Manorah is a Thai poem and dance drama dating from the Ayutthaya period of Thai history. One of the main characters in the drama is a Kinnaree, a bird-like female creature of beguiling beauty.
The story originally comes from the Pannasa Jataka, folktales based on the previous births of the Lord Buddha written in the Pali language.
The Thai artist Sakarin Krue-on, a contributor to the 2009 Venice Biennale has written a dramatic piece based on this ancient story. Read the full Bangkok Post article about his work here.
Click button to listen to Political Take On Manorah and rightclick to download
interpretation - explanation of the meaning of something การแปลความหมาย
classic - an old writing, song or artwork of very high quality ที่มีคุณภาพสูง
Kinnaree - a female half human and half horse creature found in Asian myths and stories (See Wikipedia)
beguile - to trick or persuade someone into doing something (they would not normally do)
Jataka - sacred stories of the Lord Buddha's previous births before he became the Buddha (See Wikipedia) ชาดก
Pannasa Jataka - a collection of ancient Jataka stories written in Southeast Asia in the Pali language of Buddhism (Read article about these Jataka)
folktale - stories that belong to a country or group of people (example: Thai folktales, Akha hilltribe folktales) นิทานพื้นบ้าน
Pali - the ancient Indian language used to write the sacred Buddhist books of Theravadan Buddhism (See Wikipedia) ภาษาบาลี
Theravadan Buddhism - the variety of Buddhism practiced in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka (See Wikipedia)
Venice Biennale - important international art show held every two years (See Wikipedia)
dramatic piece - a play in which actors act out a story on a theatre stage or on video บทละคร
A political take on Manorah by Brian Curtin
...Sakarin's allegory is deeply humorous, if not sarcastic.
Suthon is portrayed by a pretty man with an archetypal "Thai" look, while Manorah is a white-faced goddess.
He wears the clothes of a Bangkok everyman and she seems to have stepped straight off the wall of a local temple.
The quality of the film recalls early experiments with the medium's invention: amateurish sets and overly-pronounced gestures accompanied by a clunky soundtrack of romantic muzak and dramatic drum rolls.
The most formally sophisticated elements are the views of Suthon's "kingdom" as he flies above a kinetic collage of Bangkok's architecture.
Insofar as the film makes jokingly evident the terms of its artifice, it is a parody of the politics it references. As art, this hits the right note.
Parody's comic relief can encourage serious consideration of what it mimics...
Manorah and Best Friends of the Snake builds on Sakarin's oeuvre as an artist who employs a vocabulary related to Thai history, myth, politics and cultural identity.
a take - an opinion or feeling about something
a political take on the play - a feeling or opinion about the political meaning of the play
allegory - using the events or characters of a story as symbols to express an idea about politics, religion or morals (See Wikipedia) นิทานเปรียบเทียบ, การแฝงคติ
humorous - funny, makes you laugh น่าตลกขบขัน
sarcasm (noun) - saying the opposite of what you mean or feel, usually to show that you are angry
sarcastic (adjective) ช่างเสียดสี
portrayed - represented or described someone or something พรรณา
archetypal - what you usually see (what is typical) about a certain kind of thing or person
goddess - a female god ทพธิดา
local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
recall - remember, think of something in the past
everyman - an ordinary person
experiments - a scientific test to see what happens to something under certain conditions
medium - an artistic medium, a kind of art used to express feelings and ideas (here: the "medium" is film, movie making)
amateur (noun) - a person who does an activity because they enjoy it, not because it is their job ผู้ที่ไม่มีทักษะ
amateurish (adjective) - done like an amateur, without a high level of skill and professionalism สมัครเล่น
set - movie set, a copy of some real life place (e.g. building or home interior) used to make a movie or television program (See Wikipedia on set construction)
pronounced - made very noticeable
gesture - a movement of the hands, face or other part of the body to show how you feel or to show what to do (an "order" or "instruction")
accompanied - went together with ติดตาม, ร่วมทาง, เดินทางไปด้วย
clunky - heavy, clumsy, awkward อืดอาด, ชักช้า
soundtrack - the music played during a film
muzak - quiet music played in stores, offices and other public places, also known as "elevator music" (See Wikipedia)
dramatic - exciting and impressive
drum rolls - when drums repeat over and over again before an important event to build suspense (example: before a magic trick or circus act) (See Wikipedia)
suspense - the excitement you feel while you are waiting to see what will happen after an event
form (noun) - appearance, the outward look of something
formal (adjective) - related to the outward appearance or form of artwork (writing, music, etc), rather than the deeper meaning
sophisticated - complicated and advanced in design or planning ซับซ้อน
elements - individual parts of something
kinetic (adjective) - related to movement
collage - a picture in which various materials or objects, for example paper, cloth or photographs, are stuck onto a larger surface ศิลปการสร้างภาพจากชิ้นส่วนเล็กๆ ที่นำมาปะติดปะต่อกัน
architecture - the structure or organisation of a group
architecture - designing and constructing buildings, houses, and other structures (See Wikipedia) สถาปัตยกรรม (here the meaning is actually these houses and buildings themselves)
evident - easy to see and notice, clear เห็นไ้ด้ชัด
terms - the conditions, the details surrounding something
artifice - skill ทักษะ (which is sometimes the same as "trickiness" กลอุบาย )
parody - copying and redoing a serious work (story, speech, etc) in a humorous way (usually to make fun of it)
reference (verb) - mention, point to something else
hits the right note - produces the right effect on the audience watching it
comic - funny, humorous, tries to make you laugh (same as "humorous" above) ตลกขบขัน
relief - a feeling of happiness that something unpleasant has not happened or has ended การผ่อนคลาย
comic relief - being humorous or funny to make a serious event less serious
encourage - to make someone more likely to do something, or to make something more likely to happen ปลุกใจ
consideration - giving careful thought to something
mimic - to do the exactly same thing that another person does after they do it
oeuvre - all the works of an artist, writer or other creative person collected together
employs - uses
myth - a traditional (often ancient) story about magic, heroes and gods
identity - the things that make you different from other people (examples: race, gender/sex, age, country, etc)
culture (noun) - the set of behaviours, ideas and beliefs that a group of people have (example: Thai culture, Northern Thai culture, Burmese culture, Akha hilltribe culture)
cultural identity - all the things about the culture you come from, that make you different from other people
(Source: Bangkok Post, Outlook section, A political take on Manorah, link)
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