“Year Zero” by Michael Golamco at Richard Hugo House

The Cambodian-American characters in the touching “Year Zero” were born and socialized in the United States, but they are caught between two cultures. Their mother didn’t talk about life (and death) under the Khmer Rouge, and they didn’t ask. She survived it, but the tragedy lives on.

Months after their mother’s death, her children Ra (Elizabeth Daruthayan) and Vuthy (Moses Yim) are preparing to move. Ra to Berkeley and her physician boyfriend (Christian T. Ver), and Vuthy to a neighbor so that he can finish high school, despite the bullies there that constantly harass him.

Only when the all-knowing, muscle-man Han (Johnny Patchamatla) is released from prison, do they learn the full story of their mother’s suffering as she told it to him. Sadly his cultural background demands he pay a delayed price here in the United States.

The good acting in this production (directed by Miko Premo) captures the poignancy, humor, and sensitivity of the play. The painful past is ever present, and the price of assimilation is high. But Ra and Vuthy, as do most children of survivors, will endure.

Through Oct. 22, produced by SIS Productions at Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave. Seattle. (www.sis-productions.org or 206 323-9443)

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