Burma / Myanmar: New censorship restrictions on traditional dance troupes
In order to weed out vulgar jokes about government officials and ministries, all Burmese traditional dance troupes who wish to make a video of a performance are required to perform a full-dress rehearsal in front of censorship board officials three days prior to a performance.
This was reported by Mizzima News on 13 July 2011.
The new policy came about after the play ‘Rose Lord’, directed by Maung Myo Min, was released, according to Maung Thi.
Mizzima News quotes Myint Thein Pe, the chairman of Myanmar Motion Picture Enterprise, who said that if the troupe intends to make a video, the full-dress rehearsal must be performed in order to weed out vulgar jokes about government officials and ministries and culturally inappropriate costumes.
“For the sake of Burmese culture” “They need to perform a full-dress rehearsal in front of us three or four days prior to the actual stage performance. Then we will tell them which parts are unacceptable,” Myint Thein Pe told Mizzima:
“We will examine their jokes and clothes. We will not allow them to say rude jokes. In the past, they submitted their videos to the censorship board prior to the release of a video and sometimes we had to censor, so they suffered losses. That’s why we have demanded a full-dress rehearsal.
“Some jokes are culturally inappropriate,” he said. “The jokes and pictures in stage performances will cease to exist after the performance. But, if they make a video, the jokes and pictures can exist permanently. So we do this for the sake of Burmese culture.”
In the past, traditional dance troupes also had to perform rehearsals in front of the censor board, but there was no need to perform an exact full-dress rehearsal. In the actual stage performances, the jokes usually became more racy and critical and the costumes were sometimes considered risqué, according to Myint Thein Pe. He said that some dance troupes did not follow the board’s instructions, so their videos were censored.
To scrutinize Burmese traditional performances, the censorship board includes not only MMPE officials but also officials from music, dance and literature associations, according to Chit Oo Nyo, the MMPE vice chairman.