Catherine Filloux

Playwright Lyricist Librettist

CATHERINE FILLOUX is an award-winning playwright who has been writing about human rights and social justice for twenty-five years.  Catherine was honored in New York City with the 2017 Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre.  Her new play Kidnap Road recently premiered at La MaMa, and was presented by Anna Deavere Smith as part of NYU’s Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue in 2016.  Filloux received the 2015 Planet Activist Award due to her long career as an activist artist in the theater community.  Her play whatdoesfreemean? about women and mass incarceration in the U.S. will premiere in 2018, produced by Nora’s Playhouse.  Recent productions include:  Selma ‘65 which premiered at La MaMa and has been performed around the U.S., including at Pygmalion Productions, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City, Utah; and Luz at La MaMa, and Looking for Lilith Theatre Company in Louisville, Kentucky.  Catherine is the librettist for three produced operas, and has been commissioned by the Vienna State Opera to write the libretto for composer Olga Neuwirth’s new opera, Orlando to premiere in 2019.


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Theatre Is Easy, Ran Xia,  Kidnap Road  “Catherine Filloux’s emotionally and psychologically charged play…offers a poignant anatomy of Betancourt’s psyche as a woman, a politician, and a victim of different ideologies in the crossfire. But more importantly, this shocking story holds a mirror up to how female politicians are treated in the U.S. as well.”

Exeunt Magazine, Molly Grogan “…Kidnap Road while satisfying enough as a theater object in the existential two-hander genre, takes us into disorienting territory.”

Show-Score, Kidnap Road “Intelligent, Intense, Edgy, Dizzying, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great Staging. This is poetic and fluid in its approach to storytelling, often imaginative, beautiful yet jarring."

Sin Censura, Teatro, Hector Luis, Kidnap Road  “With exquisite poetry, Filloux covers Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt's six years of captivity at the hands of the FARC…a phenomenal night of theater.  One of very few instances where story, direction and acting are so well fused and synchronized it is impossible for the audience to ever feel disconnected.” (English Translation)

Times Square Chronicles, Virginia Jimenez, Kidnap Road  “Every moment gives insight to her life and her torture.”

StageBuddy, Navida Stein “With poetic dialogue and powerful imagery, playwright Catherine Filloux in her new play Selma ‘65 has written a beautiful solo vehicle for actress Marietta Hedges. Showing us small ordinary details of these two people’s lives, Ms. Filloux paints intimate portraits that reveal fragile psyches and a deep desire to be a part of something greater. Ms. Filloux’s characters converse with family members and one of the most touching scenes is Tommy Rowe attempting to connect with his daughter. Mr. Rowe’s interactions at the Senate hearings after the murder are riveting as the government struggles to spin the story to their advantage.”

Urban excavations, Martha Wade Steketee, LUZ  “The theatrical world created by Catherine Filloux’s Luz is bounded by legal papers and files addressing citizenship and deportation and immigration, and by supertitles that illuminate Spanish language dialogue as necessary to tell the stories of several women. In this world Luz (Julissa Roman) and Helene (Lynnette R. Freeman) and Zia (Kim Brockington) work with their legal advocate Alexandra (Kimber Riddle), support each other, and build a potent world of poetry, power, pain, and resolution.

East Village Arts, Shane Reader, LUZ  “The design components are spot-on, and the woven narrative of the many characters tackles a multitude of issues from even more angles. In this way, the theatrical medium was a perfect choice for the call to action that is LUZ.”

Broadway World Reviews:  HGO’s NEW ARRIVALS, A Touching and Inspiring Opera, David Clarke “Catherine Filloux’s libretto is exceptionally well written. It effortlessly relates Yani Rose Keo’s story to the audience, delving into the emotional and psychological torment of adversity upon the soul as exemplified by the characterization of Yani Rose Keo and the three refugees she helps during the opera.  Catherine Filloux adeptly employs thematic devices to explore the human desire and need to help others, ultimately furthering humanity and leaving the audience with a craving to give back to any person or community in need.”

New York Times, ANITA GATES, ‘DOG AND WOLF’ "Wisecracking, entertainingly playful!"

TheaterMania, PATRICK LEE, ‘DOG AND WOLF’ "A story of political intrigue"

Theatre Is Easy, AARON BLANK, ‘DOG AND WOLF’  “A compelling, unconventional and unique love story…Catherine Filloux's writing is comical at first, then delves darker into our fears and what drives us to follow our passions, as well as how we protect ourselves…”

New York Times, CARYN JAMES, ‘KILLING THE BOSS’  “Ms. Filloux’s strong sense of theater and comedy are apparent…the work’s affecting quality, which sneaks up on you in this subtle production (directed by Jean Randich), is nothing to dismiss…”

Variety By SAM THIELMAN, ‘KILLING THE BOSS’ “Attains an odd kind of universality…the play makes you feel like the Boss is just next door—It helps that Filloux has written dialogue that strikes a balance between earnestness and wit, with frank declarations occasionally – enjoyably – wrong-footed by somber jokes…“Killing the Boss” achieves something odd and slightly unreal with its detailed schedule of events and dreamlike rewirings…”

BBC WORLD NEWS “Where Elephants Weep”

“A rock opera that wouldn’t look out of place in London’s West End or New York’s Broadway.  Audiences are lapping it up.”

CNN "Where Elephants Weep" “The production presents Cambodia in the light that it so urgently needs to be shown in…”

* ‘LEMKIN’S HOUSE’, highly recommended by The New York Times, The Listings
“The man who invented the word genocide, Raphael Lemkin, turns out to have an unsettled afterlife in the compelling drama by Catherine Filloux.  He learns, through visitations by Tutsis and others, that the international law he campaigned for against genocide may not have accomplished anything…A call to action…” (Genzlinger).

VILLAGE VOICE “Genocide He Wrote” By Alexis Soloski - ‘Lemkin’s House’
“Catherine Filloux, who has written four plays about the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia, researched her play impeccably but lent her play a dreamlike tone that offsets any dryness or didacticism…this play should haunt, and possibly inspire, much of the audience as well.”

VILLAGE VOICE “The Beauty Inside”  “This moving character study pits East against West, tradition against progress, and ambition against conscience, in a drama whose lyrical dialogue evokes the surprising ambivalence of this wrenching battle.”  LAWLER

The L Magazine Theater Review by Douglas Singleton “It’s a relief to see such economical storytelling — a kind of anti-Homebody/Kabul where characters say what they mean and action occurs at a lively pace. Only five actors grace the stage though it seems a dozen do — the characters are rich and cleanly drawn…The Beauty Inside joinsa string of exceptional pieces performed at the 45 Below Culture Project space…These are not run-of-the mill productions, but theater with purpose.” review Review by Loren Noveck – “The Beauty Inside”  “What makes the relationship--and the play--work is that Filloux resists the temptation to  portray the issues in black and white…Filloux also never forgets the personal cost of trying to change the world; both Yalova and Devrim take huge risks…and Filloux doesn’t try to make one more valuable or relevant than the other.”

New York Times Theater Review | 'Eyes of the Heart': Surviving the Khmer Rouge
By ANITA GATES  “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.”
A CurtainUp Review by Jenny Sandman “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.”

The Washington Times, T.L. Ponick - “SILENCE OF GOD, directed by Jean Randich, is a brave attempt to come to grips with the Cambodian holocaust, something that has largely failed to penetrate the American consciousness…SILENCE OF GOD is a brave play, with a compelling story to tell.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Christopher Rawson – “Silence of God” - “Over everything hangs the Cambodian tragedy and America’s complicity or inaction. That Pol Pot proves so banal in person accentuates the mystery of evil.”
The Morgan Messenger by Grace Cavalieri – “Silence of God” - “The single female author in the group, Catherine Filloux, is a returning festival playwright. SILENCE OF GOD is a fictional account of Cambodia, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, imagined through the eyes of a journalist at the end of the Pol Pot leadership. The lighting and set initially establish a reverence and awe for the material of a history too rude to be imagined. The play is ultimately about prayer and death, with a momentary flare of love at its center…One of the lines in the play speaks about “putting the spirit down on paper” and much of the play’s symbolism revolves around this significant act. It is the way human beings make an indentation in the universe. Filloux does this.”

Opera News, Recordings Critic’s Choice “The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown” “Catherine Filloux’s libretto, based on more than forty hours of oral histories she and Hwang recorded in New York City’s Chinatown, is vivid and concisely poetic.”
International Record Review (London) The Floating Box. (New World Records) “Between them Jason Kao Hwang and Catherine Filloux have addressed the problem of combining Chinese and Western styles with astonishing success here…Indeed [Filloux’s] portrayal of Chinese immigrants attempting to establish themselves in a strange land while unable to divest themselves of their own culture is in itself both compelling and totally convincing.”

Flash Review Dispatch by Maura Nguyen Donohue - "Photographs From S-21, by French-American playwright Catherine Filloux subtly challenges the audience to question its own role as consumers, and curators, of tragedy."

Curtain Up by Dolores Whiskeyman – “Mary and Myra” "She renders Mary Todd a creature of contradiction, at once petulant and impossible, demanding and clear-eyed, unable to contain the sharp tongue that so offends her thin-skinned eldest child.  Myra Bradwell is equally complex."

VILLAGE VOICE – “Price of Madness is my kind of play.  Should be yours too if you ever ponder the nature of art vis-á-vis mediocrity, sanity vs. insanity, or how commercialism can kill inspiration...A lot goes on in this layered, lyrical piece...The dialogue crackles with ideas..."

Baltimore Sun – “All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go”  "Takes place roughly where 'Witness' meets 'La Cage aux Folles'...A playwright who…instead of making us laugh at them, makes us respect the humanity they have in common."

National Public Radio, WBFO -  “Venus in the Birdbath” "Not to be missed.  It's sharp, intimate and extremely witty.  The characters are rich and fully developed...This is one of those rare comedies that will actually make you laugh."