Letters From Home

Critics

LemonMeter

67 %

Reviews: 3

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Wed Aug 21, 12:00am

“I think of mother quite often. During Pol Pot's reign, I had dreams of her. In the dream I would ask her, Am I in a dream? My mother replied, “No, child, this is real...”

Written and performed by ISC Ensemble Member Kalean Ung and developed in the ISC Studio, Letters From Home is the extraordinary story of Kalean's discovery of her family history and, ultimately, herself.

Her father, composer Chinary Ung, arrived in America in the 1960s. A young music student, he soon found himself on a harrowing quest to rescue family members from the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge. 40 years later, Kalean discovered a locked drawer full of letters to her father from family members, each one imploring him for help. This revelation forced Kalean to confront her family history at the same time she was playing some of Shakespeare's most challenging roles and preparing for her wedding.

Letters From Home weaves together storytelling, music, and Shakespeare, in a powerful exploration of generational trauma and the ability of art to transform pain into unexpected moments of grace.

Reviews

Avatar
"That said, worthy and deeply personal as this production is, it nevertheless lacks the dramatic heft of a storyline. The personal anecdotes are indeed moving and nicely executed, and McClure stages them with sensitivity, but there is no actual drama in the narrative, and the results are a show that is perhaps slighter and more ephemeral than it might be."

sweet-sour - Paul Birchall - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott
"Kalean Ung has unique stories to tell: three of them to be exact. Ung grew up immersed in one world, but curious about her father Chinary's Cambodian origins. The result is a compendium of story telling, music and recitation. With the help of Director Marina McClure, Ung interweaves the discovery of her Cambodian heritage, her father's migration and ascent in the world of symphonic music, and the horrific effects of the Khmer Rouge on his Cambodian family. The enormity of the country's tragedy and family losses casts a long shadow over Chinary Ung's considerable success as well as Kalean's narrative."

sweet-sour - Leigh Kennicott - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar
"LETTERS FROM HOME is attention-grabbing, told with words, music, singing, projections, old pictures, and artistic panels on the stage that at one point seem to find life of their own. It is a nicely told story, pretty easy to follow and straightforward, up to the last 10 minutes, which become more artsy as Ung delivers lines from various Shakespeare plays that she feels match the sentiment of her play. LETTERS FROM HOME will move you to learn more about the Cambodian genocide. If you have a friend from Cambodia, please take him or her along."

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sighs - ...read full review


Avatar
"That said, worthy and deeply personal as this production is, it nevertheless lacks the dramatic heft of a storyline. The personal anecdotes are indeed moving and nicely executed, and McClure stages them with sensitivity, but there is no actual drama in the narrative, and the results are a show that is perhaps slighter and more ephemeral than it might be."

sweet-sour - Paul Birchall - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott
"Kalean Ung has unique stories to tell: three of them to be exact. Ung grew up immersed in one world, but curious about her father Chinary's Cambodian origins. The result is a compendium of story telling, music and recitation. With the help of Director Marina McClure, Ung interweaves the discovery of her Cambodian heritage, her father's migration and ascent in the world of symphonic music, and the horrific effects of the Khmer Rouge on his Cambodian family. The enormity of the country's tragedy and family losses casts a long shadow over Chinary Ung's considerable success as well as Kalean's narrative."

sweet-sour - Leigh Kennicott - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar
"LETTERS FROM HOME is attention-grabbing, told with words, music, singing, projections, old pictures, and artistic panels on the stage that at one point seem to find life of their own. It is a nicely told story, pretty easy to follow and straightforward, up to the last 10 minutes, which become more artsy as Ung delivers lines from various Shakespeare plays that she feels match the sentiment of her play. LETTERS FROM HOME will move you to learn more about the Cambodian genocide. If you have a friend from Cambodia, please take him or her along."

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sighs - ...read full review