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Quan Chau ('21): Theatre

Understanding intergenerational trauma through playwriting

Student Bio

My name is Quan Chau (‘21), and I am a Theatre and Biology major at William & Mary. Though I am an aspiring professional actor and singer at heart, in the past year I have taken up an interest in playwriting.

Quan Chau headshot

As a Freeman Fellow with the Asian-Pacific Islander American department, I was originally set to work at the Masakini Theatre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia over the summer, but this fell through. Instead of working there, for the past year I have been working with Professor Francis Tanglao-Aguas on developing a play that would allow me to tell my own story, as well as help myself and others understand the effects of intergenerational trauma as a result of refugee trauma.

I took a UCLA Extension course in Adobe After Effects in order to learn the skills needed to produce my work as a filmed play. I also was able to work with Sabera Shaik, owner of the Masakini Theatre, acting and rehearsing under her as my director.

Through this process, I’ve learned many skills in playwriting, filming, editing, and acting in a one-man show. Here I have provided a cut of the full filmed version of my play titled “The Specter." I hope that this show can educate others on the effects that the refugee experience can have on mental health, even across generations, and can let others who have tried to carry the burden of their families know that they are not alone.


Student Work

Quan performs his full-length, original one-man show "The Specter: A First-Generation Play" in the 35-minute video below.  Quan wrote, filmed, edited, and acted in this short film. You can download a full screenplay in PDF format by clicking here. Please note that the video below (and associated screenplay) contains strong language that some may find unsuitable for younger viewers/readers.

{{youtube:large:center|E_yNs612Wf8, Quan Chau '21: "The Specter: A First-Generation Play"; Trigger Warning: Suicide/Mention of Sexual Assault}}