#2 Cambodian Circus
OK, a circus in Cambodia, why not? We didn’t know what to expect. In our home town of Winters, the traveling circus came into town, and it was, well, cheesy, but weird and cute. So we decided that the Cambodian circus deserved a Falyn Family Five review.
Mostly tourists crowded into the big top. We chose seats next to a lively woman from Adelaide, Australia. As we waited for the show to start, we swapped stories and may see her downunder when we are there.
Two talented and funny guys strummed and punched out some great music, mostly percussive. The circus began! To our delight, some screens near the ceiling began a story narrative in several languages. A circus with a story, how fun.
The performed reeked of talent from their first acrobatic flips onto the stage. A narrative about a lame man being shunned by the village, and then his journey to be accepted, feel loved and to belong followed. The entire story unfolded with gymnastic marvel, fire, juggling, daring acts of balance and some really fine, funny pantomime.
The athletic cast excelled and telling stories with marvelously strong bodies and hilarious expressions. Their comic timing crossed all cultures. Who doesn’t like seeing a muscular, trim young man act like a feminine lady who comes on to middle aged white tourist dudes in the audience?
And the horizontal poses held on poles and ropes were marvelous – ah, to be so strong and balanced. At times the young performers stood atop one another three high, or contorted their bodies into seemingly impossible positions, shimmied poles and dropped dramatically with last minute “saves” as their noses practically touched the floor at full speed.
And of course they played with fire. Jump roping through it while doing flips, twists and ariels, twirling sticks of fire, and chasing each other madcap with fireballs, acrobatic leaps, rolls and flips. The entire audience stared and clapped, spellbound. Because the array of stunts followed an interesting narrative, at the end we all felt thrilled, content and happy at the feel good ending.
An MC shared with us at the end of the show, that these performers came from extremely poor families, and were educated at an arts school that gives free admission to 1000 such poor youth per year and trains them in the arts: theater, singing, dance, circus, painting and music.
The students come out trained to earn real money, and give back what they can once they are employed. Other large benefactors mostly fund the school, and students attend for three years.
I applaud the many organizations at work in Cambodia, helping youth who live in such extreme poverty that their parents literally cannot feed them. Some brilliant and amazing people make it their life work to give the kids incredible life opportunities. Sadly, only a percentage of the youth in need are served.
What a marvel it was to see the fruits of their training.