Phở - Play

Phở is Viet Nam in a bowl. Pronounced “fer’ (say ‘fur’ with a soft ‘r’). Phở, traditionally, is the beef broth soup with rice noodle, brewed in star anise and burnt onion, with bones and tendons and tripe, sprinkled with green onion and basil on top - a wonderous Vietnamese invention. PHO-PLAY is designed as a performance-event involving the preparation and serving of Phở during the show with commentary by a leading pho chef, such as Angie Hong, interspersed around a series of personal, poetic and comedic narratives by performers interspersed with audience in a dining setting.

The first stage of Phở - Play was initiated by Cuong Phu Le of the Casula Powerhouse, to follow the highly controversial “I love Pho” exhibition. The Australia Council supported a writing development process with two Vietnamese writers from Melbourne (Chi Vu, David Cuong Nguyen), a performance poet/artist from Sydney (Le Van Tai), multimedia artist/composer/musician from Hanoi (Vu Nhat Tan), and a filmmaker from Sydney (Binh Truong). The process was facilitated by Vietnamese writer/performer Binh Ta and directed by Australian Performance Exchange Artistic Director, Sally Sussman. The workshop concluded with a showing for invited audience at the Casula Powerhouse theatre. Eleanor Clapham and Tek Kim-Pok  performed a selection of material generated by the artists, including the filming of well known Vitenamese chef,  Angie Hong preparing the stock, followed by the serving of a bowl of Phở to each member of the audience.

The piece requires a further dramaturgical process to shape the material for performance in a restaurant or a cabaret set-up. Following APE’s first foray into food and performance in a restaurant setting, Season to Taste, APE is in discussion with partners to present Phở - Play, as a sumptuous feast of phở and philosophy, playful stories and master-chef.

Project details
In development, proposed for 2013.

Sally Sussman: Director
Ta Duy Binh: Dramaturge
Chi Vu: Writer
David Cuong Nguyen: Writer
Le Van Tai: Poet and visual artist
Binh Truong: Filmmaker
Vu Nhat Tan: Musician and Multimedia artist