It was Oscar Wilde who famously said that life imitates art.
But left in the hands of Improhok, a French-language comedy troupe based in Phnom Penh, Wilde’s observation gets a decidedly Parisian twist: Theater just doesn’t imitate art: it has a deep, soul-satisfying laugh at art’s expense.
Improhok performs “Alors, c’est ça?” (“So This Is It?”) on Friday, June 18 at The FCC Phnom Penh. The six-act play centers on an astounding yet unseen painting — the “it” in So This is It?
“There are six strange, funny, delirious scenes,” says Jean-Marie Coquard, a teacher at Lycée Descartes in Phnom Penh and one of Improhok’s eight members. “Each one occurs in a singular place and makes a story by itself. But they all have the painting in common, and the six scenes make a whole story.”
“With an astonishing end!” he promises.
Improhok, a combination of the words “improvisation” and “prahok,” came together in 2009. Comprised of teachers from Lycée Descartes and other Phnom Penh-based expats, the troupe will be making its debut performance in June.
In addition to The FCC show, Improhok will also perform “Alors, c’est ça?” at Chinese House on June 11 and Equinox on June 19.
The six-act play, which begins at The FCC at 8:30 p.m., runs for about an hour and a half. Entrance is free.
Even though the play is in French, Coquard says non-speakers should also see the humor.
“French theater,” he says with characteristic wit, “is funnier when you can’t understand.”