Saturday, June 7, 2008

Today's pictures

Sam Savin in full Kenor (angel) regalia at tonight's performance
Tonight's Khmer classical dance performance at the Chenla Theater in Phnom Penh was very well-attended and well-received. The story of two young lovers who sleep together without a hint of marriage was a bit racey but they overcome hurdles to be together in the tale of Preah Anrudh Preah Neang Ossa. The pinpeat orchestra added the background sound, the vocalists sang the story (in Khmer) and a side-screen gave snippets of what was happening in English to inform the foreigners in the audience. Applause rang out throughout the hour-long performance and at less than two dollars for a seat, it was a bargain to see classical court dance performed by some of the country's very best dancers. Amongst them was my friend Sam Savin, who was one of the Kenor, or angels, and flitted on and off stage at regular intervals.
Earlier in the day, the council decided to repair the road that runs outside my flat and large diggers were busy tearing the road surface apart. As soon as they'd finished, in came small groups of 'stone-breakers.' These groups, usually women, wield the hammer and break the tarmac and stone into smaller stones and carry them off to sell or use elsewhere. It's a tough job in the heat of the day, but that's Cambodia for you, the women do all the hard work around here.
All the dancers take a bow at the end of their Chenla performance
Two of the show's leading performers. Left is Praseth Vichheka who plays the Princess Neang Ossa, and Roth Chanmony, who is Prince Anrudh
Back-breaking work for these women as they move in to break the broken road into smaller stones


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