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Interview: Danielle Troiano of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Theater Mu

This production runs June 11th through June 30th

Interview: Danielle Troiano of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Theater Mu Cambodian Rock Band begins as a father returns to Cambodia for the first time since he
fled the Khmer Rouge 30 years ago. The reason for his homecoming? His daughter is
prosecuting one of the political party's most notorious war criminals. From there, the story
goes back and forth in time, showing how the past affects who we are today, even when we
try to hide it.

We chat with cast member Danielle Trolano about her role and the production!

How does it feel to have live audiences and theatre back again?

Rejuvenating! Never again will I take it for granted.

How does this role compare to other roles you've played?

This is the first time I've played a Southeast Asian character as a Southeast Asian actor. That alone makes this experience extremely special for me. I see an alarming amount of myself in Neary & her relentless & messy journey to connect to her culture & to her father, & I see an equally alarming amount of myself in Sothea & her passion for a vibrant life. I'm two years older & two years "wiser" than when I first got offered this production, & though it hurt to let it go for that time, the serendipity of it all grows ten fold every day. All of that to say, these roles are beyond-all-sappy-words special.

What was your process for developing your character?

Because these characters were already so close to home, the most important stage of "development" for me was just throwing the scenes on their feet & working off of my scene partners & colleagues (whom I love dearly). The relationships in this show are what makes it special, so finding the heart & history of each interaction helped find the rhythm & spirit of both Neary & Sothea.

What challenges did you face with developing your character and the production?

The emotional arcs that these characters go through is extremely heavy, not only for me, but also for my cast mates Greg Watanabe, Christopher Thomas Pow, & Eric Sharp. It makes it even heavier to know that this play is based off of real life events. As enlivening as this show is, it is equally as difficult to hold the dark underbelly. Learning how to take care of myself while doing the music, the characters, & Cambodian history justice has been the biggest challenge (but the greatest honor).

Interview: Danielle Troiano of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Theater Mu

Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

The last song of the show, I'm Sixteen. Pure catharsis.

How has it been working with the cast and creative team?

Honestly? The absolute best. Every single person in the room brings in so much vibrancy & passion into everything they do. It's inspiring! It's also extremely important to note that we're always laughing & always eating. If that ain't the best work environment, I don't know what is.

What do you hope the audience takes away from your performance and the production?

I hope they leave with more knowledge about Cambodian history, & more appreciation for Cambodian culture & music. Listen to Dengue Fever! Listen to Sinn Sisamouth, & Ros Sereysothea! & that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I especially hope this show reminds you to cherish your family & loved ones. & of course to hug them, just a little more.

Favorite local spots?

Apoy, Revival, & of course, Minnehaha Dog Park. Trust me on that last one.

Thank you Danielle!

For ticket and show information, click here

Photo by Rich Ryan and courtesy of Theater Mu

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