Japan Foundation Bangkok

“Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession” – Stage adaptation of Uthis Haemamool’s novel by Toshiki Okada [Bangkok world premiere]

Original novel by: Uthis Haemamool × Script & Direction: Toshiki Okada

 

 

Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession”

 

World Premiere: Bangkok Performance

 

 

To live and create is to question the times.

The day of shame about lust for life/sex is also the day of salvation.

Our “self portrait” by two artists born in the 1970s.

 

 

【World Premiere】Bangkok Performance

 Aug. 22nd – Aug. 26th, 2018
@Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University

 

Official website   http://pratthana.net

 

 

InQuiry

Inquiry about project

precog Email:info@precog-jp.net / Megumi Mizuno (Tokyo Office) +81 -(0)3-6825-1223

Yoko Kawasaki (in charge of Bangkok performance) +66-(0)64 316 6295

 

Inquiry about tickets

TEL:+66-(0)64 679 6768 (Thai & English) /  Email:pratthanabkk@gmail.com

 

Download Press release

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the work

 

Contemporary Asia, awash with goods, money, and information amid the turmoil induced by fast-paced urbanization and globalization.

 

A winner of the Southeast Asian Write Award and the Seven Book Award, and one of the most energetic novelists active today, Uthis Haemamool is renowned for his brilliant depictions of the nebulous identity and psyche of individuals alive in this Asia of today. He has been given the highest accolades internationally and remains at the forefront of contemporary Thai literature.

Ranking as one of Japan’s major playwrights and novelists, Toshiki Okada is active both inside and outside his country and also leads the theatrical company chelfitsch. He quickly became a focus of attention throughout the world of theater for his penetrating insights into the daily doings and mindset of Japanese youth as well as his style updating contemporary theater. He has since continued to unveil works reflecting his meticulous observations of the realities exposed by earthquake disasters and social phenomena.

These two creators collaborated in the making of “Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession”, a theatrical adaptation of Haemamool’s latest novel by Okada, who felt a strong empathy with it. The protagonist of this work is a single painter who struggles in his pursuit of artistic activities and with the surrounding society while trying to find himself, and goes through a series of encounters and losses. Its vivid descriptions of the inner life and sexual feelings of the various characters have echoes from the flow of history and political turbulence of the society in which they live.

The work will make its world premiere in Bangkok and is set to be staged in Paris as well. The entire world of theater is eagerly anticipating this play by two artists who may very well have a more perspicacious vision of the current age than any others.

 

In this work, the two artists pose an exceedingly universal question to all individuals living in contemporary society: Just what is the fundamental business of life? It is a question sent out from Bangkok that will presumably reach the hearts of people alive in the same age around the world.

 

Borderlines crisscrossing life – one of the themes of the adaptation

 

Within Haemamool’s novel lie hidden borderlines between the self and others, life and death, man and woman, past and present, one class and another class, the individual and the nation, the controller and controlled, and desire and its object. Boundaries of this sort are things that have been experienced at least once by anyone living in contemporary society, and can be factors that make life harder in a sense. In adapting the novel for the stage, Okada decided to put these borderlines on the stage by employing theatrical methodology for superimposing them on the narrative and the actors’ bodies.

The pair are joined by Yuya Tsukahara, who is participating in the role of scenographer in charge of spatial orchestration and design. Tsukahara is a member of contact Gonzo, which is known in Japan and other countries for its stunning performances that sometimes even resemble brawls, and is especially adept at application of various techniques across conventional genre borders, using body, space, video, and other media. He can make borderlines between the stage and other space, reality and fiction, and other dichotomous pairs appear in the structure of the stage to envelope the audience, only to make them disappear later. The theatrical presentation revolving around borders will gather momentum with this ideal lineup of personnel.

 

 

 

About the work

 

A multi-talented cast and a team of emerging creators

 

The cast of 11 actors were selected through auditions held in Bangkok, and vary in age and experience, from novices to veterans. Moreover, their activities are not always confined to acting; they are engaged in hybrid activities on their own initiative, in fields of interest to them, without being bound by conventional categories. More specifically, some of the actors are also musical composers, lighting technicians, artists, or producers, for example.

The members of the creative team are emerging artists from both Thailand and Japan. The assistant director is Wichaya Artamat, a director who is now in the spotlight and has twice taken awards from the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) – Thailand Centre. Costuming is being handled by Kyoko Fujitani, who, while active as a member of the Tokyo theatrical troupe FAIFAI, brings a unique perspective to stage costuming for works of theater, dance, art, and music in Japan and other countries. Lighting design has been assigned to Pornpan Arayaveerasid, an innovative lighting designer who was in charge of the lighting design for Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Fever Room” and has come to the fore for her experimental directions. Sound design is in the hands of Masamitsu Araki, who has unveiled installations and performance works as a “sound artist” in his own right. Takuya Matsumi, who is a member of contact Gonzo alongside Tsukahara and also works as a graphic designer and photographer, is handling the video chores.

Haemamool, Okada, the cast of 11 actors, and the creative team are all artists living and working in the same age. Through their vision, this work definitely promises to expand the frontiers of theater itself as a form of artistic expression.

 

* The “Pratthana” in the title of the work is a Thai word meaning “desire,” and is also in the Thai title of “Silhouette of Desire”, the novel by Uthis Haemamool on which the work is based.

Synopsis

 

Original novel by Uthis Haemamool

(The original title of the novel in Thai is “Rang Khong Pratthana, “Silhouette of Desire” in English)
[Published by Juti, June 2018]

 

Khao Sing, a painter living in Bangkok, agrees to have the youth Waree, who contacted him through Facebook, act as a model for him. In his belief that a model should not have life, Khao Sing refuses to get deeply involved with Waree, but continues to paint him, telling him about his own sexual escapades of the past in the process. He goes into an affair with a female poet he met at the time of the military coup d’etat in 1991 and “Black May” in 1992, another with a classmate of his at art school during the Asian financial crisis that struck in 1997, and a menage a trois with a young female artist who had come back from study abroad and a man working at a rental video shop at the time of the coup in 2006. The descriptions of the relationships Khao Sing formed with others bring in characterizations of body, desire, and art. The political situation in Thailand at the time forms the background of them all. Behind his relationship with Waree, too, lies the coup of 2014. Khao Sing longs to capture eternity in his paintings, but at the same time, all of the people connected with him leave his side in the end. The novel depicts the outlines and desires of the human body and nation as body, through the vicissitudes of Thai politics, art, and subculture.

 

 

Messages from Artists

 

Toshiki Okada

Uthis Haemamool’s novel is absolutely bursting with energy generated by anger and sorrow. Depicting the sexual and artistic career of an artist in contemporary Thai society, it describes how he becomes worn out, warped, and stripped of spirit while struggling under the sociopolitical circumstances of his country as it undergoes continuous and tempestuous change. It is an amazingly dense and provocative novel, and a painfully earnest one. I am attempting to create a work of theater adapted from it.

We live trapped in our bodies. We live seized by their desires.  We live fettered by our countries, and seized by their desires. While unavoidably held captive by these things, we struggle with life, become tired, and grow old. This is what I want to present in a theatrical performance, and by creating theater of a type never before seen by anyone.

(June 2018, Toshiki Okada)

Uthis Haemamool

 

To see my own novel adapted for the stage is an experience far exceeding mere joy, because it brought a cherished desire of mine into reality. The story is brimming with what is deemed provocative or banned in this society devoid of freedom, whose members are oppressed, unable to speak, and not allowed to speak. It is something that is very fragile yet sharp.

My novel is adapted for the theater by Toshiki Okada, a director fully equipped with a philosophy and vision of artistic creation who placed his trust in this work. Taboos and the challenge of them are bound to capture our hearts.

The two of us are artists, and we will find common ground once we start the process of creation, regardless of how different we are in respects such as our ethnicity, the societies in which we live, and the languages in which we communicate. Together we will crawl out on the brittle, dangerous tightrope, in order to engender action and expression like those of theater, and to live beautifully – inside our artistic creation.

This is precisely why this piece is not to be missed, no matter what.

(July 2018, Uthis Harmamool)

Biographies

 

Original novel by: Uthis Haemamool

Born in Kaeng Khoi in Saraburi, the central part of Thailand, in 1975, Uthis Haemamool graduated from Silpakorn University with a degree in painting, sculpture, and printmaking. “The Brotherhood of Kaeng Khoi,” his third full novel, was published in 2009 and established his position as an author. He won the Southeast Asian Writers Award and the Seven Book Award for it in the same year, and was cited as one of the most important people in Thailand on the CNNGo show. In 2013, he was invited to speak along with the noted Thai film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul in “Work in Memory,” an artists workshop held by the Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA. Based on his interchange with six Japanese artists who also took part in this workshop, he subsequently wrote a medium-length novel titled “Kyoto: Hidden Sense.” From 2014 to 2015, Haemamool served as editor-in-chief of “Writer Magazine,” a Thai literary magazine, and “Prakod,” a literary journal published by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture in the Thai Ministry of Culture. In June 2017, his latest novel  “Rang Khong Pratthana” (“Silhouette of Desire” in English) was published in Thai. In the same year, he held an exhibition in Bangkok titled “Silhouette of Desire” with his own drawings and paintings.

Script, Direction: Toshiki Okada

Born in Yokohama in 1973 and formed the theatre company chelfitsch in 1997. Since then he has written and directed all the company’s productions, practicing a distinctive methodology for creating plays, and has come to be known for his use of hyper-colloquial Japanese and unique choreography. In 2005, his play “Five Days in March” won the prestigious 49th Kishida Drama Award, and “Air Conditioner” was a finalist at the Toyota Choreography Awards 2005. In February 2007 his collection of novels “The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed” debuted and was awarded the Oe Kenzaburo Prize. While his stories and plays continue to be published in Japan, his works have also been translated into many languages and published abroad. In 2016, he began a commission to direct works in a repertory program at the Munich Kammerspiele, one of foremost public theaters in Germany, for three consecutive seasons.

Scenography: Yuya Tsukahara

Born in Kyoto in 1979, graduated the art course of the Literary Research Dept. of Kwansei Gakuin University in 2004. He currently lives in Osaka. In 2006 Tsukahara formed the unit “contact Gonzo” with Masaru Kakio in Osaka. The unit began performing in parks or on the streets in an improvisational style of physical contact that explored what they termed “Philosophy of pain, technique of contact.” As solo projects, he directed “KOBE-Asia Contemporary Dance Festival” presented by NPO DANCE BOX and performance program of “Tokyo Art Meeting V Seeking New Genealogies−Bodies / Leaps / Traces” held at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2014. From 2015, he had been presented performance “Trilogy for Nukamuri Jamipos my future friend” for 3 years at the performance project “PLAY” started from 2014 at Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art. From 2011 to 2018, he served as a fellow of The Saison Foundation.

Assistant Director: Wichaya Artamat

Born in 1985, Artamat started working in theater after graduating from the Film Department, Thammasat University, as a project coordinator for Bangkok Theatre Festival 2008. He joined New Theatre Society in 2009, during which he grew to become a director recognized for various experimental forms and unconventional theatrical approach. He is especially interested in exploring how the society remembers and unremembers its history through certain calendar days, alongside collaborating with people from diverse creative disciplines. He co-founded For What Theatre in 2015 as a platform to question current social happenings as well as the theater form itself. His works “In Ther’s View: a Documentary Theatre” and “Three Days in May” were awarded Best Play by the International Association of Theatre Critics Thailand Centre Awards (IATC) in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

 

 

Casts Biography

 

 

Jarunun Phantachat

Graduated from Mass Communication, Chaing Mai University, Phantachat is Co-Artistic Director and Founder of B-Floor Theatre; a movement-based theatre group in Bangkok. She is a Thai contemporary theatre director and dynamic physical performer. She has been performed in many productions of the company and be parts of several international collaboration projects in Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the USA. She has been praised as “one of the best stage actresses in the country”. Winner of the “Silpathorn Award” presented by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Ministry of Culture of Thailand in 2014. Recently in 2016, her role in a short movie “Ferris Wheels” brings her the best actress award from “ShortShorts Film Festival & Asia 2016”.

Kemmachat Sermsukchareonchai

After graduating the faculty of Engineer at Chulalongkorn University, where he also studied Stage Lighting in the faculty of Arts and gained experience as an actor and lighting designer, he became a member of Democrazy Theatre Studio, where his role is a lighting designer and an actor. His outstanding theatrical achievements are: a performer in the performance “Fundamental”, by Teerawat Mulvilai from B-Floor Theatre, winning IATC Thailand Awards 2016 as the best performance by an ensemble, the best art direction and the best movement-based performance, a lighting designer for the play “Boxes”, by Adjima na pattalung, being nominated for five awards in IATC Thailand Awards 2014 and winning the best art direction, and actor in the play “Jao Rok – Imaginary Invalid” By Parnrut Kritchanchai from New Theatre Society, in which he played three characters.

Kwankaew Kongnisai

A Thai actress and singer, mostly with credits in stage performances including musical theatre, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts by Bangkok University, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Music Theatre by Australian Institute of Music. In the profession as a singer, she is skilled in several styles including jazz, pop, Bossa, disco, musical, etc. She has professionalized in dubbing works also. With the talent she has shown in acting since a very young age, Kongnisai is a well trained and experienced stage actress. However, despite the already outstanding career, she continues to pursue her dream as an actor, a career not only defined by the beauty, elegance, and grace she has held. She is not yet satisfied with the icon style she has made in the past theatre works. She wants more, and to share more.

Pavinee Samakkabutr

Samakkabutr has been working in the fields of theatre and performing art as actress, lighting designer, and producer with many theatre groups in Thailand to pursue her passion for performing arts and develop her skills for art profession since 2000, after graduating from Thammasat University in major of Drama, and from Chulalongkorn University in major of Speech Communication & Performing Arts. As an actress, she has continuously performed with various directors, Thai and international, such as Adjima Na Pattalung, Nikorn Saetang, Pradit Prasartthong, Wichaya Artamart, Oriza Hirata, and Mikuni Yanaihara. She is also co-founder and producer at Democrazy Theatre Studio, Bangkok, the progressive and independent studio that has produced a wide range of theatre works, events, and international festivals. Furthermore, she has been working with Democrazy to support a new generation of professional theatre practitioners, and new audience in Thailand.

Sasapin Siriwanij

A Bangkok-based performer, director, and producer, Siriwanij began acting while studying at Chulalongkorn University, where she received her M.A and B.A in English Literature. Having trained with various types of theater, she eventually joined B-Floor Theatre as a full-fledged member in 2009, and has been continuously performing in physical theater productions with the company both in Thailand and abroad since. Her directorial works began debuting in 2013. Her latest work was a performance titled “OH! ODE” (Oh! What Joy, What Goodness, What Beauty Calls For Ode No.7012) at WTF Gallery and Cafe, Bangkok, in 2017, and won her “Best Performance by a Female Artist” award at IATC 2017. Sasapin is also B-Floor’s project manager for many international collaborative projects, as well as working independently with international collaborators. In 2018, she is the chairperson of Bangkok International Performing Arts Meeting (BIPAM) board of artistic directors.

Tap-a-nan Tandulyawat

Graduated from Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University in, majoring in Performing Arts, he studied Dramatic arts from Faculty of Arts as a minor subject. He did a trainee position in Moradokmai theatre troop, the Thai troop believing in the Buddhist way of living and also merging the Buddhist philosophy into the methods of acting, directing and storytelling. He is a freelance actor, appearing both on stage and TV series, and also engages himself in directing his own work and writing script for TV series.

Teerawat Mulvilai

A co-artistic director of B-Floor Theatre. He is a versatile theater artist, who is also a performer, a dancer, and a director of physical theater. His works combine fine arts and performing arts, seeking to critique the society and politics, addressing injustice, violence, and structural problems that impact people’s lives. He is hailed as one of the most critically and socially conscious directors of our time. In 2012, he was honored with Piti Silp Santhi Dhamma Awards for his outstanding and continuous work that promotes peace, democracy, and justice.

Thanaphon Accawatanyu

A director, a playwright and a co-founder of a theatre company, Splashing Theatre. Graduated from faculty of journalism and mass communication, Thammasat University. He practiced and gained experience in theatre at a drama club, Thammasat (TU Drama). Besides doing theatre, he is also a freelance writer. Although he usually does not take part in acting, he loves theatre and is very passionate about taking part in it. He often writes and directs a play himself. His works usually tell a little story about a little man as he is more interested in them than any grand story or majority. Winner of Bangkok Theatre Festival Award 2015 “Best Original Script”.

Thongchai Pimapunsri

An actor and a co-founder of a theatre company, Splashing Theatre. He graduated from the faculty of political science, Thammasat University. He practiced and gained experience in theatre at a drama club Thammasat (TU Drama). He has experience in many kinds of theatre such as dance, physical theatre, musical and he loves acting. Besides being an actor for the company, he also acted for other theatre troupes such as B-floor theatre and Anatta Theatre Troupe. Winner of IATC 2016 “Best Performance by  Male Artist”.

Waywiree Ittianunkul

As a performer, she works with progressive theatre companies such as B-Floor Theatre and Democrazy Theatre. She graduated from the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Recently, she worked in a Thai-German collaboration piece, “Happy Hunting Ground” (2016) by Democrazy Theatre Studio staged in Bangkok, Germany, and Switzerland. She also performed in “Manoland” (2015) an absurd dance by B-floor Theatre and “yoo-dee” (2014) a children’s play staged in Bangkok as well as in Sendai and Tokyo in Japan.

Witwisit Hiranyawongkul

A multi-talented Thai performer; an actor, singer, songwriter and author. He rose to prominence as the lead in the Thai movie, ‘Love of Siam’. On the back of the movie’s popularity, his pop band, “August” found international fame in China and Thailand. As a solo artist, he goes by the name, ‘PCHY’, releasing albums for his legion of Thai and Chinese fans. In recent years, he has branched out into stage acting, appearing in the original play for ‘Chuichai Sanayha’ in 2013, the adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “Vieux-Carré” in 2014, and the adapted play of “Boeing Boeing” in 2015. At IATC 2016 his original musical “Cocktails” won awards in the categories of ‘Best Musical’ and ‘Best Performance by Male Artist’.

 

 

 

Performance Details

 

 

Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession Bangkok Performance

 

Original novel by: Uthis Haemamool (Original novel title in Thai: ”Rang Khong Pratthana”)

Script, Direction: Toshiki Okada

Scenography: Yuya Tsukahara

Assistant Director: Wichaya Artama

 

 

Casts: Jarunun Phantachat, Kemmachat Sermsukchareonchai, Kwankaew Kongnisai, Pavinee Samakkabutr, Sasapin Siriwanij, Tap-a-nan Tandulyawat, Teerawat Mulvilai, Thanaphon Accawatanyu, Thongchai Pimapunsri, Waywiree Ittianunkul, Witwisit Hiranyawongkul

 

 

* Performed in Thai with English and Japanese subtitles

 

 

Performance Schedule

August 22nd – 26th, 2018

Aug. 22 (Wed) Aug. 23 (Thu) Aug. 24 (Fri) Aug. 25th (Sat) Aug. 26 (Sun)
13:30★ 13:30
19:30 19:30 19:30 19:30

★・・・Post performance talk

 

Venue

Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University

6 Floors at Mahachakri Sirindhorn Building Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University,

Phayathai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330

 

Ticket price Release on July 11th, 2018!

Adv.:700 THB/At door:750 THB

Students Adv.:400THB/Students at door:450THB

Early Bird:550THB(Reservation & payment by July 31st, 2018)

 

 

Tickets reservation

TEL:+66-(0)64 679 6768 (Thai & English)/ Email:pratthanabkk@gmail.com

Website: http://pratthana.net

 

 

Credits

Costumes: Kyoko Fujitani (FAIFAI)

Lighting Design: Pornpan Arayaveerasid

Sound: Masamitsu Araki

Scenography assistant and Video: Takuya Matsumi

Technical director: Kazushi Ota

Original novel translation: Sho Fukutomi

Script translation: Muthita Panich

Translation cooperation: Patarasorn Koopipat, Matana Jaturasangpairoj

Interpreter: Patarasorn Koopipat, Paiboon  Patjareesakul

Publicity Design: Yasuwo Miyamura / Original drawing for publicity design: Uthis Haemamool

Executive producer: Akane Nakamura

Production manager: Yoko Kawasaki

Producer: Tamiko Ouki

Assistant producer: Megumi Mizuno, Pornjittra Vongsrisawat

Tickets: Jaturachai Srichanwanpe, Napak Tricharoendej, Ladda Kongdac

PR cooperation: Eriko Nishitani (Relay Relay)

Organized by: The Japan Foundation Asia Center, precog co.,LTD., chelfitsch

Supported by Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture), The Saison Foundation

Venue cooperation: Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, College of Social Communication Innovation Srinakharinwirot University, Democrazy Theatre Studio

In Cooperation with: Bangkok CityCity Gallery, Candide Books & Café, all(zone), ARTIST+RUN GALLERY, Bangkok Arts & Culture Centre, B-floor Theatre

Endorsed by Japanese Association in Thailand