We are settling into life here in Siem Reap and have decided to attempt to do something new each week in a way of getting to know the city and all it offers. This week we did Phare the Cambodian Circus.
The Circus is one of Cambodia’s most innovative social enterprise models. Profits generated through ticket, refreshment, merchandise and private performance sales support the free education, professional arts training and social support programs of Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang.
We had high expectations as all of the Trip Advisor reviews stated the show was outstanding and well worth the pricey tickets. There are three seating sections
A, B and C. A gets you front row and center with a gift, in this case it was a reusable water bottle. B gets you a seat behind A and C gets you scrunched in on the sides. Spend the extra and go for A or B. Seriously. They over packed C and I know there were total blind spots.
The Circus is every night and the line up to enter starts at 7:30. Be there at 7:15 if you purchased tickets in C. A is assigned seating and B is open like C but you will be seated in a good spot.
Fortunately for us it wasn't an overly hot night, rather more late spring warm, even with the AC and fans going the room was just a shy above comfortable. I couldn't imagine going in April or May. And if you are smart you won't either. If you have a bad back, the hour long show will make it worse.
The show itself "White Gold" was great.
“White Gold” begins with a celebration of people’s respect for rice. After damaging his father’s mandala by accident, our leading character finds himself thrown from his village, into a world where rice becomes commerce and hard labor.
As the community’s values shift towards monetary interest, they find themselves plunged into competition, jealousy, greed, self-interest. “White Gold” follows an individual and his community as they balance the demands of the modern world, community and Buddhist teachings of moderation."
The opening was beautiful as art was made with the rice, a few moments were funny, some baffling and others awe inspiring with plenty of tumbling an acrobatics intertwined in the story. And being honest a few minutes could have been cut but hey that's "theatre".
Fortunately they switch the show up every two weeks so you can certainly add this to your list of things to do in Siem Reap on a long term or short term visit.
Below is a video snippet of "White Gold".