Khon Performance: The Battle of Indrajit Episode of Nagabas | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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Khon Performance: The Battle of Indrajit Episode of Nagabas

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Period:07 Nov 2014 - 05 Dec 2014

Address:14, Ratchadaphisek Rd., Huai Khwang, Huai Khwang, Bangkok 10310 Thailand

Tel:+662-262-3456

Service day:Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Service hours: 10:00-12:00, 14:00-16:00

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Official description

The Support Foundation’s next khon performance will once again take audiences to the Ramakien’s world of mythical creatures and enchanted lands, at Thailand Cultural Centre, from Nov 7-Dec 5.

The Battle Of Indrajitt: Nagabas features new settings for the five key scenes in the eighth edition of the annual khon production — Longka Palace, Phra Ram’s Pavilion on Emerald Mountain, the Rothan Hollow, Battlefield One and Battlefield Two.

Divided into two chapters, the two-hour performance will include many spectacular scenes, including Wirunmook’s inspection of the army in Longka Palace and a naga dance in the Rothan Hollow.

Members of the audience will also witness extraordinary sculptures and stage decorations, including a 7m-tall movable Garuda,
a five-headed naga, golden and silver trees and a mountain.

It will premiere on Nov 7 at 2pm, after which it will be staged daily (except Mondays), on Tuesdays to Thursdays, at 10am and 2pm; Fridays and Saturdays, at 2pm and 7.30pm; and on Sundays, at 10am and 2pm.

-  Tickets cost 420, 620, 820, 1,020, and 1,520 baht and can be purchased from Thai Ticket major (www.thaiticketmajor.com).
- Visit www.khonperformance.com or call 02-262-3456.

Rating

Editorial Reviews

Phra Lak, the younger brother of Phra Ram, and Virunmuk who disguises as his uncle Indrajit are in combat while the real Indrajit waits to shoot the arrow Nagabas at Phra Lak.

The annual royal khon performance mesmerises the audience with its glittering sets and cutting humour

Battle of Indrajit a visual spectacularAs splendid as ever, the Support Foundation’s khon performance, The Battle of Indrajit: Nagabas, premiered on Loy Krathong day last week. Like shows in previous years, the beautiful dances, great acting, glittering sets, costumes and props did not fail to wow the audience. Satirical gags referring to the current political situation also brought a lot of laughter.

Some may feel that parts of the battle sequences are too long and repetitive. Yet this one flaw can’t overshadow the spectacle’s fine qualities. The two-hour show contains mixed modern techniques to create a visual spectacular, while preserving the ancient traditions of the Royal Court’s khon.

After the success of previous episodes — Prommas in 2007 and 2009, Nang Loi in 2010, Suek Maiyarap in 2011, Jong Tanon in 2012 and The Battle Of Kumbhakarn — Mokasak in 2013 — this year’s version has plenty of action and battle scenes. Though the plot revolves around only a few incidents, the highlights include rare dance choreography, battles and flying pyrotechnics. This year’s performance is the eighth edition of the annual production, following Her Majesty the Queen’s command that a khon performance be held every year in order to preserve this great performing art.

At the premiere, the extravaganza began before the curtain was even lifted. The very rare overture dance, Rabam Narai 7 Pang, written by Prince Narisara Nuwattiwongsa, in front of a huge statue of Hindu god Narai riding Garuda, was impeccable.

When the khon started, I, like most viewers, was immediately in awe of the dazzling embroidered costumes and scenery. Stunning pa yok fabric from Nakhon Si Thammarat and several royal vehicles were used in the performance.

The first scene was “Longka City’s Throne Hall”. The set and decorations looked similar to that of the previous episode, inspired by the architecture and art of a number of royal mansions and temples. Demon king Thotsakan of Longka learns about the death of his nephew Mangkornkan. Thus, he orders his grandson Virunmuk to lead the army while Indrajit, one of Thotsakan’s sons, is performing the ritual to soak his arrow Nagabas in the pool of the naga’s venom in order to boost its power and use it in fighting Phra Ram’s army. The way Thotsakan uses affectionate gestures and words with Virunmuk brought smiles to many faces. The giant king’s exquisite apparel and jewellery also impressed others. The Battle of Indrajit: Nagabas is extraordinary because the script, penned by King Rama I, is different from that written by King Rama II in the depiction of Virunmuk: here there is a demon child with a top knot hairdo who rides a horse.

Next came the “Army Inspection At Longka City Wall” scene which was quite long, but nevertheless very enjoyable. The rhythmic music was lively and the dance by about 100 performers playing giant generals and soldiers was powerful and exciting. The standout performance was the very rare Plerng Na Part Samer dance, passed down from the late khon guru Yai Changthong and performed by the dancer playing Virunmuk when he was inspecting the troops.

In the next scene, “Phra Ram’s Pavilion”, the modest beauty of the wooden structure amid the mural-like forest backdrop impressed me, while monkey warriors performed jocular acts.

Interestingly, the naga dance in the “Rothan Hollow” scene was both exquisite and scary while the battlefield scenes were spectacular for utilising a new scene-shifting technique and a gigantic Garuda flying down from the sky to destroy the naga.

Although Nagabas is mainly about conflicts and fighting, a lot of smile-inducing details have been brilliantly added to certain scenes without interrupting the spirit of war. In a battlefield scene, the audience couldn’t help but chuckle when Virunmuk displayed childish and stubborn gestures after being captured. In addition, the scene when monkey warders interrogate Virunmuk and later brand his face with tattoos was politically satirical and brought loud laughter from many in the audience.

This episode has several scenes that require the help of slings, including when the monkey warrior Champhuwaraj flies from Phra Ram’s pavilion to Arkas Mountain, Indrajit flies to the mountain top to wait to shoot the arrow at Phra Lak and the performer playing the Naga flies down to attack Phra Lak. Several of the performers playing monkey warriors and the bear also displayed their martial arts skills and did somersaults.

The ultimate highlight is the scene when the gigantic Garuda flies down from the sky to destroy the nagas, which came from the arrow of Nagabas. The 7m-high Garuda statue looked huge when moving in the air with the help of slings.

That night, I returned home feeling thoroughly impressed by the beautiful dances, costumes and special techniques in four scenes — Virunmuk inspecting the troops at the city wall, Virunmuk fighting the duo of Hanuman and Ongkhot, the naga dance in the Rothan Hollow scene and the nagas falling from the sky to attack Phra Lak and the monkey army.

In all, every edition of the Support Foundation’s khon performance from the epic Ramakien has been of rare quality and an example of consistency over the years for its incredible beauty of dancing, singing, voice-overs, dialogue, costumes and overall imagination.


- The Battle of Indrajit: Nagabas will be staged at the Main Hall, Thailand Cultural Centre, every day except Mondays until Dec 5.

- Tickets are priced at 1,520 baht, 1,020 baht, 820 baht, 620 baht and 420 baht for the general public and 120 baht for students’ performances.

- Visit www.thaiticketmajor.com for reservations and more information.

The fight between Virunmuk and the duo of monkey warriors Hanuman and Ongkhot.
The Garuda flies down to save Phra Lak and the monkey army from the nagas after the Nagabas arrow is shot by Indrajit, one of the demon king's Thotsakan's sons.
 

Location

14, Ratchadaphisek Rd., Huai Khwang, Huai Khwang, Bangkok 10310 Thailand

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