Vol. VIII No. 10 - Tuesday
March 10 - March 16, 2009



Home
Automania
News
Book-Movies-Music
Columns
Community
Art, Music & Culture
Happenings
Dining Out & Entertainment
Features
Social Scene
Sports
Travel & Tourism
Chiang Mai FeMail
Daily Horoscope
Cartoons
Happy Birthday HM Queen Sirikit
Current Movies in
Chiangmai's Cinemas
Advertising Rates
Classifieds
Back Issues
Updated every Tuesday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern


Art, Music & Culture • Entertainment • Lifestyles
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

‘That Takes Ovaries’ a great success – for the second year running

Traditional Japanese music is becoming trendy

Salsa on the Champs-Elysees?

Speak Truth to Power – Voices from Beyond the Dark

 

‘That Takes Ovaries’ a great success – for the second year running

The cast of this year’s ‘That takes Ovaries.’

Michael Davies
The AUA auditorium on Rachadamnoen Road was the venue for the second showing of the highly successful play ‘That Takes Ovaries.’ This year, a 15 member cast performed 11 entirely new scenes of true stories of courageous men and women who have overcome adversity, fighting for their rights, facing difficult personal choices, and ultimately seeking what all humans need – the overcoming of social and economic impediments to personal fulfilment. The personal stories enacted were both personal and political, and included scenes which dealt with child prostitution, discrimination, honour killings, rape, and other issues – all demonstrating feats of unusual courage.
The international cast included Monika Braendli, Bob Young, David Brown, David Arnold, Matta Nandrakwang, Irene Barrientos, Walang Gasigitamrong, Lisa Offringa, Purnima Iyer, Neville Powis, Fiona Oakes, June Unland and Dee Fancett, all of whom gave fascinating and well-thought-out performances. ‘That takes Ovaries’ was directed by Dr. Laura Godtfredsen, who has been given the rights to perform the play for charity in Thailand by Rivka Solomon, the author. Each scene was accompanied by the artful playing of Remi Nantep at the piano, and Stephan Turner from the Gate Theatre Company stage managed with his usual flair and skill.
For those of us who missed it this time, or even both times, perhaps we could persuade Dr. Laura to make this an annual event.

 

Traditional Japanese music is becoming trendy

CMM Reporters
Chiang Mai University’s Art Museum theatre was the venue for a very special concert of traditional Japanese music on February 28, which marked the beginning of the 2009 cultural music exchange between Japan and the six countries of the Greater Mekong sub-region, Thailand, Japan, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Laos and Vietnam. The much-appreciated concert, crowded with Thais, Japanese, Westerners and students, will be repeated in the other GMS countries at a later date.

Tomoya and Tomoka kept the audience enthralled at Chiang Mai University’s Art Museum Theatre.
The event’s organisers, the Consulate General of Japan in Chiang Mai and the Japanese Education Center of Chiang Mai University, had invited artistes Nakai Tomoya and Nagasu Tomoka to perform in Chiang Mai for the third time to celebrate the 2009 musical exchange. Junko Yokata, Chiang Mai’s Japanese consul-general, noted in her introductory speech that the Japanese government were enthusiastic about the exchange, adding that culture and the arts, which include music, speech, traditional costume and the creative arts, all contribute to international understanding and friendship as well as to international trade.
The traditional instruments, such as the bamboo flute, the Satsuma biwa and the 25 and 13 string kotos, together with the songs featured in the concert, have been specific to rural Japan for hundreds of years, with regional variations relevant to the style of music and the arrangements, as with Jiuta music, traditional to western Japan. The two musicians both studied with famous Japanese teachers. Tomoka studied the shakuhachi with ‘living national treasures’ Goro Yamaguchi and Ryumei Matsuyama. Both have wide experience of concert appearances both in Japan and internationally, with Tomoka representing Japan at the International Flute Festival in Dresden. Tomoya is also a composer, plays the shamisen, has featured in magazines, made recordings and won awards. A specific project of his is the interpretation on the 25 string koto of music composed for Noh plays (an ancient form of Japanese drama).
In Japan, at present, young people are more appreciative of the ancient instruments and the country’s musical traditions; consequently, the Japanese government is promoting the learning of the instruments and the ancient styles amongst its youth. It seems that, as a result, traditional music is again becoming trendy!


Salsa on the Champs-Elysees?

Jai-Pee
The very talented and knowledgeable student Laphawan Chavengsaksongkram gave a small but enthusiastic audience in the Saisuree Hall at Payap University a delightfully informed lecture-recital on the piano music of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos on February 27. Bravery or madness? Villa-Lobos’ music is not particularly well-known in the West, never mind in the old Lanna Kingdom of northern Thailand! And his pieces for piano are real rarities in the concert halls. As Laphawan was quick to point out, this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the composer’s death, so perhaps there was more bravery here than madness! And this was an instructive, well-planned and interesting insight into this unique composer whose music, while retaining its Latin-American roots very clearly, especially in its rhythms, is peppered with European and some American influences as well. Laphawan had prepared her material most thoroughly; speaking mainly in Thai but with her slide projection in English with charming illustrations, we were taken through the composer’s life and times, with the focus on his piano compositions.
Villa-Lobos spent much of his life in Paris, and he was greatly influenced by Fauré and Debussy. During his lifetime, the composer met distinguished musicians and other composers such as Artur Rubenstein, Richard Strauss, who conducted some of his pieces in Rio de Janiero in 1923 while on tour with the Vienna State Opera, as well as Aaron Copeland after the Second World War. Laphawan performed several little illustrations to highlight this composer’s uniqueness, before launching into a performance of his 1942 composition, Poema Singelo (Simple Poem). Her playing showed a good grasp of the composer’s style and technique, the opening nostalgic waltz-like theme being delivered with significant expression and feeling. The most interesting, entertaining and longest piece that Laphawan performed was a composition written for children to play – Francette et Pia, a cultural story of two youngsters and their friendship. Combining French children’s tunes with the strident rhythms of Latin-America, Laphawan played the several movements with surety and firmness, capturing these two essential elements in a very intelligent and polished manner. With her relaxed, informative and pleasant approach, this was a rare opportunity to hear these delightful pieces and become well-informed about this cigar-smoking composer who successfully combined the rhythms of South America with the elegant melodies of France.


Speak Truth to Power – Voices from Beyond the Dark

The cast of ‘Speak Truth to Power ’.

Elena Edwards
Speak Truth to Power
– Voices from Beyond the Dark. Powerful words to describe a heart-wrenching hour on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at the AUA theatre last week.
The play – a series of brief monologues read by the actors – was adapted from the book Speak Truth to Power by Kerry Kennedy, which deals with that highly controversial issue, the abuse of our basic human rights. It has been performed around the world, in both hemispheres, countless times; actors, some famous, from many countries, have stood on a stage and read quoted personal accounts from human rights defenders who have been abused, tortured, imprisoned and attacked.
As the play began, 18 people – led by Rachel Morris (with only three days’ rehearsal) and a cast not finalised until the morning of the first performance – were grouped on the stage at AUA, unmoving, staring at the floor and holding their scripts throughout. 16, representing the human rights defenders, were dressed in black, two, a man and a woman, representing ‘evangelists of evil, malicious and sarcastic embodiments of fear and repression at first; then, as the play develops, displaying the indifference which is the perpetual opposite of love;’ prowled amongst the 16, whispering, probing and threatening.
The readings began. “Courage begins with one voice. It’s that simple. I did what I had to do. That is what we know. You walk into the corridor of death, and you know.’ And continued, “I know what it is to wait in the dark for torture. I know what it is to wait in the dark for truth. I did what I had to do. Anything else would have tasted like ashes.” Quotes from human rights defenders from many countries where human rights are ignored, and human cruelty predominates. Digna Ochoa, from Mexico, a nun and a lawyer. An unnamed man who spent 20 years in a Vietnamese prison. Hina Jilani from Pakistan, another lawyer. Dianna Ortiz, an American teacher working in Guatemala, tortured by Americans. Koigi Wa Wamwere from Kenya. Marina Pisklakova, who started the first domestic violence hotline in Russia. Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa, who states, “God says, Get Up. He dusts us off and says ‘Try Again.’ God says ‘Try Again’”. And many, many more, detailing the continued human rights abuse of those who cannot fight back, and the human rights abuse experienced by those who fight back on their behalf.
And, all through the play, the two evil entities, prowling, denying, belittling and verbally abusing, constantly repeating, ‘Nobody cares. Everybody will forget.’
On all three nights, at the end of the play, the cast received applause. But the faces of the audience told it all – the shock, the distress, the helplessness, even the muted anger. The usual buzz of animated conversation after a show was, at best, also muted, at worst (or maybe at best), missing entirely. The play had, clearly, made its point.
We do care. We will not forget. The Voices from Beyond the Dark will continue to be heard.



Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
THAILAND
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
www.chiangmai-mail.com
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]

Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.