Nearly 400 people crowded into Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall on Saturday to learn more about Vietnamese culture and watch a play detailing the hardships of the Vietnam War.
The UCSB Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) held its annual culture show, titled “Between the Lines,” in hopes of promoting Vietnamese culture and raising money for donation to the International Justice Mission, a human rights advocacy organization. The organization received nearly $500 in donations at the show.
Christie Trieu, a junior Asian American studies major and president of VSA, said the goal of the show and of the organization itself was to promote understanding of the Vietnamese culture.
“Because the Vietnamese population is so small on the campus, we want to outreach to the community and its members as much as we can,” Triea said.
Cat Vu, a junior business economics major and vice president of VSA, said that the event was made possible by a combination of fund raising by the organization members, money provided by local business sponsors, the A.S. Finance Board and private donations. She said the annual show was especially successful this year because admission to the event was free for the first time, which contributed to a higher turnout than usual.
“Usually we get about a hundred people to come to the show, but due to the free admission this year we had a turnout of several hundred people, which helped make it especially successful,” Vu said.
The show consisted of various performances interspersed between scenes of a play written and performed by members of the VSA. Set during the Vietnam War, the play follows a South Vietnamese newspaper reporter assigned to cover his nation’s army.
The play was periodically interrupted by dance segments and skits performed by the VSA, including a performance of the Lion Dance, traditionally staged at the Vietnamese New Year; a presentation of costumes; and a fashion show showcasing different traditional dress styles for men and women.
Prerecorded video segments were also shown at various points during the show. One of these, taken from a “Dateline” news special, highlighted the problems of kidnapping and child prostitution in Asia.
The majority of the show was presented in English, but introductory speeches by members of the VSA were translated into Vietnamese. Both the Vietnamese and American national anthems were sung at the beginning of the show.
Trieu said that she believes the event was an overall success.
“This is the first time we’ve taken donations, and all the money goes directly to charity … the only profit we make comes from things like food and T-shirt sales. I’ve never seen any of our charity events do this well,” she said. “We’ve had several large donations from different people, which has helped us out tremendously.”