Dominic Golding’s autobiographical play “Shrimp” toured regional Victoria in 2007 as part of the VCE Drama Studies list. Most of the responses he said were good, especially from the students from minority backgrounds. However there was an incident when Dom had to confront a student’s verbal racism during the performance, and some of the teachers were stunned- having not read the briefing about what the play was about. We have published two excerpts of “Shrimp” to see what the fuss was about.

Shrimp, by Dominic Golding
Shrimp, by Dominic Golding

DOM: The NVA are approaching,

As the South Vietnamese government flee,

Amid chaos.

People are crying at the gates of the embassy,


Helicopters fly in, fly out, in, out.

Money burns.


Burning CIA Papers.

The airport is being bombed,

Orders are orders.

From President Ford to PM Fraser.

The babies in boxes as big as a shoe box.

Many boxes,

Lined up on the hot tarmac.

Nurses and doctors scrabble to attend lost


The RAAF is anxious.

crying toddlers,

and sick babies in boxes,

are taken on board.

For the freedom flight to the “World”- Australia.

The impeding doom

Of massacres,

Of bloodshed,

Of horrors.

Are fuelling rumours,




My cargo plane lifts off to Bangkok.

The last US chopper lifts off.

Tanks move in,

NVA have arrived,

Sai Gonese are stunned,

It’s over.

ALL: A domino has toppled.

Excerpt from Shrimp by Dominic Golding.

There were two versions of the play, the first contained more political references with a corrupt cop and an Australian politician mouthing off about migrants. Dom feels that the second version in 2007 had less anger about his adoption in it. Dom is now working on a play based in a hostel dealing with men’s issues, homophobia, drug use and mental illness; and doing some children’s work for Footscray Community Arts Centre involving the retelling of five Vietnamese myths.

There was a rectangle shape UFO silently drifting through the clouds, no flashing lights, circling overhead.

There I realised something, the question is not what others see of me but who I want to be. I’ll never find my real parents, like a UFO, Unidentified Family Origins.

In Saigon I found only ghosts of the past.

My parents are now retirees, in a nice three bedroom house in the ‘burbs. I can’t blame them or anyone for my loss. My parents love me and I love them. I can’t help think that life is love in war. Life is fragile and crazy.

I fly out.

I don’t want to go.

It started in 75 it ends in the heart.

The war will never be over for me it eats me like a leech

On the flight back to the world.

I dreamt of

Vegemite toast…

Excerpt from Shrimp, by Dominic Golding

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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