About the piece
A spirited novelist in the vanguard of contemporary Thai literature, novelist Uthis Haemamool, has won high accolades internationally for his brilliant examinations of the identity and psyche of individuals living in today’s Asia. Toshiki Okada, playwright and director of the theatrical company chelfitsch, quickly became a focus of attention throughout the world of theater for his style incorporating the daily doings and mindset of Japanese youth into an updated version of contemporary theater. He has since staged works reflecting his keen insights into contemporary society at major festivals and theaters inside and outside Japan.
These two creators are collaborating for the first time in the making of “Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession,” a theatrical adaptation of Haemamool’s latest novel by Okada. The world premiere performance will be held in Bangkok.
The protagonist of the narrative is a lone painter who lives in Bangkok. He struggles while searching for himself in his artistic activities and the surrounding social context, and goes through various encounters and losses. In the temporal flow from the 1990s to the present, the play vividly depicts the psyche and sexual feelings of the characters, with echoes of the history of and political changes in the society they inhabit. In so doing, it poses the fundamental question of just what it means to live.
The play is performed by 11 extremely talented actors who were selected through auditions held in Bangkok. Yuya Tsukahara, a member of contact Gonzo, discharges the role of scenographer and handles the spatial design. The assistant director is Wichaya Artamat, a director coming to the fore who is based in Bangkok and is active in For What Theatre and other groups. The play will have the additional support of other creators who are coming together from Thailand and Japan.
The world premiere is not to be missed!
Message from Artists
From Uthis Haemamool
To see my own novel adapted for the stage is an experience far exceeding mere joy, because it brought a cherished desire of mine into reality. The story is brimming with what is deemed provocative or banned in this society devoid of freedom, whose members are oppressed, unable to speak, and not allowed to speak. It is something that is very fragile yet sharp.
My novel is adapted for the theater by Toshiki Okada, a director fully equipped with a philosophy and vision of artistic creation who placed his trust in this work. Taboos and the challenge of them are bound to capture our hearts.
The two of us are artists, and we will find common ground once we start the process of creation, regardless of how different we are in respects such as our ethnicity, the societies in which we live, and the languages in which we communicate. Together we will crawl out on the brittle, dangerous tightrope, in order to engender action and expression like those of theater, and to live beautifully – inside our artistic creation.
This is precisely why this piece is not to be missed, no matter what.
（July 2018, Uthis Harmamool）
From Toshiki Okada
Uthis Haemamool’s novel is absolutely bursting with energy generated by anger and sorrow. Depicting the sexual and artistic career of an artist in contemporary Thai society, it describes how he becomes worn out, warped, and stripped of spirit while struggling under the sociopolitical circumstances of his country as it undergoes continuous and tempestuous change. It is an amazingly dense and provocative novel, and a painfully earnest one. I am attempting to create a work of theater adapted from it.
We live trapped in our bodies. We live seized by their desires. We live fettered by our countries, and seized by their desires. While unavoidably held captive by these things, we struggle with life, become tired, and grow old. This is what I want to present in a theatrical performance, and by creating theater of a type never before seen by anyone.
（June 2018, Toshiki Okada）
From Yuya Tsukahara
Lately, I often think of the 1990s.
I turned 14 in 1993 and 20 in 1999.
The FIFA World Cup was held in the United States in 1994 and in France in 1998.
Today, football (soccer) as a sport is completely different from what it was in the 1990s.
Perhaps the same can be said about our behavior. Recently, I have constantly been thinking about things like the way we walk, talk, and feel distance from others.
In this age, there are many elements that not only make us feel nostalgic but are akin to “causal factors” for understanding the present. The slickness of Eurobeat tracks. The bearing of politicians appearing on TV. The crunching of a porno VHS cassette as it is sucked into the slot of a video deck.
The age has finally arrived when such things are being turned into art.
And yet, in my own work, I want to do all I can to deconstruct them.
（July 2018, Yuya Tsukahara）
Original novel by: Uthis Haemamool（Original title in Thai ”Rang Khong Pratthana”）
Script, Direction: Toshiki Okada
Scenography: Yuya Tsukahara
Casts: Jarunun Phantachat, Kemmachat Sermsukchareonchai, Kwankaew Kongnisai, Pavinee Samakkabutr, Sasapin Siriwanij, Tap-a-nan Tandulyawat, Teerawat Mulvilai, Thanaphon Accawatanyu, Thongchai Pimapunsri, Waywiree Ittianunkul, Witwisit Hiranyawongkul
Costumes: Kyoko Fujitani (FAIFAI)
Lighting Design: Pornpan Arayaveerasid
Sound: Masamitsu Araki
Scenography assistant and Video: Takuya Matsumi
Technical director: Kazushi Ota
Original novel translation: Sho Fukutomi
Script translation: Muthita Panich
Translation cooperation: Patarasorn Koopipat, Matana Jaturasangpairoj
Interpreter: Patarasorn Koopipat, Paiboon Patjareesakul
Publicity Design: Yasuwo Miyamura
Original drawing for publicity design: Uthis Haemamool
Executive Producer: Akane Nakamura
Production manager: Yoko Kawasaki
Producer: Tamiko Ouki
Assistant producer: Megumi Mizuno, Pornjittra Vongsrisawat
Tickets: Jaturachai Srichanwanpe, Napak Tricharoendej, Ladda Kongdach
PR cooperation: Eriko Nishitani (Relay Relay)
Organized by: The Japan Foundation Asia Center, precog co.,LTD., chelfitsch
Supported by Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture), The Saison Foundation
Venue cooperation: Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University,College of Social Communication Innovation, Srinakharinwirot University, Democrazy Theatre Studio
In cooperation with: Bangkok City City Gallery, Candide Books, all(zone), ARTIST+RUN GALLERY, Bangkok Arts & Culture Centre, B-floor Theatre
Endorsed by Japanese Association in Thailand