It has been an intensive residency for the past five months at CounterPULSE, beginning from November of last year up until now. From the first stages of research to the exploration of movement and recently the presentation of three works-in-progress performances, now Silenced has reached its final stage. These five months of discovery and inspiration will stay with me for the rest of my life. The challenges of this piece involves so many elements interwoven together to tell this compelling story of Ros Reseysothea: dancing, singing, acting, and multi-media.
This is this story of a singer whose perseverance and commitment to her career against all odds has inspired me since my youth. This poor girl who grew up raising and selling boiled snails became the most influential singer in the country. Later the Khmer Rouge silenced her, but her legacy continues to live on. Her voice still resonates in the hearts of Cambodians around the world.
It is also a story about the genocide that remains implanted in the minds of millions of Cambodians. It is a reminder about the impact war has on people’s lives. Lives are lost senselessly, but what is often forgotten is the terrible blow to culture when the standard bearers of the arts vanish. Like Ros Roseysothea, over 2 million Cambodians lost their lives during The Killing Fields. For us as survivors it is important to learn and understand from our painful past so that we insure it won’t ever happen again. Like Ros Sereysothea’s voice, the Khmer people have come a long way in finding their way back from the ashes of war. As an artist I hope to continue to create art that helps the healing continue so that survivors and observers alike can move beyond The Killing Fields and focus on the beauty of the arts of Cambodia.
I would like to once again thank you the Center for Cultural Innovation for making this piece possible. I also would like to thank CounterPULSE for allowing me the freedom to create this exciting piece. Thank you to my long time collaborator, composer, Alexis Arlich, video designer, Olivia Ting, guitarist, Nohuel Bronzini, and my two dancers, Sandra Roero, and Ravy May for contributing so much to this piece. Thank you to my sister, Sotheary Au my dresser, and my mother for helping to make the beautiful costumes. Finally, I must thank my dearest husband, Rob Burt, my artistic advisor, who has supported me every step of the way.
Here is another preview of Silenced I put together to serve as another way to gain a bit of insight into what next weekend will bring. This video consists of images from different sources including film footage by Benjamin Michael, online photos/footage, rehearsal photos, and footage from the final work-in-progress video by Rob Burt. I am looking forward to opening night on Friday March 14th and then March 15th and then again March 20-23 at CounterPULSE. I hope you can come to see this piece.
A Bit of Ros Sereysothea