Dong Xuan Center

In the newly created center of Berlin’s Northern Vietnamese community, Lili – a nine-year-old Vietnamese aspiring train conductor – hungers to find her German identity on Berlin’s vast subway system, much to the dismay of her protective older sister and acting guardian Nathalie. When Lili secretly befriends a young German boy with a dark family secret and Nathalie begins German lessons with a proud Southern...
In the newly created center of Berlin’s Northern Vietnamese community, Lili – a nine-year-old Vietnamese aspiring train conductor – hungers to find her German identity on Berlin’s vast subway system, much to the dismay of her protective older sister and acting guardian Nathalie. When Lili secretly befriends a young German boy with a dark family secret and Nathalie begins German lessons with a proud Southern Vietnamese-German man, the sisters’ relationships to their adopted country and to each other will be pushed to their breaking points.
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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
    12-14,
    Vietnamese-German
    ,
    Female
    Passionate, reactionary, lonely, desperate for an identity to put on paper.
  • Nathalie
    27,
    Vietnamese-German
    ,
    Female
    Protective, stubborn, cynical, loving, trying desperately to be a mother and a sister to a sister.
  • Max
    12-14,
    White
    ,
    Male
    A "fringe" cool kid, but just as lonely as Lili. Inquisitive, opinionated, innocent to a dangerous fault.
  • Sinh
    20s,
    Vietnamese-German
    ,
    Male
    Excitable, personable, but don't assume he trusts you. Southern Vietnamese, raised in West Berlin – an outsider at the Dong Xuan Center.
  • Mrs. Dao
    70s,
    Vietnamese
    ,
    Female
    Business-minded, defensive, warm to her own and hostile to those who've wronged her.
  • Tuan
    40s,
    Vietnamese
    ,
    Male
    A former Việt Cộng soldier, he's a man of few words. But if you cross him, he won't need them.
  • The Landlord
    60s,
    Vietnamese-German
    ,
    Male
    The liaison between the Dong Xuan Center and the Germans. He takes this role tremendously seriously.
  • Joseph
    50s,
    White
    ,
    Male
    Desperate, resentful, barely functioning alcoholic, looking for somebody to blame.
  • Bratwurst Vendor
    50s,
    White
    A proud Prussian and happy to share a slice of Prussia with you.

Awards