Miss Siagon @ The Moonlight

I had the privilege and honor of seeing the Moonlight Amphitheatre’s production of the musical Miss Saigon. The performance was sensational. The play is set in Vietnam during the Vietnam war and focuses on the tragic love story between Chris an American G.I. and Kim a Vietnamese woman. The two fall in love overnight and then are separated when Chris returns to America and Kim is left behind. Eventually Chris moves on with his life and marries another woman, but Kim bears Chris’s son and never stops hoping that her lovers will return one day. Eventually they are all reunited in Bangkok when Chris discovers that she is alive and that he has a son. The play ends tragically when Kim kills herself in order to ensure that Chris and his new wife will take her son to America where he can have a better life.

Having never seen this play before I was caught up in the suspense of what would happen next after every scene. Overall the production was well staged and casted. The voices of all the main characters, Chris, Kim, Ellen and the Engineer were breathtaking. The special effects added greatly to the performance, especially the helicopter that landed on stage during the scene where Chris has to leave both Vietnam and Kim behind. The helicopter was as realistic as a prop can be, evening having a rotating propeller on top. The production also included a video of real children that were born during the Vietnam war between American soldiers and Vietnamese woman. This video added to the authenticity of the play and emotionally drew the audience into the plight of these innocent children that were born out of the tragedy of war and abandoned.

This production was very intense and emotional. I found myself walking away analyzing the ending and each characters choices. Chris was haunted by the horrors of war and leaving Kim behind. He did not plan to leave her, he loved her intensely and was forced to leave her behind against his will. He lived not knowing whether she was alive, having horrible nightmares about her painfully dying, but chose to move on and begin life anew with Ellen. Kim on the other hand, was consumed by her love for Chris and survived on the hope that he would return one day. She choose to even give up marry another man who loved her because in her mind she was still married to Chris. At first it is hard to understand her adamant devotion to her vows, until she introduces her child into the picture and then it becomes clearer why she lived to be united with Chris. The play kept you in suspense of this detail and also of the circumstances that surrounded their separation. The scenes of the play skip over how the two became separated and does not show that scene until the end of the play. This kept me in suspense and even confused me a little in the beginning, peaking my interest to know what really happened.

Towards the end of the play it became hard to imagine how it would all end. Part of me wanted the typical fairy tale ending where Kim and Chris would be united together in love with their son, but I knew that realistically that wasn’t a plausible ending. Chris and Ellen decide that they will support Chris’s son, but leave him in Bangkok with his mom. They cannot imagine taking a child away from his mother no matter how hard she pleads for them to take her. Kim decides to take things into her own hands by sacrificing herself for her child. She wants him to have a better life in American and know that since Chris has a new wife the only way for that to happen is to give up her own life. The play ends with Kim dying in Chris’s arms while his wife Ellen, son Tam and friend John watch. At this point Chris is broken and the actor did an excellent job of portraying that brokeness.

I am so glad that I choose to attend this production and a small glimpse into the tragedy of the Vietnam war.

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September 20, 2010. Art Events.

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