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Sound & light for Angkor

SIEM REAP -The two prime ministers approved a sound and light show for Angkor Wat,

but only after telling the producer to tone down the neon colored lighting effects,

add some Cambodian music and stick to history.

"If you misrepresent the colors in 100 years people will not know the real colors

of Cambodia," said Hun Sen. "The music has to be according to the times,"

he said. He said all of the show would have to be approved by the Ministry of Culture.

Prince Ranariddh was also put off by the vivid reds, yellows and greens. He said

he was inspired by the Disney movie "Pochantas" portrayal of the colors

of the wind. "We have to show the colors of the stones. The apsaras moving out

of the stones," he said. "The tourists have to be completely swallowed

up by what they saw in one hour and they have to dream it again and again,"

he said.

Minister of Culture Nouth Narang said the project was 'interesting' but he was concerned

about preservation of the temple and about creating an historically accurate show.

Producer David Green, of September Films, in London, said there will be no drilling

or bolting into the stones and the lights and speakers will be fitted with nylon

cups so as not to damage the stones. Safe staircases will be erected over the stones.

The audience will participate in a 'walk and stop' show starting at the main entrance

and ending in front of the lake where they will be seated in a grandstand for the

finale, said Green. The plan is for three one-hour shows a night for up to 500 people

per show.

Production will be done in five languages: Khmer, English, French, Japanese and Mandarin,

with free shows set aside for Cambodians.

The script opens with the temple's 'rediscovery' by French naturalist Henri Mouhot

in 1860. The temple's builder, King Suryavarman, also appears in two roles, as himself,

and as spirit reincarnated in the god Vishnu, in which he performs the role of commentator.

The second act extols Angkor Wat as the greatest temple on earth, but portrays the

goddess Lakshmi as worrying about the future. In act three, King Suryavarman reveals

the temple's beauties and mysteries during a meeting with high priests. He is coronated,

snatching the crown from the high priest and placing it on his own head.

In act four the army prepares for war. It depicts King Suryavarman's final battle.

The passage of time is portrayed as a succession of kings describe their struggles

to defend Cambodia against powerful enemies.

Act five shows the invasion and looting of Angkor. The jungle threatens to destroy

the deserted temple, but the spirit of Suryavarman appears and in the end, Angkor

Wat is depicted as the eternal symbol of Cambodia.

Green said French composer Michel Legrand would do the music and the producers would

approach named actors to do the voices in the various languages.

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