Friday, August 26, 2011

Monkeying around

The 7 male monkeys take their plaudits after an energetic performance
There wasn't room to swing a cat, let along a monkey at the Lyla Lagoon Sports Center tonight as the word had definitely got out that there was something very different taking place in this unusual location. The packed audience hushed as the show began and 45 minutes later were long in their applause after an incredible performance by the seven male dancers had kept them transfixed throughout. Khmeropedies III: Source/Primate was all about monkeys. Not the classical ones you see in Khmer masked ballet but the unrestrained, playful, energetic and volatile versions that choreographer Emmanuele Phuon had elicited from the chosen male dancers. To be honest the guys gave it their all, pushing themselves to the limits of exhaustion, literally bounding around the floorspace, repeatedly, or imitating in quite remarkable fashion, the intimate actions and details of our furry friends. This was very far removed from the I and II Khmeropedies versions as to stand in its own category, bringing to life, in a very dramatic way, a role that is always welcomed and enjoyed in Khmer classical performance, but previously under-utilized. As this is a work in progress, it looks like Phuon and her team will continue to stretch the boundaries and give more life to these monkey antics. A very different contemporary show, A Thin White Line, will take place at the same location next week, Friday 2 September, involving the likes of Belle, Yon Davy and Nam Narin, who are working with Australian choreographer Paea Leach.
Two of the monkeymen, Zhacky and Rady (right)

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