THREE LIVES is a one-man “performance theater” show that tells the autobiographical tale of Luu’s harrowing escape from war-torn Saigon as an ethnic Chinese/Vietnamese refugee in 1975. What follow is a tumultuous journey that is at once hilarious & heartbreaking, as seen through the eyes of four distinct characters — Grandpa Luu, Pops Luu, Alex himself, and a younger cousin named Albert. All four characters experience the Vietnam War, its aftermath, and the ultimate search for belonging and home in a new country (America).
Spanning an epic four generations/decades (mid-70’s through late 90’s/early 2000’s), THREE LIVES presents a multi-layered portrait of these men’s lives and experiences as they intertwine and collide (painfully and comically), creating a rich and powerful mosaic that reflects the ravages of war and its cycle of violence, both on the battle field & at home. It is through the prism of these characters’ eyes that we see the specificity of dislocation of home & spirit, racism and assimilation in a new land, the chasm that inevitably forms between the immigrant and American-born experience of so many Asians in America, and the beauty of family and humanity.
On an even deeper level, THREE LIVES offers up a rare glimpse of what is usually not seen when America goes to war – the faces of the other, whether it be the “enemy” or the refugee; in this case, that of countless Chinese/Vietnamese experiences/voices that even up until now are rarely seen and heard; experiences and voices that are for the most part misunderstood, misrepresented, and/or forgotten. THREE LIVES is also as much about the tearing down of stereotypes—especially of Asian males in particular—as it is about identity politics, ageism, and the rejuvenating promise & sober de-construction of the American Dream/Nightmare.
Stylistically, THREE LIVES blends kinetic physical movement, performance art, monologue, and iconic images/sounds of the Vietnam War into a visceral, roller-coaster ride full of hilarious over-the-top humor and heartrending pathos & poignancy.
Finally, THREE LIVES challenges the audience to re-think, re-evaluate, and embrace the humanity in all of us.