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Stage show explores myth of the Wild West

THE Phnom Penh Players theatre group will present Cabaret of the Vagabonds on May 28 and 29 at Khmer Surin Restaurant, an original performance that conjures a mystical, dreamlike version of America’s Wild West.

The performance, directed by Sarah Outhwaite, brings together a cast of 15 expatriates in presenting the show. “The show was inspired by America,” Ms Outhwaite said. “It was not inspired by the history of America, but by the fantasy of America, a magical place across the sea that people thought about and dreamt about more than 100 years ago.”

She said the performance combines a diverse array of acting, singing and dancing, adding that the ideas that went into creating the show came from many different sources, times and places; for example, some songs date back 100 years, while others are very new.

“We were also inspired by the Phnom Penh Post Police Blotter,” she said. “It’s interesting because when we started reading the Police Blotter we noticed that stories were appearing that were similar to stories that might have appeared in newspapers in America in 1850 or 1890.”

Ms Outhwaite said she was interested in focusing on vagabonds in the show because they lead very difficult but interesting lives as they struggle for survival.

“When I called the show Cabaret of the Vagabonds, it was because I have a lot of love for vagabonds, and also a lot of love for people who struggle sometimes. I have a lot of love for them and respect them for their difficulties,” she said.

She added that she was also influenced by the films of Charlie Chaplin, and hoped that such humour would transcend language barriers.

“When you watch Charlie Chaplin, everyone laughs. It does not matter what culture the viewers are from because it’s silent. There is no speaking.

It’s just the body. One of the acts in our show is all silent, no speaking, so everyone can watch it,” Ms Outhwaite said.

Cabaret of the Vagabonds will be presented on May 28 and 29 from 8pm to 10pm at Khmer Surin Restaurant (#9 Street 57). Tickets are $10 and
are available at Java Café (56e1 Sihanouk Blvd). Proceeds will benefit community programs at Epic Arts.

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