maandag 19 januari 2009

First message from Phnom Penh

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About the play Breaking the Silence

The title is the aim of the theatre play.
Now, 30 years after the genocide of the Khmer Rouge (1975-1978) there is hardly any communication between the generations about these terrible happenings. And that hampers a possible reconciliation or at least discussion between perpetrators and victims. Inside its own history, in a country where perpetrators and victims are practically each others neighbours is of utmost importance for a possible development and working out of the trauma's.
Since years the Documentation Centre Cambodia (DCCam), leaded by Youk Cchang, has been working on information and the gathering of interviews with as well perpetrators as victims in the whole country. Allready a year ago Youk Cchang assured Annemarie that the making of a theatreperformance about these problems is very necessary.
He gives his active suport to the project by collaborators of this Centre who will have an evaluation and discussion with the public a day after they have seen the performance. By giving us his consent, we dare make a play about this painfull subject in a culture that is so different from ours.

The ingredients of the play will be: seven scenes written by Annemarie in Amsterdam, singing, music and dance.
The seven scenes will be played by the four actresses who performed in the first production 3 years.
Each scene shows a different aspect of the social life during Pol Pot regime.
For example: two ex-childsoldiers , nowadays 48 years, meet each other after all those years and they each have a completely different attitude regarding their lives of those days.
All the other scenes will be dealt with in the following blogs.
They are purely Brechtian scenes in which questions will been thrown up but not answered because we hope that the public will have a discussion about thes questions later on.
The scenes that form the core of the play are heavy, but we will make the performance open and pleasant to watch by music, singing and dancing.

Daily report

Tuesday January 13 and wednesday january 14
The trip was horrible, but all forgotten when the four actresses and Sal and Kunthy met us at the airport, very laughing and very emotional.

Thursday January 15
We started right off on thursday.
In the morning a fight with the webblog without succes.

Lunch with Sal (executive producer) and we talked about the organization of the coming period.

In the afternoon we met Kethya.
When she was nine years old she allready danced the Absaradance, a classical Cambodian danceform. Nowadays she is a choreographer and a dancer. In America she followed a course of contemporary dance and this summer she will be the artistic leader of a Cambodian Contemporary dancegroup.
For this production she is interpreter and assistant and she wants to learn more about direction. Kethya is fast, smart and curious. She understands what Annemarie means (at least we think so, because off course we don't understand anything she says).
We gave Kethya the text of the scenes asking her to tell honestly what she thinks of them and which, she thinks, are the best two scenes.

A meeting with Sakkona, the musician in the last production of Annemarie.
He will cooperate in this one, at least if he can make enough time to do the work. He has namely started a second carreer as a make-up artist. This means that he does the make-up for weddings and other festivities.
Sakkona is multifunctional and we would be very sorry if we lost him.
In the mean time we've heard he has been able to change his schedule and will be available as many days Annemarie thinks are necessary. This is very nice.

End of day 1.

Friday January 16
Meeting with Sayana Ser at DCCam.
Sayana Ser has been commissioned by Youk Cchang for this project.
She studied tourism in Wageningen (Holland) for two years. And now she works at DCCam, where she organizes informative tours for Cambodians.
This was the first orientating talk about the possible cooperation between DCCam and Amrita.
We gave her the scenes with the same request as we did to Kethya: which two scenes do you like most? In this way we find out what Cambodians think about the writing.

Back to Amrita, the production affice.
To our relieve Kethya thinks the scenes are very Cambodian and informative.

Audition with three possible singers.
Annemarie works with each singer for an hour. They are as different as you can get.
One very young student, still studying.
A thirty year old singer who directs aswell and sings in the traditional Cambodian form Yike.
And at last a fortyfive year old singer and teacher in Balsac, another old Cambodian singing style.
We choose Vutha Yin, the thirty year old singer, because he is willing to do new things.

In the end of the day a very interesting meeting with the three visual artists, Wollak, Samnang and Ravuth.
They are young and they have never seen modern theatre. They finished their studies at the Academy of Fine Arts a year ago. Two of them teach in the province.
Because Annemarie wants the set to consist of Cambodian collors, forms and objects, she asked them to look at the world around them and photograph all kind of situations and spots and objects, they intuitively link to the performance.
They like the homework.

End of the day.
Friendly greetings Annemarie Prins and Richt Martens.

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