Tonight was supposed to be one of those pleasant occasions where I watch the Royal Ballet of Cambodia perform, something they rarely do, at the Chenla Theatre as part of the Lakhaon Festival being hosted by the French Cultural Center. I had a bad feeling when I heard the performances were free to one and all and were on a first come, first served basis. The last time I went to the Chenla to watch a free show, no pre-booked seats, it was bedlam as what appeared to be half of the city turned up. And so it proved again tonight. I got to Chenla about 40 minutes before tonight's show was due to begin and took my place in one of about four queues that snaked back from the closed entrance, surrounded by the inept security staff. More people arrived and as Khmers are prone to do, pushed in at the front of the queue before a guy at the front announced in Khmer that the theatre was full. It was still half an hour until the show began and the couple of hundred people waiting outside were told they should come back tomorrow as there was no more seats left for tonight. The only people allowed to enter were those with an invitation, even though I'd been told that you couldn't pre-book a seat. To say I was cheesed off is an understatement. The CCF need to take a leaf out of the Amrita book of holding an event where tickets are issued to people interested enough to get one before the gig, rather than open the doors to all, until you can't fit anymore in. It doesn't give people who can't get to the venue a few hours beforehand, a hope in hell of seeing a rare performance by the country's leading classical dancers and that stinks. Nice idea to make it free for all but first come is a really crap way of organising such an important cultural event - especially if you're left on the outside like I was tonight!
Labels: Lakhaon Festival