Mandalay

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The Moustache Brothers enjoy a certain amount of notoriety in the West due to the continuing political nature of their humour.  This landed them in trouble in 1996 when U Lu Zaw (left) and U Par Par Lay (right) were sentenced to 7 years imprisonment with hard lobour for the first two years.  Their crime was to tell a  joke at the governments expense during independence day celebrations outside the home of Aung San Suu Kyi.  

Recently re-united it is a privilege to visit their little Theatre.

The Stand up (well ok sitting down) comedian, Lu Maw goes through his opening routine.

We weren't sure what to expect from the Moustache Brothers .  I anticipated a certain amount of political comedy but did not realize that they are a family Pwe troupe.   

Pwe being a theatrical production, a blend of traditional music, dance, drama and improvisation on the news of the day.  It is performed all over Myanmar at many social and monastic functions as well as at theatres such as the one in the front of the Mustache Bros. home.

The brothers are allowed to continue to perform as long as they do not tour and that they only perform for foreign independent tourists (F.I.T.'s ) and foreign residents.

 

Lu Maw our master of ceremonies speaks good English, quickly determining the nationality of his audience,  he peppers his performance with appropriate asides for everyone.  He is justifiable proud of his lovely wife a talented classical dancer whose face graces the current Italian issue of the Lonely Planet Guide to Myanmar.  

 

Family members were introduced and costumes and gestures explained before each act.  We couldn't help but pick up a little insight into the political situation either.  

At around the time of our visit a local radio station had taken to calling U Par Par Lay for his joke of the day!

Do look them up if you are in Mandalay and if you have pens, cosmetics, soap etc to 'trade' they may have a deal for you.

 

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