Colony Offers Great West Coast Premiere

By: Jun. 07, 2011

Year Zero
by Michael Golamco
directed by David Rose
Colony Theatre
through July 3

Rare indeed is the immigrant play with magnetic universal appeal. Year Zero is such a play. In Micahel Golamco's view of Cambodian Americans searching for identity in America we see the struggle not only through the eyes of a Cambodian American teenager Vuthy (David Huynh), but also via the older generation. Although his mother is deceased, she becomes the fifth character in the play. From all that is said about this strong woman, we come to know just how much she endured with ferocity, tenacity and grace. Now at the Colony this West Coast premiere Year Zero is evocative and thought provoking in its humor packed exposition with electric direction and a remarkable cast.

Vuthy's appeal stems from his similarity to most teenagers irregardless of race. He is motherless, mostly independent due to his sister's absence (Christine Corpuz), and totally vulnerable to the abuse he gets from Simoan students and the world at large. Could be any normal teen in the same situation! Vuthy desperately needs a father figure, and Han (Tim Chiou), the young man next door, serves as big brother to him when he is released from prison. Han's negative habits, however, threaten Vuthy's upbringing-at least by sister Ra's appraisal. Han has the hots for Ra, who is studying medecine at Berkely and who already has a Chinese boyfriend Glenn (Eymard Cabling) who, despite his constant efforts to befriend the boy, is misunderstood and looked down upon by Vuthy. Ra, Vuthy and Han suffer from the same problem: lack of self-worth. Ra is focused on a career but never really knew her mother and ancestors, and that has left a huge hole in her life. Han knew the mother well, worked in her tiny neighborhood restaurant and helps Ra to better understand her, but he himself is a gang member and needs to break away if he wants to have a life. Change is in the wind for all four - even for the apparently secure Glenn whose relationship with Ra is threatened by her attraction to Han. How the characters affect one another through the process of change is at the heart of the play and Golamco's keen perceptions are highly absorbing.

The cast is outstanding. Huynh is so appealing as the sassy, confused Vuthy. His outbursts in hip hop song and dance are spontaneously hilarious. Corpuz is riveting as Ra, and Chiou makes Han a true enigma. A tower of power on the outside, his loyalties become severely challenged. Obsessed with a caring way for both Ra and Vuthy, he keeps his own hurt subdued, private. An intense performance! Cabling is also wonderful as Glenn, the struggling outsider who really loves Ra.

Golamco's claim that Superman is the definitive story of the plight of the immigrant in America is a brilliant analogy and propels Vuthy in his tenacious quest for self-esteem. Rose makes great strides as director keeping the pacing quick and allowing each character to find his shining moment. The set by David Potts is beautifully detailed with the mother's multitude of tiny figurines adorning wall shelves. The front wall also rises to show an elevated platform upon which exterior scenes are played out, as in a local whore house, a temple exterior and a car interior. It's cinematic, placing us as true observers within the confines of this Long Beach community, kind of like in South Central LA, and works beautifully on the tightly compact stage.

Don't miss Year Zero, an extraordinarily perceptive look at the Cambodian American immigrant. It will give new insight and understanding of our neighbors' culture and hopefully instill more tolerance of human nature.






 Inaugural Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – Festival of Solo Shows Opens With E Photo
Inaugural Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – Festival of Solo Shows Opens With Encore Performance of BRICK-BY-BRICK

The Inaugural Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – Festival of Solo Shows opens on June 21, 2023 with an encore performance of BRICK-BY-BRICK starring Amanda Casarella at 8 PM, followed by the world premiere of PANTEA (Everything) in Exile starring Pantea Ommi at 9:15 PM.

Open-Door Playhouse Debuts THE SUBSTITUTE in July Photo
Open-Door Playhouse Debuts THE SUBSTITUTE in July

Open-Door Playhouse continues to present short plays in podcast form. Its upcoming play, The Substitute, will debut on July 26, 2023 online.

Los Angeles Womens Theatre Festival Presents HOT OFF THE PRESS On June 24 Photo
Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival Presents HOT OFF THE PRESS On June 24

Hot Off the Press is a program of new solo writings presented by talented scribes in staged readings. The show will be presented at 6:00 p.m. PDT on Saturday, June 24, 2023.

AMERICAN GIRL LIVE! IN CONCERT Will Embark on National Tour Photo
AMERICAN GIRL LIVE! IN CONCERT Will Embark on National Tour

American Girl, one of the nation's most storied children's brands and a cornerstone in Mattel's (NASDAQ: MAT) portfolio of purposeful products, today announced a new live concert experience for the whole American Girl fan community to enjoy.

From This Author - Don Grigware

  Don Grigware was a writer for BroadwayWorld through December 2019.                                    &... (read more about this author)


#repshow# in[i]# Gunhild Carling Big Band
Catalina Jazz Supper Club (6/14-6/14)Tracker VIDEOS
#repshow# in[i]# For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorized Musical Fable About Michael Jackson As Told By His Glove
Carl Sagan And Ann Druyan Theater (5/05-7/01)Tracker PHOTOS VIDEOS
#repshow# in[i]# Celebration Theatre presents A New Brain
Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center (4/29-6/24)Tracker
#repshow# in[i]# Back Porch
The Victory Theatre Center (6/02-7/09)
#repshow# in[i]# Proud Out Loud
Theatre West (6/23-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# The Secret Garden, The Musical
Chance Theater (11/24-12/23)
#repshow# in[i]# We Got Your Six
McCadden Place Theatre (6/04-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# Hello, Dolly
Sierra Madre Playhouse (6/09-6/18)
#repshow# in[i]# Stories@The Playhouse: Best of BackStory
Sierra Madre Playhouse (6/12-6/12)
#repshow# in[i]# How to Be An Ending
Hudson Guild Theatre (6/01-6/24)

Recommended For You