Extraordinary Chambers

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When Carter, an American telecom executive, brings his wife Mara 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.

Marin Hinkle, Mather Zickel and Francois Chau in <I>Extraordinary Chambers</I> at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo by Michael Lamont.
Greg Watanabe, Marin Hinkle and Mather Zickel in <I>Extraordinary Chambers</I> at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo by Michael Lamont.
Mather Zickel and Marin Hinkle in <I>Extraordinary Chambers</I> at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo by Michael Lamont.
Greg Watanabe in <I>Extraordinary Chambers</I> at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo by Michael Lamont.
Marin Hinkle and Francois Chau in <I>Extraordinary Chambers</I> at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo by Michael Lamont.

Read Sample

(She rolls over. CARTER watches her for a moment, then turns to go.)
MARA
Do you have to be so God damned obsequious?
CARTER
What?
MARA
Obsequious.
CARTER
You’re tired. You don’t know what you mean.
MARA
I mean the fawning ridiculous things you say.
CARTER
I say ridiculous things?
MARA
Yes.
CARTER
Well thank you sweetie.
MARA
Don’t do that.
CARTER
What? If trying to connect with you is--
MARA
Oh, this is like a romantic getaway now?
CARTER
Are you feeling neglected?
MARA
I’m feeling embarrassed.
CARTER
You have nothing to be embarrassed about.
MARA
I’m feeling embarrassed for you Carter. By you.
CARTER
Me?
MARA
Forget it. Read your book.
CARTER
I think I will.
(He opens his book. A beat. He closes it.)
CARTER
Do you mean how I am with the locals? Is that what you mean?
MARA
Good night.
CARTER
No. No. Do you mean, showing some interest in another culture? You mean trying to learn their history? You mean speaking their language--
MARA
You don’t speak their language.
CARTER
I speak some.
MARA
You can say like three things.
CARTER
I can say more than three.
MARA
Well I know you can say, “thank you.” I know you can say that because you said it like sixty fucking times on the way from the airport.
CARTER
So I am polite. So I express some gratitude and respect and, and--
MARA
Aw kun for opening the door Sopon. Aw kun for speaking English Sopon--
CARTER
Sopoan.
MARA
I don’t care.
CARTER
See that’s your problem.
MARA
Aw kun for driving so carefully Sopon.
CARTER
I didn’t say that.
MARA
Yes you did.
CARTER
Well those roads are-- I mean, I couldn’t drive here, could you? Could you drive here?
MARA
Did it occur to you that they may not like it?
CARTER
Like what?
MARA
You know, your whole, Ambassador of America routine.
CARTER
You mean my courtesy?
MARA
Whatever you call it. Maybe your little buddy doesn’t like being treated like a child.
CARTER
I don’t treat him like a child. I am polite. And I am considerate. And perhaps I’m a little too considerate in an effort to compensate for my wife who behaves like the queen of the fucking plantation--
MARA
I do not.
CARTER
Like everybody’s working for her.
MARA
He does work for me.
CARTER
No. No Mara, he works for Doctor Heng. And for the next six days, he works for me. And I appreciate it. My God, what is with you?
MARA
I just... I would like it... if we could keep things professional.
(Short pause.)
CARTER
Do you have any idea what these people have been through?
MARA
I have an idea.

Cast Requirements

2 women
3 men

Set Description

Flexible Set – 2 Locations: A hotel room, a villa in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia.

Honors

Winner of the ACT New American Play Prize, 2010. Winner of the LA Drama Critics Circle Award for the World Premiere of an Outstanding New Play. Ovation nominee for Best Production (Geffen Playhouse) and Playwriting.

Publisher

Samuel French (forthcoming)

Press

“Wiener's craft is impressive. The bickering, frustrated exchanges between Mara and Carter, often happening in the cracks of conversation with other characters, have a refreshing honesty. The play unfolds as a series of secret rooms in a creepy alternative universe that looks increasingly like the mirror image of our own..” – The Los Angeles Times

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Press

“A stunning fictional drama.” – LA Splash

“Wiener's thoughtful drama has the flavor of a political thriller in a John Frankenheimer or Costa-Gavras vein. The nail-biting tension derives from an atmosphere of paranoia, as citizens still trying to recover from a history of unimaginable brutality live among suspected perpetrators of the atrocities. – Backstage

“Beautifully crafted… cleverly subversive, edgy drama that strikingly conveys the weight of history.” – LAist

Production and Development History

Commissioned: South Coast Repertory.

Developed: Ojai Playwrights’ Conference and ACT.

Produced: The Geffen Playhouse (Summer 2011).