Playwright Nurtures Spoken Theater to Its Social Role
Sopheak Soung is among the few Cambodian playwrights who are working to keep one of Cambodia’s oldest art forms, “Lakhorn Niyeay,” alive. Originally from the southeastern province of Kandal, the 41-year-old artist moved to Phnom Penh in 1996 to study “Lakhorn Niyeay,” a form of spoken theater. Today, as founder and director of a nonprofit, Khmer Art Action, Sopheak writes and directs spoken theater performances, and produces short films to highlight social issues in Cambodian society. In May, Sopheak was invited to speak to more than 200 artists from 40 countries at a workshop organized by the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. During the trip, Sopheak spoke to VOA Khmer about the Cambodian theater industry, his career trajectory and the importance of creativity in evolving Cambodian culture.