PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: AUGUST 26, 2014
CONTACT: Kate Brandt, email@example.com
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678
Image Download Instructions
1. Visit the Year Zero photo collection on Flickr
2. Select a photo from the Photo Stream or the Albums
3. Click on the thumbnail and let the image load in your browser on the Flickr site.
4. Click the " . . . " button in the lower right-hand corner of the window and select View All Sizes.
5. Select the size you wish to download from the choices listed across the top of the image.
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MERRIMACK REPERTORY THEATRE
OPENS 2014-15 SEASON WITH
Exploring the Cambodian-American Experience
September 11 – October 5
Press opening September 14 at 7pm
Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre will open its 2014-15 Season with the regional premiere of “Year Zero” written by Michael Golamco and directed by Kyle Fabel. The comedic drama centers on Vuthy, a 16-year old Cambodian-American living in Long Beach, California in the early 2000’s. After the death of his mother, this first-generation teenager struggles to find his place in a community that doesn’t truly accept him and a family that seems to be disappearing.
The play will run from September 11 through October 4 and will be performed in the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $60 - $20 and are on sale now through www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678.
The Lowell-Cambodia Connection
According to MRT Artistic Director Charles Towers, “This story is particularly relevant in Lowell, the city that has the second largest Cambodian-American population in the country (Long Beach, California has the largest). But “Year Zero” is also an appealing story about all of our pasts; all of us, who are descendents of immigrants, no matter when they came to American or what country they came from.”
The play presents a unique opportunity for MRT to reach out into the large Cambodian-American community of Lowell. The company has been working with a Cultural Advisory Committee since the play was first selected for the 2014-15 season last year. The group has been working closely with the creative team and administration to provide cultural perspective and connections to the community.
According to Committee member, Sochenda Uch, “Lowell is home to the second largest Cambodian community in the United States. Most Cambodian families in Lowell witnessed the genocide and are refugees to a world in which they were forced to start over back to ‘year zero’. The play “Year Zero” is a reminder to us all that we all have a past that should never be forgotten. Through this play the story will connect Cambodians to their past. We hope that it will bring families closer together to share their untold stories and to create new ones.” Uch is the Youth Leadership Program Coordinator for Lowell Community Health Center and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Angkor Dance Troupe.
Cast and Creative Team
All of the actors in this production are making their MRT debut and come to Lowell from New York or Los Angeles. Daniel Velasco will be taking on the central role of Vuthy. Vuthy’s older sister Ra is played by Juliette Hing-Lee, who feels a particularly strong connection to the play as she attended Lakewood High School in Long Beach, the same high school attended by her character in the play. Their neighbor, Han is played by Michael Rosete and Ra’s boyfriend Glenn is played by Arthur Keng.
In addition to director Kyle Fabel,the creative team is comprised of Randall Parsons (Scenic Designer), Deborah Newhall (Costume Designer), Brian Lilienthal (Lighting Designer) and David Remedios (Sound Designer/Composer.)
“Year Zero” was developed at Chicago Dramatists through its Many Voices Project, and was selected as its Grand Prize Winner. It was also a finalist for the 2009 Eugene O’Neill Theater Conference. “Year Zero” had its world premiere at Chicago’s Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater in September 2009 and had its New York City premiere at Second Stage Theater in Spring 2010; its West Coast premiere occurred in Los Angeles at the Colony Theatre in 2011.
The play takes its name from the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in 1975 and its goal to eradicate all existing Cambodian culture and traditions, returning the country to “year zero.” Though the legacy of the Cambodian genocide serves as the background of the play “Year Zero” looks at the lives of first generation Cambodian-Americans as they try to determine if change is possible.
Audience Engagement Activities
In addition to its regular Thursday night Post-Show Discussions (scheduled on September 11, 18, 25 and October 3), MRT will also be hosting several additional audience engagement events to further connect audience members with the content of the play. All of these events are free to the public and do not require a ticket to a performance. Additional events will be announced at a later date.
Post-Show Panel - Wednesday, September 17. Following the 7:30 performance, George Chigas, Lecturer in Asian Studies and Director of International Partnerships for Cambodia at UMass Lowell will moderate a discussion among panelists from the Cambodian community in Lowell, who will discuss themes of the play, followed by a Q&A session.
Discussion and Book Signing -Sunday, September 21, 5:00 pm. Seng Ty, author of the book “Years of Zero: Coming of Age During the Khmer Rouge” will discuss his experiences escaping from the Cambodia and his life in the United States. At Merrimack Repertory Theatre.
Post-Show Panel - Wednesday, September 24. Following the 7:30 performance, George Chigas, Lecturer in Asian Studies and Director of International Partnerships for Cambodia at UMass Lowell will moderate a discussion among panelists from the Cambodian community in Lowell, who will discuss themes of the play, followed by a Q&A session.
Angkor Dance Troupe Presentation and Discussion - Sunday, September 28, 5:00 pm – Presentation and discussion with members of the Angkor Dance Troupe about the performance traditions of the Cambodian culture. At Merrimack Repertory Theatre.
Tickets range from $60 - $20 and are available at www.mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678. Senior discount 10% off adult ticket price. Student tickets $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. $5 Night: Thursday, September 11 at 7:30 pm. Patrons may purchase tickets for $5, cash only, at the Box Office between 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Limit 2 tickets per person. Lowell Night: Wednesday, September 17 at 7:30 pm. Lowell residents may purchase tickets for $10 at the box office from 4:30 pm-7:30 pm. Proper ID required, limit 2 per person.
“Year Zero” is supported by Production Sponsor Enterprise Bank and Media Sponsor KhmerPostUSA. This production is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the 2014-15 Season is sponsored by Sage Bank.
Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979, and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. Under the artistic direction of Charles Towers since 2001, MRT is known for its high production standards and for creating compelling new plays and regional premieres that reflect the lives and emotions of its audiences. It is one of the 74 members nationwide of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT.)
MRT 2014-15 SEASON
Year Zero by Michael Golamco
September 11 – October 5, 2014
Dusk Rings a Bell by Stephen Belber
October 23 – November 16, 2014
13 Things About Ed Carpolotti
Book, music and lyrics by Barry Kleinbort, based on a play by Jeffrey Hatcher
November 28 – December 21, 2014
The Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor
January 8 – February 1, 2015
Oceanside by Nick Gandiello
February 12 – March 8, 2015
Out of the City by Leslie Ayvazian
March 19 – April 12, 2015
The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham
April 23 – May 17, 2015
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678
Image Download Instructions
7. Visit the Year Zero photo collection on Flickr
8. Select a photo from the Photo Stream or the Albums
9. Click on the thumbnail and let the image load in your browser on the Flickr site.
10. Click the " . . . " button in the lower right-hand corner of the window and select View All Sizes.
11. Select the size you wish to download from the choices listed across the top of the image.
12. Click the "Download the ___ size of this photo..." link at the top. The image will download to your computer.