Theatre of Cambodia
The Theatre of Cambodia literally known as Lakhaon or the realm of traditional Khmer dramatic performances is large and composed of many different genres. There are three main categories: classical, folk, and modern. Many forms of theatre in Cambodia incorporate dance movement into performances and are referred to as dance dramas.
Lakhaon Poul Srei is the female version of Lakhaon Khaol (classical male masked theater), which literally translates as 'female narration'. Both forms combine classical theater and dance and are accompanied by the traditional pin peat orchestra. Unlike Lakhaon Khaol, which uses a separate group of narrators, Lakhaon Poul Srei dancers take turns narrating while other members continue to dance. The dancers often lift their masks and narrate directly to the audience.
It is believed shadow leather originated in Cambodia probably in the pre-Angkor period. Based on the evidence, for example, the stone inscription (K.155) at Kuk Roka, Kampong Thom from the pre-Angkor period, which describes woman puppeteers in a performance using figures in a ceremony invoking Sarasvati, the goddess of learning and the arts. This confirms the use of small puppet images in religious ceremonies. Based on this inscription, we believe that Khmer puppets originated in the pre-Angkor period (9th Century).