Portland, Oregon (June 28, 2012) — Threads, the true story of an Indiana farm girl in Vietnam, will make its Midwest premiere in August at the 2012 Minnesota Fringe Festival. All performances at U of M Rarig Center Arena, detailed schedule below.
Written and performed by Tonya Jone Miller, the one-woman show recently played to standing ovations and rave reviews at the Orlando International Fringe Festival.
In August of 1968, a farm girl from rural Indiana stepped off a plane in Saigon, Vietnam. The people and events that led her there, and her subsequent adventures, make for an extraordinary tale that proves the truth can be stranger than fiction.
Many people have told the history of the Vietnam War: servicemen and women on both sides, government and diplomatic workers, journalists, Vietnamese civilians. Donna Miller was none of these things. She chose to go to Vietnam, alone, at the height of the conflict. She went to teach English at the Buddhist University in Saigon, but she ended up doing so much more.
From being held at gunpoint on her very first night in-country, to adopting an entire family of Vietnamese orphans, Donna’s unique perspective and experiences form a theatrical narrative that is both universal and intensely personal. Hers is not a war story; it’s a life story.
Based on a series of interviews with the playwright’s mother, Threads celebrates the humor, hope and love that get us through tragedy. Matt Palm of the Orlando Sentinel says the show “quietly and effectively builds to a truly emotional conclusion,” while Michael Freeman of Freeline Media raves it’s “captivating for the entire hour, in no small part to Tonya’s spellbinding performance.”
“I toured the Canadian fringe festival circuit with the ensemble show ‘Inviting Desire: A Theatrical Aphrodisiac’ in 2009,” says Tonya. “We did Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton, and as a traveling performer in a strange city, all you can really afford to do in your downtime is go see other fringe shows. I saw 50+ wildly different shows over the course of that summer, and it completely changed my concept of what theatre is and can be.”
Tonya returned home inspired by her CAFF tour and began interviewing her mother, Donna, about Donna’s time in Vietnam during the war: “I had no idea what I was doing. I’d helped write Inviting Desire as part of an ensemble, but I’d never written a solo show by myself. It started out as ‘Mom has some neat stories. Let’s get them recorded before her memory worsens, and if it doesn’t make a show at least I’ll have some family history for posterity.’ I’d only ever heard two or three anecdotal tales of hers before.”
“Once she started telling me how she got to Vietnam, I realized it was as much of the story as her actual time there. This play is not about the war, though of course the war figures prominently; in that era, you could not escape it. But my mother’s story, like the story of this play coming to fruition, is about how random people and events nudge each of us along our path in life. At the time, perhaps you don’t realize it’s happening, but looking back you can see the beauty of how everything came together to bring us to this moment.”
Threads is a haunting reminder of how connected we are, how we never know the influence a seemingly small action might have, and how in the span of an instant, some people change our lives forever.
Threads Performances at the Minnesota Fringe Festival: 1:00 p.m., Sunday, August 5; 8:30 p.m., Monday, August 6; 10:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 8; 7:00 p.m., Thursday, August 9; 10:00 p.m., Saturday, August 11 at U of M Rarig Center Arena, 330 21st Avenue S, Second Floor. Tickets $12 (Must have Minnesota Fringe Festival button to attend Fringe Festival shows.)
For additional information or promotional photographs, please contact Tonya Jone Miller or visit http://ThreadsThePlay.com.