Catherine Filloux Tickets
Catherine Filloux is a French-American playwright (her mother is from Oran, Algeria and her father from Guéret, France and she lives in New York City.) She has received awards from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, the O'Neill, the MAP Fund, and the Asian Cultural Council. Catherine is the winner of the 2017 Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre in New York City, and she received the 2015 Planet Activist Award "to acknowledge Filloux's dedication to art and activism, in the theater community," Planet Connections, New York City. She has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist in playwriting in Cambodia and Morocco.
Filloux's plays have confronted the issue of human rights in many nations. She was first drawn to the subject upon reading of the psychosomatic blindness suffered by a group of Cambodian women after witnessing the massacres of the Khmer Rouge, a story that formed the basis of her 2004 play Eyes of the Heart. She worked with survivors of the Cambodian genocide, developing the oral history project A Circle of Grace with the Cambodian Women's Group at St. Rita's Centre for Immigration and Refugee Services in the Bronx, New York.
Her 2005 play Lemkin's House is based on the life of Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jew and American immigrant lawyer who invented the word genocide in 1944 and spent his life striving to have it recognized as an international crime.
In her 2010 play, Dog and Wolf, a U.S. asylum lawyer seeks to win asylum for Jasmina, a Bosnian refugee. Filloux says of her play, "[It] is written in the staggered poetry of the effort to connect and articulate," grappling with themes of identity, law, sexuality, and family.
Filloux states "For a while, these crimes were the 'best-kept secrets,' but they're not even secrets. They happen all the time, and nobody cares. And that's the problem on some level with doing this kind of theater. There's just a little wall that's been built up against these things, and to write theater about them is part of the challenge."
In a 2008 interview in The Brooklyn Rail, Filloux stated: "For twenty years I have written about Cambodia, P.T.S.D., genocide and trauma. People have exposed their pain to me. I have tried to understand how such violence can occur, how people can so bravely survive, and I felt the raw need to be honest about myself. ... To hold two opposing things in your hands at the same time and to balance them: I'm in that passage, trying to be Here and There. Last time I went to Cambodia, I felt for the first time I could be in two places at the same time, and not compare. That came from writing this play [Killing the Boss]."
Of her parents, Filloux says, "My dad was born in the center of France, and he became an adventurer," who sailed from France to New York in a catamaran. "My mom was a very literate person who loved literature" and wrote poetry in both French and English. As a child, Filloux moved with her family to San Diego, where she grew up. She says, "We grew up ... in this kind of schism of Algeria, France, and San Diego. So it made for a background of not really knowing where one belongs..."
Filloux received her MFA in dramatic writing from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (NYU) and her French baccalaureate with honors in Toulon, France.