‘Chui Chai (Transformation)’

…gorgeous from start to finish.” — The New York Times

Click here for a slideshow of images

On Saturday 11 September, Vic Hua Hin Theatre presented a major work by Kon master and modernizer Pichet Klunchun and his dance company. ‘Chui Chai’ (Transformation) presents classical Thai Kon dance drama to explore the interface of Thailand’s contemporary society with its traditional culture.

The ‘Nang Loi’ (Floating Lady) episode of the Ramayana epic provides the basis of Klunchun’s interpretive and reflective work. In this episode, demon maiden Benyakai is ordered by her uncle Todsakarn, the demon king, to transform herself into Sita, the wife of his King Rama. The task of transformation is almost impossible, but Benyakai obliges…

Pichet Klunchun’s meditation highlights the difficulty of Benyakai’s transformation. Benyakai’s task of transformation becomes an emblem for Thailand’s strenuous passage into modernity. At one level, he represents the changes in Thai society from Ayudhya period to the present by various dance forms. At the same time, uncertainties and doubts about the nation’s changes become an undercurrent to the work, provoking thoughts about the identity of Thailand and its people.

In the Vic’s production, effective use is made of projected explanatory titles in English to afford access to the abstruse art forms and story line that Thai audiences likely take as given. This bridging of Thai content for an international audience and the exploration of Thai traditional forms in modern contexts have become hallmarks of the Vic Hua Hin’s cutting edge theatrical presentations.

Chui Chai will have two more performances in Hua Hin on 18 and 25 September at 7:30 pm. This is a show not to be missed. From 6 pm, dinner is available in the area outside the theatre, and there are performances by students of the remarkable Patravadi High School. Ballroom dancing sometimes follows.

Vic Hua Hin Theatre is located on Petchkasem Road, about 3 km south of Hua Hin city center. Proceed south and then bear right to take the ‘flyover‘ towards Pranburi and Prachuab Khirikhan. Vic Hua Hin is on the right-hand side about 500 meters after the flyover. Watch for the entrance driveway, and be careful making the turn, as traffic is swift in both directions.

Tickets are priced at 1000, 800, and 500 baht. Students receive a 50% discount and preschoolers attend free. The Vic’s phone number is 032-827-814. More information is available on the Vic’s web site at http://www.vichuahin.com.


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