Weekend School EVERY DAY at Vic Hua Hin!

Whoever heard of a Weekend School that happens every day? Well, that is exactly what they are doing at the Vic Hua Hin through 13 November.

With the Bangkok floods enforcing an extended stay in our fair city for many families, not to mention the high-season crowds starting to gather, there’s a shortage of suitable activities particularly during the week.

So ‘Kru Lek’ Patravadi, with her faculty and staff of Vic Hua Hin and Patravadi High School are stepping in with their unique and wonderful workshops that run every weekend throughout the year. Until 13th November  these will run every day from 10 am to 4 pm with:

  • Art classes including clay sculpture, painting, and batik
  • Acrobat training,
  • Singing and instrumental music
  • Dance, including movement, contemporary dance, and social latin dancing for adults

There’s something for everyone. Minimum age is 4 years. No maximum

Daily Class Schedule (through 13 November):

  • Body Control: 10 am – 11 am:
  • Art Classes (Clay sculpting, painting, batik): 10 am – 4 pm:
  • Acrobat for children: 11 am – 12 am:
  • Singing class for children under 10 years of age: 1 pm – 2 pm:
  • Acrobat for children: 2 pm – 3 pm,
  • Singing class for adults: 3 pm – 4 pm:
  • Latin Dance: Friday 5 pm;  Saturday 10 am and 2 pm; Sunday 10 am.

For More Information

Call 032 827 814-5 or visit http://vichuahin.com for information on the school and the many wonderful performances coming up in the theater in the next two months.

Or just drop in. The Vic is located between central Hua Hin and Khao Tao/Pranburi, just 1/2 kilometer South of the railway overpass, on the right -hand side.

Look for the big black building and you can’t miss. But careful turning into the driveway, though. Cars go fast on that stretch, in both directions.

No matter you are thinking about enjoying arts for fun and pleasure, exposing children to nurture their creative minds, catching glimpses of Thai culture during your trip or aspiring to develop yourself professionally as an artist, Vic Hua Hin Weekend School will be an ideal choice.

Vic Hua Hin Weekend School is founded by Patravadi Mejudhon, guru of performing arts in Thailand, to gather artists and professional teachers from various artistic disciplines and give invaluable knowledge to anyone who interested in the arts. Long-term and short-term courses are available. The School can also create custom programs for your specific needs of individuals or groups.

State of the Art Live Theatre FREE!

Kru ‘Lek’ Patravadi at the the Vic Hua Hin theatre has just announced that there will be a free performance of the award-winning ‘Phra Lor’ on Saturday 23 April at 07:30, to kick off a 10-city US tour. If you haven’t seen ‘Phra Lor’, you simply must. And at these prices there’s just no excuse.

Phra Lor Recital

Phra Lor is a famous Thai Epic, a love story of three lovers all written in poetry by one of the kings in Ayudhya period. About a charming and handsome prince with his two beautiful admirers. Many songs were written using the poetry from this book as lyrics and they have touched the hearts of the nation for centuries. Today we would like to present some of them with new interpretation by the new generation of Thai musicians on Thai and western musical instruments.

Only one performance, free of charge. Donations will be collected to support Chaipattana Foundation.

For more informations please call Vic Hua Hin: 032-827-814 to 815

Venue of the Week: Vic Hua Hin Theatre

The Vic Hua Hin Theatre and Performing Arts Center opened in January 2010, a project of Patravadi Mejudhon of Patravadi Theatre in Bangkok. It is a large (30 rai or 12 acres) and impressive complex located approximately 4 km South of downtown Hua Hin.

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The Vic Hua Hin complex includes:

1. The Vic Hua Hin Theatre, a state-of-the-art facility with 320 seats and standing capacity up to about 400 persons.

2. The ‘Flower Dome’ (Dome Dokmai) outdoor performance space, with full theatrical lighting and a 4-channel sound system.

3. The Arts Camp, a unique sculptured residence area with single and double bungalows plus a sizable group-stay space.

4. Classrooms, shops, dormitories, libraries, studios, offices, and so forth.



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Overview of the Hua Hin Music Scene

Monday night jam at Ray's Place restaurant

With articles already posted on different music scenes in Hua Hin and Cha-Am, it’s time to get a view of the live music scene here as a whole. 

Jazz Jam Scene

Hua Hin is now well-known for it high-season jam scene. Starting early November, a few restaurants and clubs in central Hua Hin and in Cha-Am host weekly evening open jams. The original jam started around 2004 (none of us can remember exactly) with Monday night jams at Ray’s Place, one block South of the Night Market in Hua Hin. Over the years, these have become massively popular. To catch the overflow, Ray’s adds Thursday nights during the peak weeks. On Wednesday nights, jams occur at Chez LouLou, next to the 7-11 store by the railway station. Sunday nights belong to Baan Chang, Soi 8 North in Cha-Am. That’s up to 4 open jam sessions every week in high season. But come April, it all packs up and dies off until the next year. Enjoy while you can.

Besides the open jams, Coco 51 restaurant features light jazz with dinner throughout the year. In high season, Baan Chang features piano-based jazz and pop by owner Nissa Nyberget and his house band. And of course, we have the Hua Hin International Jazz Festival to look forward to once each year. 

The Festival Scene

Partly because of its location in easy range of Bangkok, Hua Hin is a popular place for music festivals and special concerts, including the prestigious Hua Hin International Jazz Festival each June. 

In the last 3 seasons, Honda Summer Festival in April has drawn huge crowds to Khao Takiab (and snarling traffic everywhere else). Cha-Am is now in the action with Reggae On The Rock, the second of which occurs July 31. Both festivals feature top bands from Thailand’s active Reggae and Ska genres. 

A couple of times a year, typically, we around Hua Hin/Cha-Am are also treated to special concerts, usually staged at  one of the large resorts. This past season, our most notable such show was held at the Springfield Resort with headliners Tokyo Spa Paradise Orchestra, The Cat Empire from Australia, and additional artists from Japan and Peru. 

In January and Febuary of 2010, Hua Hin got a shot in the arm when Patravadi’s Fringe Festival Hua Hin opened her brand-new Vic Hua Hin Theatre. Unlike the one-day or weekend-long jazz and reggae festivals, the Fringe Festival takes place over 5 successive weekends, and also unlike those festivals, it isn’t free. But tickets are sensibly priced and the festival sets a new benchmark for originality and eclecticism in Hua Hin, with world-class performances in cutting-edge theatre, dance, and music in a wonderful performance space. Watch for it again in 2011. 

Besides these large festivals and commercial concerts, Hua Hin has a regular schedule of local and muncipal shows and festivals throughout the year, including live music and picnicking every Friday night at The Queen’s Garden park, next to the 19 Rai fairgrounds. Three or four times a year, sizable weeklong festivals are held at the 19 Rai or other locations. These feature nightly Thai popular entertainment, but these are of variable quality. The Thai Culture Festival in December is notable as well. 

Classical, Original, and Eclectic Music Scenes

Western classical music is a vanishingly small presence in Hua Hin, with one big exception. Each April, Silapakorn University  Music Faculty stages its very prestigious Summer Music School at its Hua Hin campus. Attendees are full-time students, practising professional players, and serious non-pros, auditioning competitively for just 80 slots. Reportedly, over 1,000 persons apply, so the caliber of those who make it is very high. This elite group spends a full week in rehearsal for a series of free concerts at the Dusit Thani Resort in Hua Hin, and then again in Bangkok. 2010 saw two evenings of really high caliber chamber, symphonic, and choral music at the Dusit. The symphonic and choral performance that I saw was massive and wonderfully performed. Very notable was 12-year old piano soloist Gun Chaikittiwatana. Young Gun is a remarkable talent and already impressively accomplished. Here’s video of a part of the Bangkok performance of the showcase piece I heard at the Dusit. 

Unfortunately for the rest of the year, live western classical music is confined to very occasional events and a few hotel lobby acts with a partly classical repertoire.  Thai classical music can be found throughout the year, but often as background music. Performances at the Sasi Dinner Theatre include live classical music, and the shows produced at Patravadi’s Vic Hua Hin often have music scores based on Thai classical. Often these are quite experimental, combining the music with other genres. The annual Thai Culture Festival is another opportunity to hear the music presented in a serious fashion. 

Original compositions, whether popular or classical, are still a rarity. the big exception is the music performed in conjunction with the theatrical productions at the Vic Hua Hin. The shows always have an original score, often quite innovative. Some productions to date (notable Eclipse and Phra Lor) have made music a principle focus.  During the Fringe Festival, there are additional original performances by in-house and guest performers and groups. 

Hua Hin’s “eclectic” music scene currently consists of just one performing unit, the Hua Hin Sound Cloud Project. The project is a collaborative cross-genre unit that delves into electronica, new-age, ragtime, Chinese opera, Thai pop, etc. performed with electronic piano, accordion, and laptop computer. The project group frequently performs at Baan Sillapin Artist Village and at  Vic Hua Hin

Thai Popular Music

There are many places to hear Thai popular music of one sort or another in Hua Hin. As an extremely popular weekend resort, Hua Hin’s Thai restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs serve a local and Bangkok visiting audience with diverse tastes and experienced ears. Without going into detail about the many genres of Thai popular music, the shows in Hua Hin’s venues divide up between loud/soft and new/old. ‘Acoustic’ Thai pop, often referred to as Folk, is very prevalent in restaurants, small pubs, and as warmup in larger Thai music clubs. Much louder electric music predominates in a relative handful of active music clubs. Vintage styles such as Luk Tung  (Thai Country) and Peau Chiwit (Songs for Life) predominate in Hua Hin’s older clubs, such as Luk Nam and Smorieng. More contemporary styles, such as Thai Bossa and Ska, can be found at an increasing number of venues that cater to Bangkok weekend crowd, including Absorba, Hi4, and the new Thonglor Pub

Western Popular Music

Western popular music is found mostly in clubs catering to foreigners, but also at times in venues with mainly Thai clientele. For Classic Rock, head for El Murphy’s. For lounge type standards, the new Leelawadee Club is a good bet. Other venues include hotel lounges (Hilton, Centara). In high season, other venues become active to serve the much large number of Westerners on hand.

Theatre Review: “Chailai Goes to War”

What?: Solo performance by Khun “Kuck” (Wannasak Sirilar) with music and supporting chorus

Where?: Vic Hua Hin Theatre

When?: Every Saturday evening (until further notice) at 7:30 pm

How much?: Tickets are 400 and 600 baht, with student discount of 50%. Preschoolers go free.

Arts Guide Rating: 5 stars *****. This is great stuff.

The ‘Chailai’ story is a true incident of Thai history, interpreted here in a performance that is contemporary and traditional at the same time. The time is the wars between Ayutthaya Kingdom and the Kingdom of Burma.  With the war raging, a young Thai orphan named Dokrak is required to prove himself by infiltrating enemy lines to gather intelligence.

 To achieve this, Dokrak uses magic to transform himself into a beautiful woman, becoming the femme fatale ‘Chailai’. Chailai successfully penetrates the enemy camp, gaining vital information from an unsuspecting Burmese general. However, her superiors in the Thai army do not believe in the loyalty of this rootless, young (and now permanently transgendered) person, and ignore her information. Chailai fights valiantly with the Thai army, but loses her life as the Kingdom falls.

This staging of the Chailai story carries two messages for contemporary Thai society. One is a bit of historical precedent for Thai culture’s famously flexible approach to gender identity. The ladyboy thing does have roots. A little more subtly, the tale illustrates what can happen to a society when its members are disunited and come to distrust one another. The lesson for recent events could not be clearer.

 Khun Kuck is a remarkable performer, and ‘Chailai Goes to War’ is a must-see if solely to watch him transform himself, not only as the male Dokrak and female Chailai, but as mother, grandmother, sibling, Thai, enemy officer, etc. This is a gifted individual, and it’s a great ride.

 The supporting performers, students of Patravadi High School, are a revelation. These are ordinary Thai teenagers, most of whom have never been on a stage. As a group they acquit themselves with energy and aplomb. This is a student body to be watched. I do not doubt that there will be future stars emerging here.

 Also a star of the performance is the Patravadi Theatre’s highly innovative approach to staging. The set is quite abstract, but lends itself to the show’s needs. Visual projections support the production wonderfully.

Dialog in Chailai is entirely in Thai language. Title cards in English are projected to help the non-Thai audience follow the story. Still, if you’re not fluent in the Thai language you’ll have to accept missing a lot of detail. However, Khun Kuck is a superb mime, and you cannot miss the meaning in many scenes, nor his wonderful physical presence. Bite the bullet, and go! It’s simply astounding that we have this level of contemporary theatre happening in our little community.

‘Chailai Goes to War’ is on an indefinite run, with performances each Saturday night at 7:30 at the Vic Hua Hin. The Vic is located on Petchkasem Road at approximately Soi 114, just over the flyway going towards Pranburi and about 3 kilometers south of downtown. Look for the signs for ‘Vic Hua Hin’ and also “Patravadi High School Hua Hin’. Ticket prices range from 500 to 1,000 baht and go to benefit the school’s scholarship fund. Students attend for half-price, and younger children go free with their parents.

As an aside, victuals (and often warm-up acts) are available in the plaza outside the theatre starting around 6 pm. The main food service is absolutely delicious (and healthy) Mediterranean cuisine from Sunshine Kitchen of Bangkok. It’s a special treat, and a steal at just 250 baht per plate.