vrijdag 13 februari 2009

We're allowed to play!

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Friday February 13
On Wednesday 11 we did perform in front of a delegation of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. 
The Secretary of State, who we'd met at the Theatre school performance, but even the Minister himself were present in the front row, as were the Minister's wife and many, many officials. Let's call it a real experience.

First of all, the cast was wonderful. In this official setting, played on the stage of the Ministry's Conference Hall - with the portraits of the Royal family and the national flag serving as a backdrop - we fully experienced the potential of the play for the first time. Actors, musician, singer and dancer were powerful and the 5 scenes were so strong in structure. It was moving not only us, but, thank God, also the officials who had to examine Breaking the Silence.
The Minister called it a very interesting, new and powerful theatre style - a style that was just on the threshold of entering Cambodia when Pol Pot-era started, as the Secretary of State added. And he was extremely pleased that the people on stage -teachers on the Royal University of Fine Arts - could pass their experiences to new generations.
After that the Secretary of State as well as the Minister made their comments on the artistic choices. Annemarie tried to explain why she made it as she did. 
Quite an interesting debate evolved from the comment on the dancer's role, combining all types of classical dance forms. One of them is the classical monkey type, Hanuman. By the Ministry the use of the monkey dance forms as a comic element was not fully appreciated - our choreographer Kethya's dance teacher defended this choice. But at the same occasion he complained on the male dancing a female part. 
Soon everybody realized we were not intending to dress the dancer in classical costumes and masks, most of the objections were cleared.

Anyhow, a few hours later we were on the street again with stringent advise to cut some lines, to change Khmer title, and to readjust some of the danceparts. So we can go on. No premiere at the National Library though - but in the Exhibition Hall - alas, less central, less accessible, less 'public'.

Same night we ordered the graphic designer to finish the poster, next day we checked the Exhibition Hall and we informed the stage builder where to put the stage, etc. 
And from now on everything will go fast, faster, fastest till our premier on the 21st.

Same Wednesday morning Sal (production manager), Bun Sim (stage director) and I (Nan) made a trip to Kampong Cham to inspect the location for the first performances on tour, February 25 and 26. That will be the next big experience.....
Will it work in this village in the midst of the rubberplantations? Are we able to control the amount of people that are willing to come and watch something that will in no way answer to their expectations? They are used to bring their mats, as a performance normally last a full night.....

Friendly greetings Nan.

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