Saturday, December 13, 2008

Classical escapism

Sam Savin and your ballet reporter after tonight's performance
Tonight's classical dance drama, Vong Sovann Chann Savat, staged at Chaktomuk Theatre with the support of UNESCO, was another of those traditional stories in the classical dance repertory replete with a prince and princess, their love story, a battle and a happy ending, gorgeous costumes, a full pinpeat orchestra with singers and a full house of invited guests. I got a good seat as I knew one of the principal dancers, Sam Savin, who played the lead part of the princess, Tep Sokun, wooed by the prince, who had transformed himself into a seductive songbird to win her heart. Yes, you have to suspend belief for the hour-long performance but that's why Cambodians love the classical theatre, for its beauty, its drama and its escapism. Savin was resplendent in her bodice, sampot and head-dress known as a mkot, as were her fellow performers, all twenty of them. I recognised a couple of the dancers from previous performances I'd attended including Sam Limsothea, who played the prince Vong Sovann, as well as Prasith Vichheka, who was the beauty with a magic bow. I caught up with Savin and members of her family after the show for a quick chat and found out that the cast had rehearsed for tonight's performance for the last two months, and tomorrow, she's off to Siem Reap to perform at Angkor Wat amongst her ultra-busy schedule of performances.
Savin as Princess Tep Sokun leads her six servants in dance
It was during this dance sequence that the prince saw the princess for the first time
Savin in full flight as she glides around the stage
Full of grace and poise, Savin is a master performer of classical court dance
Tep Sokun's father, the Giant reacts badly to news of his daughter's new-found love
Soldiers of the Giant's army
LtoR: Magic Bow, Princess Tep Sokun, Prince Vong Sovann & Prince Chann Savat
The two lovers, Tep Sokun and Vong Sovann (played by Sam Limsothea)
This is the closing scene from the classical dance drama

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1 Comments:

Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

I was more than happy to attend this performance as I had to miss the story of 'Preah Samuth' the previous Saturday (6th) which also took place at the Chaktomuk Theatre and in conjunction with UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture & Fine Arts. My friend Savin was in that performance too. However I was double-booked with Where Elephants Weep. I understand that Preah Samuth was so popular that many people were standing or sitting in the aisles to watch the on-stage performance.
That's two classical dance drama works in two weeks - are there any more in the pipeline?
Andy

December 18, 2008 at 9:55 AM  

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