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Q&A: Im Kimsour

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An alumnus of the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, Im Kimsour established the Nouveau Comedy Theatre last year. The troupe performs comedy sketches completely unlike traditional Cambodian scripted theatre, and the audiences have steadily gotten larger. This week, the troupe began rehearsal for their next show, which will be performed this December. Im Kimsour and her cowriter Toru Ema talked with 7Days about the troupe, and their plans for its future.

Describe a couple of your sketches:
Happy Family is about a rich family eating dinner, talking to each other about how rich and happy they are. Then the electricity goes out. When the lights go back up, someone at the table has been murdered, with a knife in her back. A detective comes in and grills every member of the family, but each person says ‘Not me, it was him, or her.’ At the end it turns out the ‘victim’ was just trying a new fashion. She said a fake knife in the back is ‘very fashionable in New York.’ Another one is Gay Rock Star. A famous rock star is coming to Phnom Penh…Freddie Mercury. Then the producer finds out Freddie can’t come, so she makes her assistant act like Freddie and play him on stage.

What makes Nouveau different?
There are many comedy troupes in Cambodia, but they use traditional scenarios. There’s no change, no new stories. I want to make new stories for every performance.

What’s the writing process?
I write normal stories; my friend Mr Toru writes comedy scenes in Japanese, and I translate them to Khmer. We work together, I cannot work without him. We make the audience laugh through the story and the body language. We don’t talk about sex, religion or politics.

Why did you start Nouveau Comedy?
I think in Cambodia, there is not much modern theatre. I don’t want to say there’s a low level…but there’s not much activity.

I want to establish in Cambodia a new comedy theatre playing style. I want to show people that theatre is interesting, and the best way to do that is through comedy.

What are your future plans for Nouveau?
This is my business, but there’s no income for it yet. In the future, I want Nouveau to be a business. And if TV shows need actors, they could call me and I would connect them with our actors, for a small fee. In the future, it’s one of my dreams to make a film in Cambodia and take it to the Cannes film festival.

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