By Pawit Mahasarinand
Special to The Nation
IN A remote seaside town in Thailand where 16 years ago, a series of unsolved murders that left several children dead, the word “Albatross” written on their bodies, more murders have been committed in the same fashion. A young detective arrives from the city determined to solve this mystery only to find there’s more to it than meets the eye.
That’s the premise behind “Albatross: A Serial Killers’ Love Story”. The play, which ended its run last night, saw young playwright and director Thanaphon Accawatanyu and his Splashing Theatre Company return to Democrazy Theatre Studio where they staged their most critically acclaimed work “The Disappearance of the Boy on a Sunday Afternoon”. Only two years have passed, but already the audience was able to witness some significant progress.
The set didn’t cost much but toyed effectively with the audience’s perception and imagination. /Courtesy of Splashing Theatre
Thanks to the set, projection and lighting designers, the audience’s experience wasn’t like watching a film noir, but rather being on the set of a film noir production. And while the audience stand was placed at one side of the studio and we were not allowed to get up and move around, it was almost an immersive experience. Mirror panels were deftly used to expand the performance space and add mystery to the story; three pieces of thin black cloth ramped up that feeling as well and also, intentionally, limited the audience’s view.
Courtesy of Splashing Theatre
Meanwhile, the sound designer was a little too busy, or too eager, and some dialogue was drowned out. Such moments were not in the least mysterious bur rather bothersome.
Like many playwrights or scriptwriters of his age, Thanaphon could further improve on characterisation as many of his characters in “Albatross” spoke in too similar a manner. Also, he might want to study whether or not the radioactivity that’s affecting this town really fits this play, notwithstanding all influences he drew from a variety of films.
Where the progress was evident was in the fact that the cast also included seasoned thespians, like Duangjai Hiransri and Saifah Tanthana, and younger actors, like Sorawis Chinsangthip, none of them Splashing Theatre members. And while Thanaphon’s dialogue was not colloquial at times, these actors were always able to make it sound that way. By contrast, newcomers like A-tis Asanachinda and Thanaphan Tangsitprasert were less comfortable handling these difficult lines. The star of the evening was Lapin Laosunthara who was the most natural of all, and his detective character efficiently served as a bridge for the audience to cross over to this mysterious world.
It should also be noted that while “Albatross” was flying at Democrazy last weekend, some other members of this young group were staging another work “To Identify a Whale Shark, Look upon the Stars” across town at Whale Shark Books, M Theatre.
If that productiveness reminds you of more veteran groups like B-Floor, then the future of contemporary Thai theatre looks bright indeed.
Follow these young and hard-working theatre artists at Facebook.com/SplashingTheatre. They should be back on stage soon.