Cambodian psychedelic and surf-rock music provide both the backdrop and the catalyst for truth-telling in Lauren Yee’s fascinating “Cambodian Rock Band,” playing through Dec. 15 at La Jolla Playhouse.
Yee, a Cambodian American – and a UCSD MFA in playwriting – premiered the play at South Coast Repertory in 2012 and now brings it “home” for a local run. Chay Yew, who directed the premiere, helms this show as well, and has brought along five of the original six actors.
Cambodia is probably not the first place that comes to mind when somebody mentions psychedelic or surf-rock music. Yet before the war in the 1960s and ’70s that brought the Khmer Rouge to power, Prince Sihanouk (in charge at the time and a composer himself) fostered a vibrant art and music scene there.