Swimming to Cambodia
“It took courage to do what Spalding did—courage to make theatre so naked and unadorned, to expose himself in this way and fight the demons in public. In doing so, he entered our hearts—my heart—because he made his struggle my struggle. His life became my life.”—Eric Bogosian
“Virtuosic. A master writer, reporter, comic and playwright. Spalding Gray is a sit-down monologist with the soul of a stand-up comedian. A contemporary Gulliver, he travels the globe in search of experience and finds the ridiculous.”—The New York Times
In 2004, we mourned the loss of one of America’s true theatrical innovators. Spalding Gray took his own life by jumping from the Staten Island ferry into the waters of New York Harbor, finally succumbing to the impossible notion that he could in fact swim to Cambodia. At a memorial gathering for family, friends and fans at Lincoln Center in New York, his widow expressed the need to honor Gray’s legacy as an artist and writer for his children, as well as for future generations of fans and readers. Originally published in 1985, Swimming to Cambodia is reissued here 20 years later in a new edition as a tribute to Gray’s singular artistry.
Writer, actor and performer, Spalding Gray is the author of Sex and Death to the Age 14; Monster in a Box; It’s a Slippery Slope; Gray’s Anatomy and Morning, Noon and Night, among other works. His appearance in The Killing Fields was the inspiration for his Swimming to Cambodia, which was also filmed by Jonathan Demme.