The first theatrical event of 2008 promises to tickle the analytical part of your brain while shaking your belly with laughter.
In the opening scene of the Presnyakov Brothers' sardonic play "Terrorism", which had its world premiere at the Moscow Art Theatre in 2002, three men arrive at an airport only to find out that it is closed. They ponder whether two suitcases left on the runway will explode while wondering if they will ever be able to get on their flight.
Next is a bedroom scene, in which two adulterous lovers have a playful romp that turns into a mind-and-body game.
A different tone is set as a group of workers in a dehumanising office react hysterically to a shocking piece of news about a colleague.
Another scene depicts two elderly women on a park bench watching a little boy at play while they talk about poisoning unpleasant family members.
Later, the audience is taken to a locker room where a bomb squad in varying states of undress bullies one of their peers.
When the English version of this dark, witty comedy opened at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2002, The Times critic wrote: "Though this play is indeed very funny, its topic is very serious. One of its central messages is the importance of scale, of dealing with one's own problems before delving into the lives of others. Terrorism and meddling are separated by a very fine line, and the one spills over into the other all too often."
Bhanbhassa Dhubthien echoes this in her production of "Prasad Taek" (literally, "nerves break"), which she translates from "Terrorism". The veteran director, who earned her Master of Fine Arts from the New School Actors Studio in New York City before impressing Thai audiences with "Animal Farm" in 2006, says: "The play's message is that whatever we do has effects on people around us, even though we're not aware of it. 'Prasad Taek' will simultaneously tickle your funny bones and shock you.
"It's a dark comedy, so it's both comical and intense. I have to keep a good balance. Also, my homework is to do research on our contemporary society and its effects on us. I have to tone down the violence in some scenes so that it's at the level that the Thai audience can take."
The play comprises loosely connected vignettes, which makes it difficult to direct, Bhanbhassa says. "It's like directing a new play every day when we're in a different scene with a different group of actors. The most challenging task at the end is to put them altogether."
Leading the cast is Sirinuch Petchurai (aka "Kru Koi AF4"). "Academy Fantasia" fans take note: she is performing that aforementioned bedroom scene.
"I'm very satisfied with my cast members all of whom are very dedicated," says Bhanbhassa. "They're of various backgrounds and experiences. It's especially fun working with Sirinuch, who's a student in our master's programme. She's worked a lot on stage and in TV dramas and comedies. Working with her is like sharing our experiences back and forth. She's a true professional and fits this role perfectly. Even though the role needs considerable amount of boldness, she never hesitates, but plunges herself in fully without any complaints.
"It's also an honour to work with another two veteran actresses Neeranuj Pattamasuit and Nalinee Sitasuwan who are portraying very tough roles [in the park bench scene]."
Bhanbhassa sums up, "It's much fun, quite raw, a little sexy here, and a little graphic there. But you'll be in various moods and emotions throughout the course of this play."
"Prasad Taek" runs from January 18 to February 3 at Tadu Contemporary Art in the Barcelona Motors Building on Tiamruammit Road near the Thailand Cultural Centrer. Showtimes are at 7pm from Friday to Sunday and 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. There will be 15 performances in all. Tickets are Bt250 (Bt150 for students), available at CU Book Centre in Siam Square or by calling (02) 218 4802.
For more details, see "prasadtaek.multiply.com"
written by Pawit Mahasarinand;
published in The Nation on Friday, January 11, 2008
Special thanks to Sasinan Bunyaratabandhu for all photos.
"If you are not member, please register to comment.
It take only a few steps."
member sign in | member register