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  Play Details

Year Zero

Victory Gardens Theater - Biograph
2433 N. Lincoln Ave Chicago

Vuthy Vichea, a 16-year-old Cambodian American, is a weird kid in a place where weirdness can be fatal: Long Beach, California. And since his best friend moved and his mother died, the only person he can talk to is a human skull he keeps hidden in a cookie jar.

Thru - Oct 18, 2009



Price: $20 - $48

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-871-3000

Running Time: 2hrs 15mins; one intermission

www.victorygardens.org


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Victory Gardens Theater - Biograph Seating Chart


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  Year Zero Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Few things stir the Chicago soul like the opening of a new theater with the world premiere of a very smart, sweet, honest and uncommonly moving new play. You’ll love the comfortable, 116-seat Studio Theater, newly carved inside the historic Biograph Theater. And you won’t be able to watch “Year Zero,” a play about Cambodian-Americans that manages to be both arrestingly fresh and comfortingly accessible, without concluding that its 34-year-old author, the Los Angeles-based Michael Golamco, is a significant new dramatic voice."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Now in a beguiling world premiere at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, the play, expertly directed by Andrea J. Dymond, is both the inaugural production of the theater's comfortable and inviting 120-seat upstairs studio space, as well as one of the two top picks (from 120 entries) in its new Ignition project, a competition designed to showcase the work of gifted writers of color under the age of 40."
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Hedy Weiss


NewCity Chicago - Not Recommended

"...Sadly, there’s little good to be said about “Year Zero,” the first of two plays presented as Victory Gardens’ first “Ignition Festival,” devoted to emerging playwrights of color. At best, the production’s consistent stiffness and sluggish pace drains what should have been the play’s moments of highest drama. At worst, the writing itself feels like a public-service-announcement disguised as art."
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Monica Westin


Windy City Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Though Year Zero is stuffed with enlightening insights to its Asian-American characters, it comes off more as a worthy educational experience rather than an entertaining drama. But in terms of giving voice to underrepresented minorities in American culture, Year Zero does its job."
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Scott C. Morgan


Copley News Service - Recommended

"...Credit must go to Andrea Dymond for extracting such solid performances from her ensemble—Allan Aquino (Glenn), Tim Chiou (Han), Joyee Lin (Vuthy), and Jennifer Shin (Ra). The actors probably don’t get many opportunities to shine in a drama rooted in their own life experience and they have seized the moment."

Dan Zeff


Centerstage - Recommended

"...Director Andrea Dymond pulls some evocative scenes from all of the actors and the set design, including a motorized car, helps elaborate the play's theme of loss and sacrifice. Although Vuthy's conversations with the skull are corny (though the rap he performs for it is hilarious) and there are some rough transitions in the story, everything manages to come together to form a touching cultural mélange of humor, history and hope."
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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates


Chicagoist - Somewhat Recommended

"...The story is compelling. The characters are rich. The script thoughtfully addresses discrimination issues, both within and outside of the Asian-American community, and the burdens of living up to parental expectations in light of parental sacrifice, while still managing to be funny. But in what should have been the most emotional and tense moments of the show, we found ourselves feeling oddly disconnected. We wondered if it was us. Maybe we just weren’t in the right mindset for the show. Maybe we were too distracted by the fact that we were freezing cold (seriously, if the house isn’t full, turn the air down). Maybe we just didn’t get it."
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Julienne Bilker


Edge - Somewhat Recommended

"...The ideas of worth and identity prove central to this work, which is heartfelt in its words but unfortunately light in performance. As the actors deal with the uncertainties that lie before their characters, they remain surprisingly static with regard to their shaken circumstances. The bizarre stoicism drags on throughout the work until fizzling by its end, as its most interesting character, Han, literally fades into the shadows without much explanation."
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Joseph Erbentraut


Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...The Los Angeles–based playwright has some valuable insights into immigrant culture, especially Asian-Americans’ self-imposed hierarchy, and he infuses his work with amusing and accurate California color. But his writing is too often dramatically inert; too many scenes take place in a car or with Vuthy expositing to a skull he may or may not have purloined from a field trip to the homeland."
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Kris Vire


ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Golamco’s characters are likable yet his story is a typical immigrant saga filled with coping with their past history while adjusting to American life. What makes this play enjoyable are the truthful performances from the cast. The little known struggles of Cambodian-Americans in California are vividly presented here. The show suffers from clunky scene changes and a slow pace. But Galamco’s honest characters win us over."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...We have all seen plays that deal with different groups of people who have migrated to America from other places and the stories are very similar in nature. Golamco realizes that his is not the only story that deals with the tragedies people have faced. What he explores is the children of the survivors. Were they able to forget the past, the torture they endured and saw? Can one forget and change the course of their lives? Of greater importance, should one forget? We all need some reminder of what our history is all about."

Al Bresloff


   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the opening night judges of The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.
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