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Fine Arts Troupe to Perform Rare Circus

A group of fine arts performers will put on a rare Khmer circus in Phnom Penh this weekend, showcasing a nearly lost art from recently rediscovered.

“Building the Bridge to Langka” will be performed May 3 and May 4, at the Chenla Theater, from 6 pm.

The performance, a story from the Ramayana, will be told through Khmer circus, organizers said.

Soun Bunrith, program director of Amrita, which was founded in 2001 in the US, said he hoped the performance will remind Cambodians to be more interested in art.

“To make the show of Khmer art, it is our tradition, so they can watch it and not forget it,” he said. “They are used to seeing very modern circuses.”

Nay Narin, director of the national circus, said she was proud to have the Ramayana story told through the art form.

“I am more concerned, if we are talking about the circus, that all Khmer people think it does not belong to us, and think this comes from foreigners,” she said. “Because of war, we have abandoned these for so many years, and they think we are copying from foreign countries.”

Performer Phun Pisy said she has performed circuses for many years, but the “Bridge to Langka” show will be difficult.

“I will perform as a fish known as Nang Sovan Macha, a female fish,” she said. “I have to prepare myself to act as a fish faithful in love with a white monkey, so I have to make my body very soft and very fast, too, to march with the music while performing.”