Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Night at the Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet Theatre dance troupe

With a misnomer such as the Royal Ballet you could be forgiven for thinking this was a) ballet and b) quite formal and high quality.  Whilst the performance of the Monkey King Hanuman at the Royal Palace Auditorium is neither of these things, it certainly makes for a delightful and interesting cultural experience! 

GVI volunteer, Hayley, is a flautist in Australia’s Queensland Symphony Orchestra – quite the prestigious job indeed!  Due to her interest in music and performance she instigated a visit to the so-called Royal Ballet with a group of volunteers as a way to spend an idle Saturday night.   GVI Field Staffer Sam managed to obtain a discount so the group had the ‘luxury’ of the plush comfy seats up the front, and sat down to a stage filled to one side with seated musicians, and a solitary prop off to the side awaiting its role as the ‘Sadness Tree’ in the upcoming story. 

The audience was first treated to an all women traditional Lao dance, then the story of Hanuman, the Monkey King, sent to rescue his master’s abducted wife, fighting off monstrous guardians of the seas and cast spells over palace attendants.  Lucky for the handy English translation so the falang (foreigner) audience had some clue as to what was going on! 

It was short, sweet, and punctuated by frequent dropping in and out of character, an onset of the giggles by the lead female, and some sketchy singing from the orchestra.  Nevertheless, terrific fun and an experience in itself. 

Volunteers Sandra, Hayley, Sue and Jasmin
The night finished off with some rather high activity all male dances in all too tight costume, and yet another female dance.  An hour later with some culture up our sleeve the group headed off for dinner and a couple even made it to a second cultural performance at Roots & Leaves.  A cultural weekend indeed!