HOME - JackOng.com

‘Song of Extinction’ by EM Lewis:
Top Rate Performances and
Theatre Excellence at (Inside) the Ford!

            If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you’ve got until Sunday, Dec. 14, to catch the world premiere production of “Song of Extinction,” a remarkable, totally engaging and critically acclaimed new play by EM Lewis at (Inside) the Ford, one of the John Anson Ford Theatres at 2580 Cahuenga Boulevard, East, in Hollywood.

Jack Ong has been invited to join a special panel of Cambodian genocide survivors at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, between the final performances of EM Lewis’ play, “Song of Extinction,” at (Inside) the Ford Theatre. Panelists will include Cambodian-American rap star Prach Ly, Kreng Krich, a family preservation counselor at  the Cambodian Association of America in Long Beach and pastor of Life House Church, Phansy Peang, also of the CAA, and Gen Lee. The free event will be moderated by Ms. Lewis, who invited Jack to participate not because he is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge atrocities, but “because of the different, tremendously important perspective he brings due to his friendship with Dr. Haing S. Ngor, his human rights tours with Dr. Ngor, and Jack’s continued advocacy for Cambodian genocide survivors.”

            The theme of Ms. Lewis’ haunting “Song” is extinction past and present, from the Cambodian genocide during the Khmer Rouge regime to endangered species in the Bolivian rain forest, epics against which a number of intimate, desperate human dramas unfold. That so many stories as well as so much history are presented in such compelling style (without sermonizing or pontificating) is a testament to the playwright’s skills and ability to trust the passions and inner voices of her fully-drawn characters: a young mother losing her battle against cancer, her scientist husband facing severe losses all at once, their talented teenaged son drowning in his own sea of confusion and disillusion, and a biology teacher coping with life after surviving the Cambodian killing fields.

            The excellent ensemble cast includes Lori Yeghiayan as the mother; Michael Shutt as the scientist; Will Faught as their son; and Darrell Kunitomi as the teacher.

            Directed by Heidi Helen Davis, “Song of Extinction” is part of The War Plays Project presented by Ms. Lewis in association with the Moving Arts Theater Company.

            At 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14 -- between the final matinee (3 p.m.) and evening (7 p.m.) performances -- Ms. Lewis will host a panel discussion featuring survivors of the Cambodian genocide.

            For info and tickets, go to www.movingarts.org or call 323-461-3673.


Between performances of EM Lewis’ “Song of Extinction” at (Inside) the Ford Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 30, Jack Ong, addressing elements of the Cambodian genocide on behalf of The Dr. Haing S. Ngor Foundation, participated in an hour-long panel discussion focusing on the history of genocide. Other participants were (l to r) Kitty Felde, a playwright and KPPC radio special correspondent (speaking for Bosnia); Karen Jungblut, Director of Cataloguing and Special Projects at Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in L.A. (the Holocaust); Sophea Pel, cast member of “Song of Extinction” and a survivor of the Cambodian killing fields; playwright Emilie Beck (the Holocaust); playwright Kristen Lazarian (Armenia); and EM Lewis, moderator.

  Top of Page