a broke barber. Taciturn, intimidating, but now harmless.
  • Joseph
    50s,
    White
    ,
    Male
    Desperate, resentful, barely functioning alcoholic, looking for somebody to blame.

Awards