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Myanmar (Burma): Moustache Brothers

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Moustache Brothers | Myanmar (Burma) | Asia

[Visited: March 2006]

The story of the Moustache Brothers is amazing for most foreigners. The developed into a troupe critical of the Burmese government, and when they told some politically sensitive jokes about Burmese generals in 1996, Par Par Lay and Lu Zaw, two of the three Brothers were taken by the police, and sentenced to no less than 7 years of jail. Even though international protests started soon, they were not released until 2002. Meanwhile, Lu Maw, the one remaining Brother continued a show with his wife.

Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Moustache Brothers Lu Zaw, Lu Maw, Par Par Lay

After their release, the Moustache Brothers cautiously started to perform again, albeit only in English and only at the home of Lu Maw. That is where they still continue their vaudeville shows every evening. The streets in the neighbourhood are dark, but it is not difficult to spot the home as there is a huge sign on the house. Basically, the theatre is the ground level living room, and as you come in, you are welcomed personally by all Brothers. It came almost as a shock to me to shake hands with very sympathetic guys whom had been in prison for such a long time. They just ask you where you are from and then give you a publication in your own language about their show.

Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Performer of the Moustache Brothers dressed up in traditional clothes

The show of the Moustache Brothers is a collection of all kinds of theatre, and unfortunately, the satire is only a minor part. Lu Maw repeats some jokes until the end of the show, and otherwise there is a large part of traditional dance, as well as interaction with the audience. The performers are right there in front of your eyes, as the room is small and can accomodate some twenty spectators. Sometimes the show is funny, but then it can also be tender, and moving. After the show, you can have a closer look at the walls, where you can find pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi who saw the show, newspaper articles, marionettes, and much more. A truly unique experience.

Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Lu Maw, one of the Moustache Brothers, speaks English well and is the showmaster
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Par Par Lay of the Moustache Brothers posing in traditional Burmese dress
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Moustache Brother Par Par Lay giving some rhythm to the show
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Ni Ni Lin, wife of Lu Maw during one of her performances
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Ni Ni Lin, wife of Moustache Brother Lu Maw, in another traditional dance
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Dancer in Burmese traditional costume with Lu Maw on stage for the Moustache Brothers
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Three women performing in Burmese traditional dress for the Moustache Brothers
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Lu Maw of the Moustache Brother cracking one of his jokes
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Most of the Moustache Brothers troupe on stage
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Lu Maw preparing the TV to show a fragment in which Hugh Grant mentions his brother
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Moustache Brothers fame on display on the wall of the performing room
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): The only Moustache Brother without a real moustache, Lu Zaw performs with a fake one
Picture of Moustache Brothers (Myanmar (Burma)): Lu Zaw of the Moustache Brothers getting his pink turban ready

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