‘Voice of Burma’ comes to Byron Bay
Billed as a night of liberating satire that critics call “transformational theatre”, “existential entertainment” and “serious comedy that ignites conscience and activism”, Clements’ shows are benefits to raise awareness of Aung San Suu Kyi – Burma’s imprisoned Nobel peace laureate.
Clements was the first American to be ordained as a Burmese Buddhist monk.
He lived in a monastery in Burma through the late 1970s and 80s.
During this time he was frequently thrown out of the country by the xenophobic regime and in 1996 was branded “an enemy of the state” and “permanently blacklisted” from re-entering the country.
Clements has written and spoken extensively on Burma’s non-violent struggle for freedom. His first book, ‘Burma: The Next Killing Fields?’, served as the template for the feature film, ‘Beyond Rangoon’, and his Byron Bay show coincides with the Australian release of his newly updated and revised, internationally acclaimed book, ‘The Voice of Hope – Conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi’ (Random House) and its companion volume, ‘Instinct for Freedom: A Maverick’s Guide to Spiritual Revolution’ (Hodder House).
Clements’ transformation from Buddhist monk and meditation teacher to maverick-activist and the stage, with his satirical brand of revolutionary theatre, was inspired, in part, by his participation in an “Independence Day celebration of freedom” at Aung San Suu Kyi’s Rangoon compound with hundreds of her fellow activists.
He was awed by the moral courage of a particular performer, U Par Lay, and his troupe, who gave a performance humorously satirising Burma’s Big Brother despite having just been released from six years imprisonment and knowing they would be rearrested.
“It was my ‘holy shit moment’,” Clements said.
Tickets for the Saturday night show can be bought online at www.ChrisHooper.com.au, at the Community Centre box office or by phone on 6685-6807.