INTIMACY and EMOTION amid the RAZZMATAZZ
written by Jasmine Baker
published in THE NATION on Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Thanks to the muscle of their marketing budget, we got endless reports on what has been happening inside Muangthai Rachadalai Theatre—Myria “Nat” Benedetti flying to and fro over the stage, for example.
Away from the hype, however, were two small-scale productions, both with English surtitle translations, taking place at intimate performance spaces. They may not be flawless but, for more laid-back theatregoers, they are a breath of fresh air.
At the thirty-seater Crescent Moon Space was Dujdao Vadhapakorn’s follow-up to “Something Else”, her successful directorial debut. In her new work “Left Out”, Dujdao once again made use of her skills as a registered dance movement therapist to unleash the creativity of the performers (herself included).
Addressing the stories often left out of conversations amongst women, Dujdao upended the scenery to invite the audience to explore new perspectives. Hung from the ceiling were a table, a pair of stools, and countless dolls. It made a striking composition.
Though the only two live performers were Dujdao and her collaborator, Silpathorn Award-winning actress Sineenadh Keiparapai, young Apichaya Somboon, appearing in a short film footage projected onto the wall, was a vital character who brought an extra dimension to the show. Apichaya was chatty and inquisitive, but her words were always ignored. The film, so dark the spectators could hardly see her face, contributed symbolically to the fact that the little girl was left alone in her own world.
Representing reticent female adults who have been socially conditioned to repress their feelings, Dujdao and Sineenadh never spoke once throughout the play and could only express their agony and frustration though their bodies. Dujdao’s discomfort in dealing with sexual matters led to a scene in which she furiously wrote taboo words on a black board and moved alongside the images of blooming flowers. Sineenadh, as a mother, relived her pain in childbirth while wandering blankly on stage.
The two were dynamic, but on the down side, their movements were extremely monotonous. Stronger dance basics or an experienced choreographer, perhaps, would have helped them live up truly to the performance’s billing as “a combination of dance, film and mind”.