They are young, educated, successful, their parents want the world at their feet. Second-generation Vietnamese, however, want to live their own way. At the same time, the differences between them and the Czechs still persist, even though the two communities are getting closer with each passing generation. And it is precisely the authentic stories of three young Vietnamese that the Archa theater in Prague is inviting in a new production called Everyone Has Two Wolves Inside. The production offers an insight into the lives of young people, whom we may meet on the tram or at the cash register in a convenience store, while having no idea that they are students of international relations or economics. The premiere is scheduled for February 27.
During the performance, the Ark’s small hall is transformed into an art studio, with protagonists Thang Ngo Xuan, Lili Phung and Thu Phuong Tran modeling clay and telling stories. Their work is recorded in detail by a web camera and creates emotional landscapes on the canvas that influence the dialogues of the performers. In addition, the audience enters an unconventionally arranged theater hall defined by a moving projection screen, sound equipment, several mobile lights and a television screen.
“The production Everyone Has Two Wolves was created during the year-long collaboration of the author, Hana Kokšalová’s project, with representatives of the second generation of Vietnamese living in the Czech Republic, who call themselves the Banana Children. All three performers did not know each other before, nor did they have any experience in theater production. During the preparation of the production, they went through a series of documentary theater workshops led by theater professionals,” explains Jana Svobodová, dramaturg of the show
According to her, on the stage – studio, the performers ask themselves questions focused on the inner contradictions of a person, the formation of their own identity, ways of expressing defiance and gratitude towards the older generation. The production touches on general themes, such as the desire to be accepted by society or the importance of a sense of home. And why does the production bear the title Everyone Has Two Wolves in Them? “This comes from ancient legends of the Indians, who compare the soul to a fight between two wolves. One is driven to fight by anger, sadness, hatred and self-pity. The other fights for love, hope, modesty and trust. The answer to the question of which of them will win the battle is: The one you feed the most,” explains Archa theater director Ondřej Hrab, adding that the legend is also told in Vietnam.