Feet scuttle across the floor. Bare skin rubs against the black mat. The occasional squeak pierces the music.
Voan Savay is in the front row. Though she sits, her body is pulsing with potential energy, at the ready to bolt from her seat to the edge of the proscenium, arms brandished in the articulation of physically conveyed critique: Bring your shoulders back, your hand should look like this, exaggerate that motion … She is a sharp critic: she has utmost respect for the form and does not seem to tolerate anything less from others. But, she can be playful too. Some of her comments elicit grins and chuckles from the bodies onstage.
It’s 5 o’clock and rehearsal is under way. All sounds now seem amplified after the rain subsided. The aggressive but short-lived downpour on the tin roof had an overwhelming purchase on the soundscape of the open-air theatre at the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.