Performing Arts

A New Cambodian Play: Breaking The Silence 

For all of the mothers who raised their children with an empty hand, without shoes, without education, who rebuilt this country after the Khmer Rouge collapsed in 1979.

There has been a long silence in this country regarding the Khmer Rouge era, a silence that has lasted for decades and kept alive by fear, pain, and politics. In recent years however, there have been solid efforts to end this silence in form of legal justice, outreach programs and forthcoming genocide education in high schools in Cambodia. While each measure is valuable for the country’s healing process, there needs also to be measures which focus on the emotional and psychological components of reconciliation and healing. This is where art can make a significant contribution. Cambodian people are very artistic and it is their way of life. The Khmer Rouge have killed many artists but not the artistry of the Cambodian people. It is our soul. This play, “Breaking the Silence” is the most powerful play since the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.

It is a play which seeks to break Cambodia’s silence, as evident by its title. It is a play about the Cambodian people, their suffering, anger, and courage to move on no matter the circumstances. Khmer Rouge victims are emotionally broken people living in a broken society; a people without souls or that our souls are wandering around. I have found our soul in this play, “Breaking the Silence.” This play is very important for all Cambodians to see and hear. It will help restore our dignity and humanity and lift up our morality. It will also help our children to better understand their country. It is my hope that this play, and future plays like it, will have a prominent role in the rebuilding of Cambodian society.