“Where Elephants Weep,” a rock opera blend of Western and
Cambodian performing arts, will begin a 10-day run in Phnom Penh later this month, organizers said
More than 60 Actors, dancers, singers and musicians from Cambodia will join American performers for the show,
the first of its kind in Cambodia.
“Where Elephants Weep” is the story of a Cambodian-American
named Sam, who returns to Cambodia
to become a monk. He meets Bopha, a well-known singer, at the pagoda where he
stays. Sam defies a chief monk and leaves the pagoda and religious life, and a
story of love and tragedy begins.
The story was written by Catherine Filloux and is a modern
adaptation of the traditional Khmer folk story “Tum Teav.”
The music was composed by Him Sophy, who was trained in Russia and who worked in New York for a year with producer John Burt.
The show played in Lowell, Mass.,
in April 2007, and Burt called it “a dream” to bring the show to Cambodia.
“Cambodian survivors have given me a lot of inspiration,”
Filloux told reporters Tuesday. “When I was given an opportunity to write an
opera with Him Sophy, it really seemed like an accumulation of everything that
I had done so far.”
The show will run Nov. 28. and Dec. 7, and organizers hope
it will play in other countries across Asia before they return to the US.
“We trained together with foreign actors and I was very
impressed from the first,” said Ieng Sithul, a Cambodian performer who plays
the stringed “chapei” and is a flute coach for the show.
Thai Norak Satya, secretary of state for the Ministry of
Culture, welcomed the presentation of a “mixed” show.
“We can consider that the show of multi-nationalism is an
event that has never been in Phnom
Penh,” he said.
Filloux said the story was ultimately about Cambodia.
“The place where elephants go to cry in the story represents
some level of the soul of Cambodia,”