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On a Cambodian Highway

Produced twice by New York's Third World Theater, "On A Cambodian Highway" is a two act, 90 minute, cast-of-four play that takes a radically different perspective on racism in America.  Racial dynamics are seen through the lens of the Robles family, second generation Puerto Ricans, and the rivalry and affection between two brothers (Chequi and Eduardo), their surrogate father figure (Tommy), a criminal lawyer, and the haunting love all three have for the brothers' sister (Soledad). 

 

The two-acts take place in a small room adjoining an emergency unit in New York's Lower East Side where the brothers have been escorted after they came to the hospital upon learning their sister had overdosed on heroin. 

 

The ensuing interactions between the three characters reveal deep fissures in the family, fissures rooted in race.  These fissures are common to many Puerto Rican families, but they refract racial dynamics in the American society as a whole. 

 

Chequi who is light-skinned, considers himself black while Eduardo who is dark-skinned considers himself white.  These are not just surface descriptions but go deeply into the structure and composition of their identities.

 

During the play, their highly-charged differences clash as the secret wrongs all three men have done to Soledad due to race over the years are gradually exposed, forcing them to see how their  adherence to racial imperatives have warped their lives and led to the ruin of their sister.