Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Top class contemporary circus

Gymnastics and acrobatics were on show from PPS
The Cambodia Youth Arts Festival is taking place this week and I managed to catch one of the free shows outside Chenla Theater tonight, with a shortened version of Cambodian Living Arts' Mak Therng, before moving inside the theater to enjoy the Phare Ponleu Selpak performance of Sokha. If you like your circus entertainment to include clowns and animals, then look elsewhere, as Sokha is a show that includes neither. Instead it focuses on the destruction of Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime and the rebirth of the arts through contemporary circus skills such as tightrope, acrobatics, gymnastics and juggling, together with live painting and excellent music accompaniment. Essentially circus-cum-theatre from one female, six males, a painter and two musicians. Sokha, which is the name of the girl whose story is told throughout, is one of Phare Ponleu Selpak's regular shows at their home base in Battambang, though they now bring their troupe to Phnom Penh once a month, and I recommend you get along and see them. It's entertaining, despite the dramatic storyline, great fun and the performers are excellent at what they do. You only had to hear the constant clapping and see the standing ovation at the end, to know that. PPS will be setting up a permanent big top in Siem Reap next year, the monthly performances in Phnom Penh are a welcome addition and every time I see them, I am impressed. I'm sure you will be too.
Live painting carried on throughout the show

Fabulous gymnastics included firing a bow & arrow with her feet

Storytelling through drama and circus

Balancing and tightrope were also very much in evidence

The CLA were on the outside stage to present Mak Therng Yike opera

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