On the Couch with Vivian Nguyen

Vivian-Nguyen-photo-by-Bonn-CreativeWho is Vivian Nguyen?
A theatre geek who so happens to write plays and perform in the so-called artform of theatre. Her process involves a lot of walking, a lot of coffee, a lot of waiting and perhaps… A lot of chocolate. If theatre was a person, she reckons she would break her own cardinal rule of no marriage to wed theatre. She shall not be a runaway bride with theatre!

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Sleep more and schedule more breaks.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m continuously inspired by my colleagues and art makers who make such honest and brave work. But I always seem to go back to these artists: Ai Weiwei, Wong Kar-wai and Yayoi Kusama. They’re fundamental to my core reason of making art as they remind me to do these three things: Take risks, imagine big and stay weird.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Have more deep and complex conversations. I’ve been speaking to people about this, the art of conversation is lost in translation because we’re all navigating a digital landscape. Two people stand and talk… The discourse of disagreement… Thoughts, nuance… Slowly disappearing. It’s words on a digital screen, words without voice or emotion in an echo chamber. Consequential things can arise from that. I inherently believe our art reflects the state of our conversation, and I’d love to have more of that. I reckon the world would benefit from that too.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
New York. The concrete jungle has a continuous hardening and softness in its everyday life. It has so much optimism despite its adversity. It’s one of the places I found a real sense of belonging in. Plus, the bagels are delicious. The theatre is brave. I imagine myself as Frances Ha.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
That’s so difficult! I love Melbourne. Definitely a huge extravaganza. Breakfast in Richmond, Top Paddock maybe? Head to some second-hand stores like Goodbyes or Global Vintage Collective. Then frolic to High Street in Armadale for some high-end shopping, then head to Brunswick to Napier Quarter for a cheeky mid-afternoon snack (Anchovies on toast…) and wine. Go to Carlton, catch a film at Nova and have dinner at Capitano (Vodka Pasta and Tiramisu is a must) before heading into the city to City Wine Bar to drink a bottle of red. If we were staying in a hotel, definitely Adelphi! (If it’s regional Victoria, man, that’s a different story)

What are you currently reading?
I’ve been reading Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn for research for a moment to love. It’s a collection of essays and interviews about the subject of love through people like Alain de Botton, Esther Perel and Roxane Gay who are incredibly articulate and engaging. I cried. I love Love.

What are you currently listening to?
I’ve found myself relistening to Michael Kiwanuka’s album Love & Hate. It’s such a sensorially touching and realised piece of work, but, for an upbeat change I’m listening to Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance. It’s sexy, hot and simply a powerful reclaiming of self. I’m currently curating a playlist for the show, so expect some bangers people!

Happiness is?
A state of mind. It begins with yourself.

What does the future hold for you?
A limitless experience with a full stop at the end.

Vivian is the playwright and performer of a moment to love – which will be presented at The Motley Bauhaus as part of the 2022 Melbourne Fringe: 3 – 9 October. For more information, visit: www.melbournefringe.com.au for details.

Image: Vivian Nguyen – photo by Bonn Creative