Pisamai Wilaisak, National Artist

Pisamai Wilaisak, National Artist

After 53 years in the business, popular TV and movie actress Pisamai Wilaisak has just been appointed as a National Artist.

Yesterday the Bangkok Post published a long interview in the popular TV and movie actress Pisamai Wilaisak who has been in the business for 53 years. She has just been appointed a National Artist and in this short excerpt below she tells the Bangkok Post’s Kong Rithdee what life is like today. It’s busy as she is currently shooting six TV series simultaneously.

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Grand dame of Thai showbiz

Pisamai Wilaisak

Pisamai, 71 and sprightly, is probably the most experienced actress at work on any moving-picture production –  big screen or small – in the Kingdom today.

"Yesterday we started at 4am," she says, not as a complaint, but matter-of-factly.

"And the shoot went on until night. Tomorrow I have to go to Chiang Mai to shoot another series, then I'll be back here to work on another one."

As she adds the final touches to her make-up, her phone rings. She details her crammed schedule to the man who's calling, laughing and then agreeing a date for another TV shoot.

"I'm hot when I'm this old," she grins as she hangs up. "What can I do? It's work."

Pisamai started working – acting – in 1958 and she hasn't stopped since.

Colleagues and friends who started out with her in the heady decade-long heyday of Thai 16mm cinema have long since retired, or got bored or drained of energy or have passed away.

Pisamai's career is now probably the longest ever enjoyed by a Thai actress: fifty-three years in front of the lights and cameras, memorising lines and markings and playing daughters, mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, traversing the spectrum of Thai popular media with an industriousness that has rarely waned.

"Well, maybe there was a few weeks' gap when I had no shoot," she pauses to think. "But no, I haven't stopped acting since I started ... since I was 19.

"I have no assistant, no secretary. I answer all the calls and arrange the schedule myself. And I still drive to the set every day, alone, no matter what time the shoot starts. I've told you, it's work."

"It's in the heart, I guess.

"This is what I do for a living and I won't stop doing it."

Adapted from a story in yesterday’s Bangkok Post by Kong Rithdee. You can read the full story here: http://bit.ly/hmFT2W

popular – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
appoint – to choose someone officially for a job or responsibility แต่งตั้ง,ตั้งให้เป็น
excerpt – a part of a longer text, speech, song, etc. บทคัดย่อ
series - a set of TV broadcasts on the same subject or using the same characters but in different situations หนังชุด
simultaneously – happening at the same time ในเวลาเดียวกัน,ที่พร้อมกัน
grand dame – great lady; a woman, esp. an older one, who is highly respected
sprightly – full of life and energy มีชีวิตชีวา
big screen – movies
small screen – television
complaint – when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory การร้องเรียน
matter-of-fact – done without showing any emotion, especially in a situation in which you would expect somebody to express their feelings  done without showing any emotion, especially in a situation in which you would expect somebody to express their feelings  ตามตรง
final touches – small details that are added to something in order to improve it or make it complete การตกแต่งสุดท้าย
complaint – when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory การร้องเรียน
scheduled – a plan for when activities will happen ตารางเวลา
hot – popular; a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
grin – to smile showing your teeth ยิ้มยิงฟัน, ยิงฟันยิ้ม
colleague – someone who works in the same organisation or department as you do เพื่อนร่วมงาน
heady – having a strong effect on your senses; making you feel excited and confident น่าตื่นเต้น
decade – a period of ten years  ทศวรรษ
heyday – the time when somebody/something had most power or success, or was most popular สมัยที่รุ่งเรืองที่สุด, ช่วงที่ประสบความสำเร็จที่สุด
retired – no longer working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work เกษียณอายุ
bored – feeling impatient or dissatisfied, because you are not interested in something or because you have nothing to do เบื่อหน่าย เหนื่อยหน่าย
drained – very tired and without energy
pass away – to die จากไป (ตาย), เสียชีวิต
memorise – to learn something so that you remember it perfectly ท่องจำ
lines – the words spoken by an actor in a play or film/movie  บท   
marking – walking and standing during a play
traverse – to cross an area of land or water ข้าม, เดินข้าม
spectrum – a range of something, including many different types
media – newspapers, television, radio, etc. สื่อ
industrious – working hard; busy  ขยัน
rarely – not happening often นานๆ ครั้ง, ไม่บ่อย
wane – to become gradually weaker or less important ลดลงเรื่อย
gap – a period of time when something stops, or between two events
assistant – a person who helps or supports somebody, usually in their job ผู้ช่วย
set – a place where a play is performed or part of a film/movie is filmed  ฉาก


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