“Silence” is a play about three generations of Vietnamese women haunted by the spectre of one man. Their silences hold the secrets they hold from each other and the wider community. Based on true stories from Vietnamese women the play will be performed by Australian Vietnamese Youth Media in 2008 in Melbourne.


BA- grandmother
MA- mother, her daughter
DAO- grand daughter about 18


Hungry ghosts are spirits of the dead that have not gone to nirvana because no one is praying for them, or they have died in violent ways and their issues are not yet resolved.
(extract from Act 1)

DAO:    Mum, did Dad have a mistress in Vietnam?

MA:    You should eat more. Your legs are like chopsticks.

DAO:    Mum I want to know the truth. Auntie Chi told me lots of things. Did he have an affair or not?

MA gets irritated.

MA:     Im. Not in front of Ba.

DAO:     I’ve already asked her. She said he was very popular back in Vietnam.

MA:    Young lady be quiet! You should not be bothering Ba with these questions!

DAO falls for silent for a moment, and eats some dinner.

DAO:    Auntie Chi is getting a divorce. Her husband was seeing another woman.

MA slams down her bowl on the table and walks out of the kitchen.

DAO looks after her stunned. Then she turns to Ba.

DAO:    It’s true isn’t it. Dad did have a mistress. Bastard. That’s not the only thing he’s done.

BA:    My rashes are so hot and itchy.

DAO:    Ba do you remember how he treated me when I was little?

BA:    My son was a good boy.

DAO frowns at the change of subject.

DAO:    Ba do you know if he touched…any of my cousins?

BA:    What do you mean Dao?

MA comes back to the table. DAO looks at her and starts eating again.

MA:     Tomorrow is your father’s death anniversary. I need your help to cook tomorrow morning.

DAO takes in a breath.

DAO:     Mum, I’ve got other plans. I’m going out tonight with Stacey and I’m going to stay at her house…

MA:    I need you here.

DAO:    Ba can help….

MA:    I need you Dao. It’s your duty.

HUNGRY GHOSTS: Do your duty. Keep the family honour.

Hoa Pham

Author: Hoa Pham

Hoa Pham is the founder of Peril. She is the author of seven books and a play. Her novella The Other Shore won the Vive La Novella Priize, and her book Wave is being adapted to film. For more information please visit

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