I love Qui. You like Qui. Here's 1,200 words about the guy, which I wrote for the Observer back in spring.
The dragon is called the Tiamat, and in last fall’s production of Qui Nguyen’s She Kills Monsters, this firebreather closed the show. As the terrified heroine cowered in a spotlight, smoke filled the Flea Theater’s narrow stage. When the lights rose, there was the monster: a colossal five-headed puppet whose handlers were neatly concealed behind the fog. As a practical effect, the Tiamat was convincing enough to make one swear off CGI forever. As theatrical spectacle, it was a highlight of 2011.
Mr. Nguyen, whose name is pronounced “kwee gwen,” could have used any “random red dragon” in Monsters, but chose the Tiamat by polling his fans on Facebook. “I know what my audience likes,” he said last week over lunch at a Ninth Avenue diner. “And that’s part of how I work as an artist. I’m very crowd-sourcey.”
Knowing his fans, and giving them what they want, has secured a place in the Off-Broadway cosmos for Mr. Nguyen and his company, Vampire Cowboys. His plays are fast, funny, packed with combat, dance and genre play, and distinguished from other slick, tongue-in-cheek entertainment by their utter lack of irony. On Tuesday night his newest work, The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G, opened off Broadway in a coproduction with the Ma-Yi Theatre. Although it features all the Vampire Cowboy hallmarks—“ninjas, kung-fu, girl fights,” as Mr. Nguyen put it—it is the most personal work they have ever produced. Without forgoing the swordplay, the Vampire Cowboys are growing up.
There's more! Much more!