Waves of womanhood
By Pawit Mahasarinand
Special to The Nation
Published on June 1, 2011
The poignancy gets watered down in the solo performances of 'I Sea'
As "FLOTsam" began last week at the Crescent Moon Space, actress Farida Jiraphan filled the performance area with plastic bags, danced happily to Joey Boy's "Salawan" and "Loi Thale", and invited people from the audience to join her.
Then she produced a rock-like box to dance on, but fell off. The lighting changed abruptly, and when Farida re-emerged from behind the box, her movements expressed what she's experienced in life.
In "ChANge" - the other part of the double bill titled "I Sea" - Silpathorn artist Sineenadh Keitprapai, artistic director of the Crescent Moon Theatre, wore white body powder and a white wedding gown.
Saxophonist Kosit Singchalerm played "Love Potion No 9", "Music Box Lullaby" and Phillip Glass' "Mad Rush". Sineenadh's corresponding movements, like Farida's, took us through different struggles experienced by Thai women.
These two women are better known as actresses rather than dancers, and their talent made it easy to empathise with what they were feeling. But at the same time, their wordless performances would have been more poignant and less melancholic had they collaborated with choreographers.
Solo performance is a significant trend in contemporary dance and theatre, but it doesn't mean one artist has to do everything on his or her own.
Motion-graphic designers Taechit Jiropaskosol and Wattanapume Laisuwanchai, who've collaborated with many different theatre groups recently, projected captivating visuals on the back wall, and lighting designer Tawit Keitprapai helped shift the mood both subtly and sharply.
These visual elements always supported the performance and never "stole the show".
"I Sea" ended its short run on Sunday, but its strong visual and aural imagery lasted much longer, like waves continuing to reach the shore. They are unpredictable - soothing yet doubtful. You don't know whether bigger, more destructive wave might hit.
There were few dance and theatre works onstage in recent months, but our evenings are getting much busier.
Scenario's "Tawiphob: The Musical" opened on Wednesday at the Muangthai Rachadalai Theatre, re-staged with two new leads. Opening tonight at M Theatre's Blue Box Studio is Life Theatre's "Green Concerto".
Next up is B-Floor Theatre's "Flu-Fool", starting on July 13 at the Poonsuk Banomyong Auditorium. The New Theatre Society's Thai version of Harold Pinter's "Betrayal" begins on July 21 at Democrazy Theatre Studio.
The day after that, 4Daruma's "Phu Ying Khang Khang" opens at the Crescent Moon Space. Rounding out the month will be "Directed by Janaprakal", Pichet Klunchun's tribute to his teacher and fellow Silpathorn artist, Janaprakal "Khru Chang" Chandruang, at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.
Meanwhile the Bangkok Theatre Network is gearing up for the Bangkok Theatre Festival by hosting free discussions every other Saturday afternoon with 10 directors, all veterans of previous festivals.
Last Saturday Pradit Prasartthong, the festival's first artistic director, shared his thoughts. On July 9 it's the turn of Nikorn Saetang, artistic director of Theatre 8X8.
The talks are at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Get the details at www.BangkokTheatreNetwork.com or the "BTN" Facebook page.