A Night of Realizations at the Circus in Siem Reap

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Phare, the Cambodian Circus
Many things come to my mind when I hear the word Circus. A clown in a gag sequence, a lady getting ready for her tightrope act and a lion jumping through fire hoops. I'm pretty sure you've seen a cartoon before where the main character wants to run away and join the traveling circus. 

gates are open at exactly 7:00 PM
After two days of visiting temples in Siem Reap, Maki and I decided to try something different. Phare, the Cambodian Circus is in the top three things to do in Siem Reap based on Tripadvisor. Why does it have so many good reviews? We wanted to find out.
viewers from all over the world
It was my first time to watch a circus performance so I don't have any expectation. I've always wanted to watch Cirque du Soleil but the ticket is so expensive. When I learned about Phare, I figure watching the circus would be a good idea instead of spending the night drinking a cold one dollar beer on Pub treet.
start of the show
Before the opening act of Sokrias (Eclipse), there was a video presentation of how Phare started. I learned that the group was established by young Khmer refugees who wanted to rebuild their country after the Vietnamese occupation. They call the group Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS). The group helped kids from families of  former refugees, street children and victims of trafficking by providing free education, food, training and employment.

check out the apsara pose at the back of this girl
I wonder how long it takes to master this
The show started with a high energy choreographed dance to the upbeat rhythms of drums and xylophone. The acts include variety of acrobatics, aerial acts, contortion, juggling and gymnastics. I am so glad there are no knife throwing or animal acts. I might freak out if that would be included! Basically, it is a contemporary circus that focus on folk stories and popular beliefs in Cambodia.

My friend Maki loved the muscle definition haha
how can they bend their bodies like that?
To be honest, there's nothing extraordinary about the plot of the play. What makes the circus special is the fact that the actors are all from families of former refugees. It was a heart warming experience to know that these children despite being orphans and street kids, continue to live and strive hard. The circus doesn't need to have death defying acts because the actors themselves, is an inspiration. They may have a painful past but they have a promising future.

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