Saturday, December 13, 2008
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.