Watanabe, Gelman Play Khmer Rouge Victims in ‘Extraordinary Chambers’

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Francois Chau as Dr. Heng and Kimiko Gelman as Rom Chang. (Photo by Michael Lamont)

The world premiere of “Extraordinary Chambers,” which has received rave reviews, ends its run on July 3 at the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte, Ave., Los Angeles.

Written by David Wiener and directed by Pam MacKinnon, the play looks at the lasting legacy of the Khmer Rouge, which killed nearly 2 million Cambodians from 1975 to 1979. The genocide trials for the leaders started 30 years later.

Greg Watanabe as Sopoan. (Photo by Michael Lamont)

“Extraordinary Chambers” gets to the heart of the headlines. When Carter (Mather Zickel), an American telecom executive, brings his wife Mara (Marin Hinkle) on a business trip to Cambodia, he never imagines that the ghosts of this beautiful country will find a way to haunt their lives. As business deals unravel and personal negotiations brim with political consequences, Carter and Mara must decide if the salvation of one life is worth sacrificing the justice of many.

Francois Chau, who was born in Phnom Penh, plays Dr. Heng, who is suspected of being a former Khmer Rouge official. Kimiko Gelman and Greg Watanabe play Rom Chang and Sopoan, two survivors of the genocide.

Scenic design is by Myung Hee Cho, costume design by Alex Jaeger, lighting design by Lap Chi Chu, and sound design by Vincent Olivieri.

The play has been declared “impressive” by the Los Angeles Times, “passionate” by Variety, “extraordinary” by the Orange County Register, “wonderful” by KCRW, and “beautifully crafted” by LA Weekly. It contains mature language/themes and runs two hours, including one intermission.

Remaining performances:

Wednesday and Thursday, June 22-23, 8 p.m. ($69)

Friday, June 24, 8 p.m. ($74) Lounge Friday

Saturday, June 25, 3 p.m. ($69) and 8 p.m. ($74)

Sunday, June 26, 2 p.m. ($69) and 7 p.m. ($69)

Tuesday to Thursday, June 28-30, 8 p.m. ($69) Talk Back Tuesday (June 28)

Friday, July 1, 8 p.m. ($74) Lounge Friday

Saturday, July 2, 3 p.m. ($69) and 8 p.m. ($74)

Sunday, July 3, 2 p.m. ($69) and 7 p.m. ($69) Wine Down Sunday

For more information or to order tickets, call (310) 208-5454 or visit http://geffenplayhouse.com.

About the Cast

• Francois Chau has worked extensively in theater, film, and television. Although he started his career as a professional actor on the stage, he is best known as Dr. Pierre Chang in ABC’s groundbreaking TV series “Lost.” His other television credits include “Chuck,” “The Chicago Code,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Medium.” His numerous film credits include “What’s Cooking,” directed by Gurinder Chadha, and “Rescue Dawn,” directed by Werner Herzog. He has also continued to work in theater, where his credits include “The Survivor: A Cambodian Odyssey (Merrimack Rep), “The Woman Warrior” (Ahmanson/Doolittle), “The Ballad of Yachiyo” (The Public Theatre/NYC), and “Art” (East West Players).

• Kimiko Gelman most recently played Meg in “Crimes of the Heart” at East West Players. Other theater credits “Desire Under the Elms” (San Jose Repertory Theatre), “Redwood Curtain” (Seattle Repertory and Philadelphia Drama Guild), “Tea” ( Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and CCAP) “Othello” (New Mexico Repertory Theatre). Film and television credits include “AI,” “Minority Report,” “Mother,” “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss,” “The Pickle,” “CSI Miami,” “The Closer,” “Chicago Hope,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Providence” and “The West Wing.”

• Marin Hinkle returns to the Geffen, where she appeared in “Rose and Walsh” and “Rabbit Hole.” Broadway credits include “Electra,” “A Thousand Clowns” and “The Tempest”; Off Broadway credits include “Graceland” at Lincoln Center’s LCT3, “The Dybbuk” (Public Theater), and “Miss Julie” (Rattlestick). She has performed in numerous plays at South Coast Rep, including “Circle Mirror Transformation,” “Our Mother’s Brief Affair” and “What They Have.” Hinkle played Judith for the past eight seasons on “Two and a Half Men.” Other TV credits include three seasons as Judy on “Once and Again,” and guest-starring roles on “Brothers and Sisters,” “Private Practice,” “House,” and “Without a Trace.” Film credits include “Weather Girl,” “Friends with Money,” and the upcoming “My Eleventh.”

• Greg Watanabe’s theater credits include the world premiere productions of “The Ballad of Yachiyo” (Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Public Theater-NYSF), “Butcher’s Burden” (Asian American Theater Company), “The Summer Moon” (A Contemporary Theater, South Coast Rep.), “10,000 Years,” “No-No Boy” and “The Happy Ones” (South Coast Rep), for which he was nominated for an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Featured Performance. Recently, he appeared in “Yellow Face” at Moolelo Theater Company, for which he was nominated for a San Diego Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Lead Performance. His TV credits include “Off Limits,” “Watch Over Me,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Reno 911!” and “Criminal Minds.” Film appearances include “Only the Brave,” “Americanese” and “Life Tastes Good.” He is a long-time member of 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors, an Asian American comedy troupe.

• Mather Zickel studied acting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and The Shakespeare Lab at the Public Theatre. He spent 15 years performing in many New York experimental venues, working with some of America’s most creative young playwrights such as Sarah Ruhl, Gina Gionfriddo, and Adam Bock. Since then, he has appeared in a wide variety of film and television roles, including Kieran in “Rachel Getting Married” and District Attorney Mike Powers in “Reno 911!”  He can be seen currently on Adult Swim’s “Delocated.”

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