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When Thida arrives from Cambodia to join her brother and niece in the U.S., she refuses to speak and is completely blind, although her family’s doctor cannot find any physical reason for her loss of sight. Thida suffers from a psychosomatic blindness developed by hundreds of Cambodian women after witnessing the atrocities collectively known as the “killing fields” in the chaos of Cambodia during the 1970s. As the family comes to understand her pain and her courage, Thida teaches her sophisticated American doctor the ways of the human heart. With humor, poetry, and gorgeous theatricality, East and West intersect in this story of survival and hope.

Surviving The Khmer Rouge
"Thida is the heroine of Catherine Filloux's 'Eyes of the Heart,' a beautifully done one-act drama about the place where horror and grief meet…The strange thing (or maybe it's not strange at all) is that the audience's tears come when another character, an American, talks about her husband's death from a nervous-system disease, not when Thida describes a far more gruesome loss. Somehow one tragedy helps communicate the depth of the other.”

- ANITA GATES, New York Times

“Eyes of the Heart is a spare, intimate drama about the havoc wreaked by the Khmer Rouge…It makes for a finely balanced play, without maudlin appeals for pity, vengeance or help… Eyes of the Heart is an informative and an at once heartbreaking and heartwarming evening.”

- Jenny Sandman, CurtainUp



published by University of Hawai'i Press can be purchased here

Eyes of the Heart collects six plays by Catherine Filloux: Silence of God, Selma '65, Mary and Myra, Kidnap Road, Lemkin's House, and Eyes of The Heart. These powerful works take up issues of civil and human rights, genocide, and the determination of women and men to retain their dignity and humanity in times of darkness and violence.

Top Articles 1 and 2


“Seeing Eyes: How contemporary plays open eyes and hearts to the legacy of Cambodia’s killing fields”

American Theatre, January 2005

Rhetorical Memory, Political Theater, and the Traumatic Present

-MEDIA REVIEW by Wendy S Hesford

Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy, Fall 2005, Vol XVI No. 2, p 104-117.


Coping: Fleeing the Killing Fields, but not Escaping

by Anemona Hartocollis
The New York Times, October 17, 2004

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