During my time in Siem Reap, I had the privilege of attending a performance of Sokha by Phare, The Cambodian Circus. I was awestruck at this powerful show, and left more aware of the struggle that young Cambodians still have to overcome. The show is not to be missed.
I arrived by tuk tuk one evening, and was surprised to find a very small circular tent covered stage. The interior was completely black, seating was intimate, and my seat was very close to the performers. A perfect location for me, because if I can’t see the sweat on the artist’s brow, I’m not happy.
The troupe consisted of just a handful of performers, two musicians, and an artist. They were all students of a performing arts school that is working to bring traditional and artistic education to at risk children and young adults in Cambodia. If Phare is any indication of their work, I would say the organization is a great success.
The show itself was moving and beautiful in its simplicity. The performers told the story of a girl from childhood to death. Portraying her dreams, triumphs, and fears through visual arts. The costumes and props were minimal, never distracting from the performance. For me the highlight of the show was the music, composed and performed live by two multi-talented artists. Filling the space with their instruments, the music set the tone and energy for the performers and audience.
The performance resonated with me long after I left, and I’m so glad that I was able to experience the talent and history of these Cambodian storytellers. The show is touring for the first time, and if you happen to be in a city where they are performing, make every effort to attend. You won't be disappointed.