Dujdao Vadhanapakorn's contemporary performance 1+1=1 suggests ways to cope with our loss.
Many expat friends as well as Thai pals who have lived overseas frequently complain that, in contrast to what's happening in many cities around the world,
One such artist who would prove them, slightly, wrong is UK-educated Dujdao Vadhanapakorn, who last year delighted us with Grey Area at Democrazy Theatre Studio and Alliance Francaise. She's now back in the studio with solo performance 1+1=1.
She explains the meaning of the intriguing title ad some of the messages in this performance. "I'm interested in people who are trying to deal with problems by different means. I'd like to suggest that in the end, they just have to rely more on themselves than on others—whether that's people or religion."
Dujdao has been inspired by her experience working as a movement psychotherapist and by her friends' reactions to what happened last year in
"Many people I know feel that they lost something last year—for example, stability, home, loved ones. I notice that some have changed—they are angrier and have started blaming things on others. In general they're not healthy, mentally. And so I'm thinking, yes, a lot happened last year, but all of us have many years to come, and we just can't put what happened on our backs and continue forever like this."
"Also, some of my patients say they can't just forget the loved ones they lost—they'd feel very guilty otherwise. And so I'm trying to suggest ways in which they can turn these feelings into healthy memories and live with them."
For 1+1=1, Dujdao teams up once more with Nophand Boonyai, her collaborator in Grey Area—though Nophand will not perform but work as a sound designer here. Professional film editor Manussa Vorasingha is also back with his experimental video art, having worked with Dujdao in Left Out: A Body Talk from Inside.
"I first came up with ideas for the sequence of scenes, then shared them with Nophand and Manussa. We each developed our parts then put them all together. Actually, our script is like that of a special stage show seen at marketing events—one column for my stage action and dance movements, another for visual, and the last for audio."
1+1=1 can be enjoyed by both Thai and foreign audiences, because it's mostly conveyed through dance movements and video images.
"Also, Nophand's sound design mostly consists of spoken words in English: the Thai audience can read the summary of them in the programme leaflet. And when they're in Thai, there's English translation."
Dujdao notes that although the number of contemporary performances here is not comparable to those staged in cultural capitals like
"Artists should never look down on the audience's ability to understand their works. Some Thai artists are so concerned with the audience that they oversimplify the works. It's a risk I take in this kind of work. Some audience members may not enjoy it, but this is the work that I feel like creating here and now."
"Feedback on my recent works has varied a great deal and I'm very happy with that. One person said it was too difficult to understand while another—speaking of the same performance—complained that it was too easy. Someone else said it should have had more spoken lines, while another said that as soon as I started speaking in the performance, his imagination process was interrupted—he was deprived of his interpretation of it. That's what's fun about contemporary works."
1+1=1 is at the Crescent Moon Space in the Pridi Banomyong Institute, between Thonglor sois 1 and 3, from 26th to 30th January and 2nd to 6th February at 8pm. Tickets are Bt300, avialable at 08 4713 5075. Book early—the venue seats only 30 people.
written by Pawit Mahasarinand
published on Thursday 20th January, 2011
photo courtesy of Dujdao Vadhanapakorn
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