To live and create is to question the times.
The day of shame about lust for life/sex is also the day of salvation.
Our “self portrait” by two artists born in the 1970s.
About the work
A winner of the Southeast Asian Write Award and the Seven Book Award, Uthis Haemamool is in the very vanguard of contemporary Thai literature. Toshiki Okada is internationally active as leader of the theatrical company chelfitsch. “”Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession”” was born from the encounter of these two artists belonging to the same generation. It is a theatrical adaptation of Haemamool’s latest novel (titled “”Silhouette of Desire”” in English), with which Okada felt a strong empathy. The work grew out of the conversations between the two on the concept behind the novel in the autumn of 2016, when Haemamool was still writing it. It will have its world premiere in August 2018.
Haemamool and Okada have both produced original depictions of contemporary society based on keen insights. This is their first collaboration, and it poses an exceedingly universal question: Just what is the fundamental business of life? While portraying the life of the protagonist, an artist who lives in Bangkok, it interweaves the workings of society and the nation forming the backdrop of his activities, with layers that echo meetings and partings, and sexual episodes. It is a work of theater that speaks to all individuals living in the now.
Within Haemamool’s novel lie hidden borderlines between the self and others, life and death, man and woman, past and present, one class and another class, the individual and the nation, the controller and controlled, and desire and its object. Okada’s direction superimposes these unseen borderlines on the narrative and actors’ bodies, and puts them on the stage. Okada addresses this theme together with Yuya Tsukahara of contact Gonzo, who is participating in the role of scenographer in charge of spatial orchestration and design. Tsukahara is known in Japan and other countries for stunning performances that sometimes even resemble brawls, and applies various techniques across conventional genre borders, using body, space, video, and other media. He can make diverse borderlines between the stage and other space, reality and fiction, and other dichotomous pairs appear in the structure of the stage to envelope the audience, only to make them disappear later. By this depiction of such borderlines, which all who live in contemporary society have experienced at least once, the life of the protagonist may also cause the audience to question their own lives.
The cast consists of 11 actors who were selected through auditions held in Bangkok. They vary in age and experience, and their activities are not confined to acting; they are engaged in hybrid activities on their own initiative, in fields of interest to them. Some of the actors are also musical composers, lighting technicians, artists, or producers, for example.
The members of the creative team are up-and-coming artists from Thailand and Japan. In addition to scenographer Tsukahara, the assistant director is Wichaya Artamat, a director who is now in the spotlight and has twice taken awards from the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) – Thailand Centre. Costuming is being handled by Kyoko Fujitani, who, while active as a member of the Tokyo theatrical troupe FAIFAI, brings a unique perspective to stage costuming for works of theater, dance, art, and music in Japan and other countries. Lighting design has been assigned to Pornpan Arayaveerasid, an innovative lighting designer who was in charge of the lighting design for Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “”Fever Room”” and has come to the fore for his experimental directions. Sound design is in the hands of Masamitsu Araki, who has unveiled installations and performance works as a “”sound artist”” in his own right. Takuya Matsumi, who is a member of contact Gonzo alongside Tsukahara and also works as a graphic designer and photographer, is handling the video chores.
Haemamool, Okada, the cast of 11 actors, and the creative team are all artists living and working in the same age. Through their vision, this work definitely promises to expand the frontiers of theater itself as a form of artistic expression.
* The “”Pratthana”” in the title of the work is a Thai word meaning “”desire,”” and is also in the Thai title of “”Silhouette of Desire”, the novel by Uthis Haemamool on which the work is based.
Uthis Haemamool and Toshiki Okada first met in 2015.
Belonging to the same generation, these two rare talents have each created works based on keen insights into the contemporary age in which we live. They took the initial step toward the creation of “”Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession”” in November 2016, about one year after they first met. They subsequently worked out the concept for this piece through repeated dialogue.
November 2016: Research and open dialogue between Haemamool and Okada in Bangkok.
As a first step in the process of creation, Okada went to Bangkok! There, he heard about the concept behind the novel which Haemamool was then writing and would be adapted for the stage in this work. Okada felt a strong empathy with this concept, and “”Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession”” grew out of this reaction of his. In his research, Okada visited various places in Bangkok with Haemamool as his guide. In addition, the two participated in a dialogue that was open to the public. They began with remarks on the publication, in the same month, of the Thai translation of a collection of Okada’s novels titled “”The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed”” in English, before delving into each other’s work.
March 2017: Research and actors’ workshop in Bangkok and Chiang Mai
Okada went back to Thailand, to present his work “”“Super Premium Soft Double Vanilla Rich” in Bangkok and to visit places in the city appearing in the novel by Haemamool and possible sites for staging the play. In both Bangkok and Chiang Mai, he learned about Thailand’s history and social situation from artists, researchers, influencers, and various other people active in those cities, and deepened his articulation of the concept for adaptation.
Furthermore, Okada held an actors’ workshop with the cooperation of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and the theatrical companies B-Floor and Democrazy Theatre. This workshop was an opportunity for Okada to share his views on theater with the Thai actors.
April 2017: Audition of actors, assistant directors, and assistant producers, and additional research.
Okada returned to Bangkok to hold auditions there for six days, to select actors, an assistant director, and an assistant producer. The auditions resulted in the selection of 11 actors, one assistant director, and one assistant producer. Okada also questioned a Thai stage costumer about the connection between the background of the times and the contemporary fashion as well as touring possible venues for staging the play in Bangkok.
June 2017: Visit by Haemamool and the Thai creation team for research
Two months after the auditions in Bangkok, Haemamool and the Thai creation team came to Japan! In Tokyo, they held an “”artist talk”” event for the press that was also attended by Okada as their collaborator in the project. During their stay, Okada, Haemamool, and the members of the Thai creation team engaged in a lively exchange of views on the vision behind the work and ideas for its direction.
September 2017: Rehearsal
The scene again shifted to Thailand. The first stage of rehearsals was held for a period of ten days together with the actors chosen in the auditions in Bangkok. Rehearsals were also held within “”Silhouette of Desire,”” an exhibit of paintings by Haemamool held at Artist+Run Gallery in Bangkok at the same time. The exhibit was a project paralleling the eponymous novel on which the adaptation was based, and the rehearsals there served to deepen the sharing of the work’s vision by the actors.
Original novel by: Uthis Haemamool
Born in Kaeng Khoi in Saraburi, the central part of Thailand, in 1975, Uthis Haemamool graduated from Silpakorn University with a degree in painting, sculpture, and printmaking. “”The Brotherhood of Kaeng Khoi,”” his third full novel, was published in 2009 and established his position as an author. He won the Southeast Asian Write Award and the Seven Book Award for it in the same year, and was cited as one of the most important people in Thailand on the CNNGo show. In 2013, he was invited to speak along with the noted Thai film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul in “”Work in Memory,”” an artists workshop held by the Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA. Based on his interchange with six Japanese artists who also took part in this workshop, he subsequently wrote a medium-length novel titled “”Kyoto: Hidden Sense.”” From 2014 to 2015, Haemamool served as editor-in-chief of “”Writer Magazine,”” a Thai literary magazine, and “”Prakod,”” a literary journal published by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture in the Thai Ministry of Culture.
In June 2017, his latest novel “Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession” (The original title: “Rang Khong Pratthana”) was published in Thai. In the same year, he held an exhibition in Bangkok with his own drawings and paintings.
Script, Direction: Toshiki Okada
Born in Yokohama in 1973 and formed the theatre company chelfitsch in 1997. Since then he has written and directed all the company’s productions, practicing a distinctive methodology for creating plays, and has come to be known for his use of hyper-colloquial Japanese and unique choreography. In 2005, his play “Five Days in March” won the prestigious 49th Kishida Drama Award, and “Air Conditioner” was a finalist at the Toyota Choreography Awards 2005. In February 2007 his collection of novels “”The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed” debuted and was awarded the Oe Kenzaburo Prize. While his stories and plays continue to be published in Japan, his works have also been translated into many languages and published abroad. In 2016, he began a commission to direct works in a repertory program at the Munich Kammerspiele, one of foremost public theaters in Germany, for three consecutive seasons.
Scenography: Yuya Tsukahara
Born in Kyoto in 1979, graduated the art course of the Literary Research Dept. of Kwansei Gakuin University in 2004. He currently lives in Osaka. In 2006 Tsukahara formed the unit “contact Gonzo” with Masaru Kakio in Osaka. The unit began performing in parks or on the streets in an improvisational style of physical contact that explored what they termed “Philosophy of pain, technique of contact.” As solo projects, he directed “KOBE-Asia Contemporary Dance Festival” presented by NPO DANCE BOX and performance program of “Tokyo Art Meeting V Seeking New Genealogies−Bodies / Leaps / Traces” held at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2014. From 2015, he had been presented performance “Trilogy for Nukamuri Jamipos my future friend” for 3 years at the performance project “PLAY” started from 2014 at Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art. From 2011 to 2018, he served as a fellow of The Saison Foundation.
Assistant Director: Wichaya Artamat
Born in 1985, Artamat started working in theater after graduating from the Film Department, Thammasat University, as a project coordinator for Bangkok Theatre Festival 2008. He joined New Theatre Society in 2009, during which he grew to become a director recognized for various experimental forms and unconventional theatrical approach. He is especially interested in exploring how the society remembers and unremembers its history through certain calendar days, alongside collaborating with people from diverse creative disciplines. He co-founded For What Theatre in 2015 as a platform to question current social happenings as well as the theater form itself. His works “In Ther’s View: a Documentary Theatre” and “Three Days in May” were awarded Best Play by the International Association of Theatre Critics Thailand Centre Awards (IATC) in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Graduated from Mass Communication, Chaing Mai University, Phantachat is Co-Artistic Director and Founder of B-Floor Theatre; a movement-based theatre group in Bangkok. She is a Thai contemporary theatre director and dynamic physical performer. She has been performed in many productions of the company and be parts of several international collaboration projects in Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the USA. She has been praised as “one of the best stage actresses in the country”. Winner of the “Silpathorn Award” presented by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Ministry of Culture of Thailand in 2014. Recently in 2016, her role in a short movie “Ferris Wheels” brings her the best actress award from “ShortShorts Film Festival & Asia 2016”.
After graduating the faculty of Engineer at Chulalongkorn University, where he also studied Stage Lighting in the faculty of Arts and gained experience as an actor and lighting designer, he became a member of Democrazy Theatre Studio, where his role is a lighting designer and an actor. His outstanding theatrical achievements are: a performer in the performance “Fundamental”, by Teerawat Mulvilai from B-Floor Theatre, winning IATC Thailand Awards 2016 as the best performance by an ensemble, the best art direction and the best movement-based performance, a lighting designer for the play “Boxes”, by Adjima na pattalung, being nominated for five awards in IATC Thailand Awards 2014 and winning the best art direction, and actor in the play “Jao Rok – Imaginary Invalid” By Parnrut Kritchanchai from New Theatre Society, in which he played three characters.
A Thai actress and singer, mostly with credits in stage performances including musical theatre, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts by Bangkok University, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Music Theatre by Australian Institute of Music. In the profession as a singer, she is skilled in several styles including jazz, pop, Bossa, disco, musical, etc. She has professionalized in dubbing works also. With the talent she has shown in acting since a very young age, Kongnisai is a well trained and experienced stage actress. However, despite the already outstanding career, she continues to pursue her dream as an actor, a career not only defined by the beauty, elegance, and grace she has held. She is not yet satisfied with the icon style she has made in the past theatre works. She wants more, and to share more.
Samakkabutr has been working in the fields of theatre and performing art as actress, lighting designer, and producer with many theatre groups in Thailand to pursue her passion for performing arts and develop her skills for art profession since 2000, after graduating from Thammasat University in major of Drama, and from Chulalongkorn University in major of Speech Communication & Performing Arts. As an actress, she has continuously performed with various directors, Thai and international, such as Adjima Na Pattalung, Nikorn Saetang, Pradit Prasartthong, Wichaya Artamart, Oriza Hirata, and Mikuni Yanaihara. She is also co-founder and producer at Democrazy Theatre Studio, Bangkok, the progressive and independent studio that has produced a wide range of theatre works, events, and international festivals. Furthermore, she has been working with Democrazy to support a new generation of professional theatre practitioners, and new audience in Thailand.
A Bangkok-based performer, director, and producer, Siriwanij began acting while studying at Chulalongkorn University, where she received her M.A and B.A in English Literature. Having trained with various types of theater, she eventually joined B-Floor Theatre as a full-fledged member in 2009, and has been continuously performing in physical theater productions with the company both in Thailand and abroad since. Her directorial works began debuting in 2013. Her latest work was a performance titled “”OH! ODE”” (Oh! What Joy, What Goodness, What Beauty Calls For Ode No.7012) at WTF Gallery and Cafe, Bangkok, in 2017, and won her “”Best Performance by a Female Artist”” award at IATC 2017. Sasapin is also B-Floor’s project manager for many international collaborative projects, as well as working independently with international collaborators. In 2018, she is the chairperson of Bangkok International Performing Arts Meeting (BIPAM) board of artistic directors.
Graduated from Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University in, majoring in Performing Arts, he studied Dramatic arts from Faculty of Arts as a minor subject. He did a trainee position in Moradokmai theatre troop, the Thai troop believing in the Buddhist way of living and also merging the Buddhist philosophy into the methods of acting, directing and storytelling. He is a freelance actor, appearing both on stage and TV series, and also engages himself in directing his own work and writing script for TV series.
A co-artistic director of B-Floor Theatre. He is a versatile theater artist, who is also a performer, a dancer, and a director of physical theater. His works combine fine arts and performing arts, seeking to critique the society and politics, addressing injustice, violence, and structural problems that impact people’s lives. He is hailed as one of the most critically and socially conscious directors of our time. In 2012, he was honored with Piti Silp Santhi Dhamma Awards for his outstanding and continuous work that promotes peace, democracy, and justice.
A director, a playwright and a co-founder of a theatre company, Splashing Theatre. Graduated from faculty of journalism and mass communication, Thammasat University. He practiced and gained experience in theatre at a drama club, Thammasat (TU Drama). Besides doing theatre, he is also a freelance writer. Although he usually does not take part in acting, he loves theatre and is very passionate about taking part in it. He often writes and directs a play himself. His works usually tell a little story about a little man as he is more interested in them than any grand story or majority. Winner of Bangkok Theatre Festival Award 2015 “Best Original Script”.
An actor and a co-founder of a theatre company, Splashing Theatre. He graduated from the faculty of political science, Thammasat University. He practiced and gained experience in theatre at a drama club Thammasat (TU Drama). He has experience in many kinds of theatre such as dance, physical theatre, musical and he loves acting. Besides being an actor for the company, he also acted for other theatre troupes such as B-floor theatre and Anatta Theatre Troupe. Winner of IATC 2016 “Best Performance by Male Artist”.
As a performer, she works with progressive theatre companies such as B-Floor Theatre and Democrazy Theatre. She graduated from the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Recently, she worked in a Thai-German collaboration piece, “Happy Hunting Ground” (2016) by Democrazy Theatre Studio staged in Bangkok, Germany, and Switzerland. She also performed in “Manoland” (2015) an absurd dance by B-floor Theatre and “yoo-dee” (2014) a children’s play staged in Bangkok as well as in Sendai and Tokyo in Japan.
A multi-talented Thai performer; an actor, singer, songwriter and author. He rose to prominence as the lead in the Thai movie, ‘Love of Siam’. On the back of the movie’s popularity, his pop band, “August” found international fame in China and Thailand. As a solo artist, he goes by the name, ‘PCHY’, releasing albums for his legion of Thai and Chinese fans. In recent years, he has branched out into stage acting, appearing in the original play for ‘Chuichai Sanayha’ in 2013, the adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “Vieux-Carré” in 2014, and the adapted play of “Boeing Boeing” in 2015. At IATC 2016 his original musical “Cocktails” won awards in the categories of ‘Best Musical’ and ‘Best Performance by Male Artist’. ”
Costumes: Fujitani Kyoko (FAIFAI)
Born in 1981 and residing in Tokyo, Kyoko Fujitani is a costume designer and has been a member of FAIFAI since 2004. She has designed and made costumes for drama, dance, movies, fashion photography and art performances and has collaborated with many foreign and Japanese artists. She also actively gives workshops for children and the local community.
Lighting Design: Pornpan Arayaveerasid
A theatre designer and researcher. Graduated master degree in theatre design from Chulalongkorn University,Thailand. She has been working as a lighting designer for numerous theatre productions. Also as a design director of DuckUnit, a Bangkok-based multidiscipline design studio. Her works ranged from concerts, theatre to experimental performance. Her passion in exploring the possibilities of lighting results in the latest collaboration with Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s first performance “Fever Room” which is concerning light and smoke. Besides her artistic contributions she also lecture in Theater Design and do research in the topic “Non-Human Performance” and ”Time-image in Performing Arts.”
Sound: Masamitsu Araki
Born in 1981, Masamitsu Araki resides in Kyoto and is a sound artist. Using the techniques of sound documentaries and field recordings, he builds sound-centered listening space combining things around us and recordings. His portfolio of parallel projects includes Archives Pay (a creative group involved with recording), sound design for video and performance pieces, and work for New Manuke, an experimental junk band.
Scenography assistant and Video: Takuya Matsumi
Born in Japan in 1986. Photographer. Graduated from the Department of Graphic Design Course at Kyoto Seika University. In 2010, joined contact Gonzo as a performer and form the criminal family “Hanzai boys” with NAZE. Publish “”bonna nezze kaartz”” every month since 2015. http://qqiixiipp.hanzaiboyz.org/
Technical director: Kazushi Ota
Kazushi Ota is known for his construction of huge outdoor theaters for every performance as the stage director for Ishinha, an Osaka-based theatrical troupe. He was involved in almost all performances by Ishinha from 1992 to 2017, when the troupe disbanded. He also handled the theater plan for outdoor performances. Now working freelance as a stage director and technical director, he has helped to stage numerous performances of dance and theater as well as other events. Since 2017, he has also been serving as the technical director for the Kyoto Performing Arts Center and the Kyoto Art Theater.
Original novel translation: Sho Fukutomi
Born in 1986, Tokyo. Thai literary researcher, and Thai-Japanese translator. Specially-Appointed Lecturer at Global Initiative Center, Kagoshima University. He is the author of “Notes for Thai Contemporary Literature” (2017, Fukyo-sha) and co-author of other works including “”72 Chapters for Knowledge of Thailand”” (2014, Akashi Shoten), “Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Artist of Light and Memory” (2016, Film Art). He is translating “Wake Up New (Tun Bon Tiang Un)” by Prabda Yoon, appeared serially in Genron. He also leads talk sessions introducing cultural and intellectual figures from Thailand in the Genron Cafe hosted by Hiroki Azuma. He is promoting interchange between Japan and Thailand not only as a translator but also in a diversity of other ways.
Script translation: Muthita Panich
Thai-Japanese translator and interpreter. Bachelor degree in Information Engineering from Osaka University, Japan, Master degree in Information Sciences from Harvard University, USA. Had some experience in translation software development, then got addicted to do the job by human brain. Wide range of translation work from Japanese to Thai, from documentary to novels from various writers such as : “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage”, “IQ84” (Haruki Murakami), “IP/NN” (Kazushige Abe), “The Bridegroom Was a Dog”（Yoko Tawada）and others.
Translation cooperation: Patarasorn Koopipat
Graduated Bachelors degrees with Honours in the Japanese Section, Department of Eastern Languages, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. In 2015, she got a scholarship from the Education Ministry for a Japanese language / culture studies student at Osaka University for a year. She worked as a translator for a publishing house when she was still a university student, and has translated many comic books and light novels.
Translation cooperation: Matana Jaturasangpairoj
Born in Kumamoto and grew up in Bangkok. After finishing her Ph.D. coursework in Japanese Literature at Osaka University, she taught as a part-time lecturer before taking her position as a lecturer of the Japanese Section, Department of Eastern Languages, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University in 2012. She spent five months as a research fellow (Japan Foundation) at the Department of Japanese Language and Literature, School of Education, Waseda University in 2014. Matana’s area of specialization is modern and contemporary Japanese literature. She is also an active translator of works by contemporary authors such as Haruki Murakami, Hiromi Kawakami and Toshiki Okada.
Executive producer: Akane Nakamura
Born in 1979. Nakamura entered the performing arts world when she was still a student at the College of Arts, Nihon University. While serving as a program director at ST Spot Yokohama from 2004 to 2008, she co-founded precog co., Ltd in 2006. In 2012, she was commissioned by the British Council to direct “”Musicity City Tokyo,”” a unique art project that sought to bring music alive in Roppongi, Tokyo. In the same year, she produced the 2012 Kunisaki Peninsula Art Project as its program director. In 2014, she will continue to work as the director of the performing arts section of the Kunisaki Peninsula Art Festival. In November 2016, she became a grantee of Asian Cultural Council fellowship and has since moved her home base to Bangkok to conduct an extensive research on contemporary performing arts in Asia.