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Phnom Penh troupe debuts original works


Actors rehearse for Carnival Games, by Monica Trausch. Photograph: supplied

Take five vastly different short plays – some thought-provoking, others comical – throw them together in a theatrical production, and you will probably end up with what the Phnom Penh Players intend to induce in its audience: a state of limbo.

Life in Limbo, the first short-play festival by the Phnom Penh’s most prominent amateur theatre company, reflects the constantly evolving and unpredictable city life in Phnom Penh.

“In a nutshell, it is about how strange life can be,” says Zachary Kendall, director, writer and producer with the Players. “The plays share the common theme of life being complicated, difficult and crazy.”

The collection, written and produced by four expatriates living in Phnom Penh, will feature the original works of Monica Trausch, Ebony Rosemond, Carrie Cordell-Twine and Zachary Kendall, as well as an adapted play.

“We were in the unique position of having several people who wanted to write something to perform, and we decided that performing several short plays together was a good solution,” Kendall says of the decision to stage five plays instead of one.

In the play titled Stored, adapted from one of the acts in the full-length play Boxes, the writer uses the metaphor of a storage facility where men pick up and drop off their different life stages. In this particular scene, a young man who is preparing for marriage lets go of his bachelor’s box and embraces his new life.

“This play lets us see the issues we have in our lives as what they are – just baggage,” says Ebony Rosemond, the writer of Stored. “We all struggle with obstacles, but we don’t have to carry them. “We can put them down, close the door and move on.”

Rehearsals for the five plays have been ongoing for the past month.

“I personally feel that Phnom Penh is lacking in things to do besides drinking,” Kendall says. “So I think we are providing a unique evening out in Phnom Penh.”

Besides Life in Limbo, the Phnom Penh Players are also preparing work for an original full-length comedy in early fall and a Christmas pantomime in December.

“I hope the short-play festival encourages people to create new work,” Ebony says. “I love the classics, but we need to start creating the classics of tomorrow.”

Life in Limbo, by the Phnom Penh Players, runs at Khmer Surin, on the corner of Street 51 and Street 282, Phnom Penh, on Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, at 8pm. Tickets are on sale for $10 at The Willow Boutique Hotel, #1 Street 21, and will also be available at the door. All proceeds will go to Epic Arts, a disability arts charity in Kampot.

To contact the reporter on this story: Calvin Yang at



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