By Eric Chuk
The Cambodian Student Society (CSS) hosted a successful culture show on Sunday, March 25th at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center on the campus of California State University, Long Beach. The show was notable for its overall bilingualism and refreshingly creative story line—a modern, Khmer-inflected reinterpretation of the Wizard of Oz, incorporating history, action (martial arts), humor, and romance.
The play format, unusual for CSS, followed five main characters who were mysteriously transported to the Cambodia of yore: Boran, an amiable young man whose as-if Hanuman heroics save a village (paralleling Dorothy’s arrival in Oz); his pet-like companion Ah Touch, often a source of comedic relief; Romdoul, a contemporary/classical dancer; Kunthea, a waifish girl (reminiscent of Oz’s cowardly lion) struggling to learn the Khmer language; and Samouth, a soulful singer mistaken for Sinn Sisamouth. Along the way, they meet other colorful characters: a cryptic old man who tells them to follow the “yellow k’tael road” through the jungle to get back home, cackling witches who the five friends must outmaneuver, and a flirtatious but helpful prince.
It’s been a week since the show and I miss it A LOT! Hands down one of the best experiences of my life. READ IT! :D