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TUESDAY, January 31, 2023
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Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

FRIDAY, December 09, 2022

B-Floor Theatre’s new work questions who, or what, actually determines what’s good or bad in this country

As the audience walked into Bangkok Art and Culture Centre’s (BACC) 4th floor Studio for Dujdao “Dao” Vadhanapakorn’s new work “Paranoid – Schizoid”—the first work in B-Floor Theatre’s “Cloud State” as part of BACC’s 11th annual edition of Performative Art Project (PAP), we saw Dao and her B-Floor colleague and Teerawat “Ka-ge” Mulvilai walk around a circular stage filled with flour which, for Thai audiences or those who follow Thai politics, has political connotation. 


Photo: Tanyathorn Khunapinya and Chatchada Piphatnangkool

Their voices were soft and she spoke through a wireless microphone and only he could hear her through his headphones. 

Settling into our seats on one of the three audience stands set up around the performance area, my partner noted, “Ja (Jarunun Phantachat, B-Floor’s co-artistic director) looks comfortable lying there.” “Where is she?” I asked. 

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

After my partner pointed to one area of the stage where Ja was almost totally covered by flour except for her head as if to remind me that it’s time to see my optometrist, I said, “Oh, I thought that’s a stage prop,” and asked “Where’s Golf (Ornanong Thaisriwong, another performer)?” as I was looking for her. 

Dao then moved to stand behind a microphone stand where she asked, or ordered, Ka-ge, on the opposite side, to write down on the floor what he considered good and bad—for example, working hard for the former, and traffic jam for the latter. 

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Thanks to the live videocast projected onto two partition panels, we saw what he wrote. It’s noteworthy that these, like many parts of this performance, changed from one evening to another. 

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Later, Golf was carried in by Ka-ge and her all white costume and elegant postures made her look like an angel, if not a goddess. Her headdress was filled with so many black ping-pong balls that Ka-ge often sought the audience’s help to put back those that spilled over. My partner was given one but she might think of taking it home as a souvenir for our son.

Exploring Thailand’s grey area  

Realizing our beagle wouldn’t enjoy it and wanting to get “experiential” with this work, I took it from her, walked to the stage and put it back into Golf’s headdress. On the way back to my seat, Ka-ge stopped me at every step and as I stood still he drew lines around my feet. After I was back in my seat, he wrote “OK”.

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Subsequently, with Dao leading this game, or exercise, through microphones either publicly or privately through Ka-ge, the trio continued exploring, and questioning, the notions of the good and the bad in different ways, with spoken words and physical movements.  

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Both titles “Paranoid – Schizoid” and “Cloud State” are fitting and this work walks the talk indeed. Although it might not hit us hard as Ka-ge’s works, it made us think on after the curtain call. It’s been almost three years that we’ve all been affected by the global, plus many more years that we’ve been in the political turmoil and many political cases remain in the jurisdiction process. 

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Given the recent constitutional court’s decision on how to count the eight-year premiership, we don’t really know what else to expect. Just like when Ka-ge said “PM 2.5”, we cannot see, hear and think clearly as we cannot breathe heathy air. Just like that the audience couldn’t hear all Dao’s commands, we’re wondering what, or who, really determines what’s good or bad in this democratic country.    

Notwithstanding the socially and politically relevant content and the treat of seeing four veteran B-Floor members sharing the stage, theatregoers who have followed Dujdao’s stage works for many years may feel that “Paranoid – Schizoid” is like old wine in a new bottle, with Dujdao’s all-too-familiar role of an onstage director/on-site psychiatrist. I suddenly thought of works by theatre masters like Peter Brook and Tadashi Suzuki. A major difference is that they started getting into their autopilot cruising mode when they’re in their 60s; Dujdao’s still in her 40s. 

“Paranoid – Schizoid” runs daily until Sunday (December 11), 7pm. Next weekend (December 15 to 18), B-Floor’s “Cloud State” and BACC’s PAP#11 close with “It’s Just a Fiction (Not Mentioning Anything)”, a politically changed physical theatre work by newly graduated students from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. They noted, “Since our freshman year, we always wanted our senior project to be a devised physical theatre performance.” 

Having taking classes with Crescent Moon Theatre’s Sineenadh Keitprapai, another Silpathorn Award laureate, as well as Ka-ge, their graduation project earlier this year was so well received that B-Floor invited them to join this Cloud State. 

This is also the first student’s work to be part of PAP. Tickets for the former are Bt 750 and the latter Bt 600—buy both and save some bucks—available now at https://www.facebook.com/BFloor.Theatre.Group

This weekend and next (December 9-11 and 16-18), another Silpathorn Award laureate Pichet Klunchun invites us to “Take a Walk” with him at Thonburi Park. 

This solo performance is described as “time management of the present in order to develop status and stability for the future”, promises to “relax your mind, put you in good shape, build muscles as well as strengthen bones, intestines, lungs and heart and is “recommended for all ages and genders.”

Friday at 3:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 8am. Please wear sneakers. For more details and reservation, https://www.facebook.com/PFLifeWork.

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