The Colony Theatre opens its 37th season with a brave selection — the West Coast premiere of Michael Golamco’s “Year Zero.” With a unique structure and a stellar young cast, it’s a quietly powerful work that sneaks up on you slowly.
Definitely not your typical immigrant story, “Year Zero” follows the two children of a woman who survived genocide in Cambodia. The title refers to 1976, when the Khmer Rouge took control of the country. Brutal leader Pol Pot declared this “year zero” to be a reboot of civilization that would erase thousands of years of Cambodian history and culture.
Over the next four years, millions of Cambodians died from starvation and overwork in the countryside. Educated people, monks, ethnic Chinese, Christians and other enemies of this “new” society were immediately executed.
Vuthy (David Huynh) and big sister Ra (Christine Corpuz) barely escaped with their mother to Long Beach, the only survivors of their entire family tree. The play begins shortly after her death in the spring of 2003, as Vuthy and Ra pack up their mom’s things and prepare for what the future holds.