Orchestrated by a highly revered Japanese director
In celebration of 40th Year of ASEAN – Japan Friendship and Cooperation as well as the Japan – Vietnam Friendship Year 2013, the Hiroshi Koike Bridge Project, Cambodia’s Amrita Performing Arts and the Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam, sponsored by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, proudly present a physical theatre “Mahabharata” on Tuesday 16 July 2013 in Hanoi.
Mahabharata is an ancient Indian epic originally written in Sanskrit and has been regarded as the Hindu Bible, the resource of Indian philosophy, moral, politics and law. It is the story of a dynastic struggle that provides a social, moral and cosmological background to the climactic battle and covers all categories of storytelling, as the famous phrase in Mahabharata says:
What is found herein may also be found in other sources,
What is not found herein does not matter. This gigantic epic is, thus, a treasure house of ancient wisdom and can be an excellent reference to think about human nature, which motivated Hiroshi Koike, a highly revered Japanese director, to bring on stage.
The characters in the story will be performed mainly by Cambodian actors/actresses equipped with traditional dance, backed up by a Japanese Bali dancer, a Japanese Ballet dancer and a Malaysian Butoh dancer. Each performer will play several roles by changing wearing masks. The story will be delivered mainly through physical movements topped with some music and summary of the story on screen.
We do hope that Hiroshi Koike’s ambitious attempt will inspire you not only in purely artistic sense but also to re-think about what is human nature. This stage performance is free admission but you are required to get free advanced tickets which will be distributed from 2pm on Friday 28 June at the Japan Foundation (27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi/TEL 04-3944-7419) .
For inquiries and interviews with the director and performers, please contact at:
Ms. Da Huong / Ms. Huong (04-3944-7419 ext: 113 / 106) / Mr. Yoshioka (0123-384-4138)
The Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam
Having worked as a TV director, he founded the theatre company “Pappa TARAHUMARA” in 1982. He has directed 55 theatrical pieces for the company and worked with various artists in many countries which brought him high reputation around the globe. In 2012 he closed his theatre company and launched a new project “Hiroshi Koike Bridge Project” through which he aims to encourage people to think through their bodies, bridging the world by arts projects. He served as; Artistic Director of Tsukuba Cultural Foundation (1997-2005), Member of the Culture Promotion Committee of Aomori (1999), to name but a few.
For more information on Hiroshi Koike’s Mahabharata, please access at:
When he was a student of Tokai University majoring Music, he started Bali dance along with studying about sound scape. Then he went to Art College of Indonesia to study abroad with a scholarship from the government of Indonesia. He studied under the best contemporary dancer in Indonesia and at the same time got inspired of spiritual philosophy there. In 2006, he stayed in USA with the support of Asian Cultural Council. He participated in Pappa TARAHUMARA's productions such as “Gulliver and Swift”, “Punk Don Quixote”, “SNOW WHITE”.
Sachiko Shirai (Japan)
She started ballet when she was 7 years old. In 1982, she joined ballet school. She studied under Asami Maki. Graduated from Japan Women’s College of Physical Education. Studied pantomime under Junzo Ohta. In 1989, she joined Pappa TARAHUMARA. Since then, she participated in almost all performances of the company in Japan and abroad. She played the role of Cinderella in "Cinderella", the role of the second sister in "Three Sisters", and the role of stepmother in "Snow White". She joined performances in 35 countries, and her performances have received much acclaim all over the world.
Phon Sopheap (Pheap) (Cambodia)
Studied Lakhaon Kaol (Cambodian male masked dance) and completed his training in 2000. He has toured internationally as a classical dancer. With a strong interest in contemporary dance, he joined numerous regional dance workshops including the Young Choreographer’s Workshop in Surabaya in July 2006 as an Asian Cultural Council recipient where he created his first contemporary solo work entitled “A Monkey’s Mask”. Since then, he has toured internationally in works by Emmanuèle Phuon, Peter Chin and Arco Renz and was recently a featured performer in a new work of dance theater at Theater Aachen entitled “Tomorrow Maybe” by German director Ludger Engels.
Chumvan Sodhachivy (Belle) (Cambodia)
She began training in Cambodian classical dance in 1994 focusing mainly on the male role of the all female classical court form but is also proficient in Cambodian folk dance and shadow puppetry. Eager to develop her contemporary creative skills, she was accepted into Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center 2006 International Summer Arts Program. Since then, she has participated in numerous contemporary dance workshops around the world and has been a featured dancer in works by Emmanuèle Phuon, Peter Chin, Arco Renz and others which have toured internationally. She has choreographed many of her own works and most recently was a featured dancer in Stravinsky’s Persephone directed by Peter Sellars at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
Khon Chansithika (Mo) (Cambodia)
He began his training in Lakhaon Kaol (Cambodian classical male masked dance) in 2002, focusing on the role of the monkey and completed his training in 2011. Throughout his studies, he performed extensively with the Sovanna Phum Khmer Association, an independent dance and puppetry theater in Phnom Penh where he was given numerous opportunities to participate in contemporary dance workshops. He was a featured performer in new works by Khmer / French choreographer Emmanuèle Phuon and Indonesian artist Eko Supriyanto and has toured throughout Southeast Asia and most recently was a featured dancer in Stravinsky’s Persephone directed by Peter Sellars at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
Khiev Sovannarith(Tonh) (Cambodia)
He started training in Lakhaon Khaol (Cambodian male masked dance) in 1991 at the Secondary School of Fine Arts, graduating in 2000. He furthered his studies at the Faculty of Choreographic Arts of the Royal University of Fine Arts in 2005 and graduated in 2011. During the course of his studies, he performed extensively in both classical and contemporary works. He was also trained in Khmer traditional martial arts. He has been featured in numerous works by Amrita Performing Arts including Revitalising Monkeys and Giants by Pichet Klunchun, Khmeropedies III by Emmanuèle Phuon, as well as a new Cambodian play Breaking the Silence by Annemarie Prins.
Lee Swee Keong (Malaysia)
Swee keong studies different techniques and philosophies including Buddism, Taoism, Yoga, Qi Gong , Contemporary Dance and Butoh. He is an artistic director and the founder of nyoba Kan, Malaysia’s only Butoh dance company, and organizing ""nyoba Kan Butoh festival Kuala Lumpur"". He is regular nominee and winner of 'The Cameronian Arts Awards '( Malaysia performing Arts Awards ). His creation included The Curse of fobidden Palace, Catan Kulit , The Green Snake and etc. Also he has been invited and performed oversea such as;
.North West American Asian Arts programme ( USA )
.Pappa TARAHUMARA ( Japan )
.Unlock Dancing Plaza ( Hong kong China )
.Cie Heddy Maleen , europe tour ( France ) and etc.
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