With Crescent Moon Theatre's actors and Kae Dam Dam's puppeteers pulling the strings, puppets conspire to bring about world peace.
Silpathorn laureate Sineenadh "Nad" Keitprapai, artistic director of Crescent Moon Theatre (Phra Chan Siew Kan Lakorn), has long been a fan of the puppet-theatre troupe Kae Dam Dam (literally "blackish sheep"), and was keen to collaborate.
“His string puppets are very human-like, and Vasin has an extraordinary care of them either when he performs or conducts a workshop.”
She helped Kae Dam Dam's leader Vasin Mitsupun make costumes for string puppets at the 4th Mekong Performing Arts Laboratory in Chiang Mai last year, and the Tistou collaboration started to take shape.
“Looking for a story to tell in this project I proposed Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) while he suggested Maurice Druon’s Tistou les Pouces verts (Tistou of the Green Thumbs, and we agreed on the latter, as he was already engaged to work with another group on Prince.”
"It's a lovely story that deals with peace, and the performance is part of the ongoing 'Multi-disciplinary Arts Festival: Change to Peace'," Nad says.
"There's a scene in which the title character, who wants the world to be more beautiful and peaceful, plants trees in his father's weapons factory."
She continues, “It’s also about children’s dreams that we adults often forget as we use more reasons than imagination in our daily life. With their imagination, they can see many that we adults look over.”
"If an adult says, 'Let's plant some trees to stop the war,' it sounds bogus. But if we listen to kids and their dreams, our hearts might soften up, so let's sometimes act and think like kids."
Nad explains the adaptation process, “We cut out some scenes, characters, and dialogues. What remain is still very clear, and we also have some [Thai] narrations projected on the screen in-between scenes, but this is very scarce so we’re sure that even the foreign audiences, of any age, will understand the story and enjoy it.”
Tistou had a 15-minute preview last weekend at Santi Chaiprakarn Park (all photos here), as part of the Bangkok Theatre Festival 2009 [photos here], and Nad says, “Some audiences said that it’s very cute, especially the Tistou marionette which Vasin himself manipulated. I think we’re very ready for the full 45-minute performance this weekend.”
Nad says that although the audience may feel that puppet theatre is not what Crescent Moon Theatre is best known for, the process has been beneficial for all company members.
“Although some of us have worked with hand puppets and object theatre, under the name of Yai Hun Troupe, this is the first time we work with string puppets, which really helps our physical training.”
Tistou runs from Friday to Sunday, November 6 to 8 at the Pridi Banomyong Institute between Thong Lor Soi 1 and Soi 3, at 7:30pm with 2pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday. It's Bt300 for adults, Bt250 for university and high school students, Bt100 for primary- and junior-high students and free for children seven and under. Book through 08 1612 4769. See www.CrescentMoonTheatre.com for more.
written by Pawit Mahasarinand
published in DAILY XPRESS on Friday, November 6, 2009
photos courtesy of Crescent Moon Theatre
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