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A classic tale set to dance

Kew Nang Kaew, a Lanna folktale

Waewdao Sirisook is joined by Darunee Phonwithun and Phattharaporn Phikroh to perform the Spirit Dance.

By Shana Kongmun
A story as old as the hills and familiar to most women; boy meets girl, boy woos girl, boy wins girl, boy runs away after getting what he wants. And because it’s a local tale, naturally girl follows boy and dies tragically, and comes back to haunt boy.

Nang Kaew is seen here, haunting her lover in the shadows.

This is the local tale of Kew Nang Kaew, a young girl living in the valley near the pass of Doi Saket. Long ago, traders would rest in the valley before traversing the mountai pass in their caravans. Young Nang Kaew was swept off her feet by one of the traders who came to her village on the day of the Fauwn Pii, Spirits Dance. He promised to come back to her and marry her but many years passed and he failed to show. Nang Kaew, heartbroken and mind beginning to slip from the loss leaves her village to search for her lost lover but dies along the way, leaving her spirit in the earthly world. Villagers built a shrine to her at the foot of the mountain where she died, believing that she is forever waiting and looking for her lover.
The traditional music follows the modern interpretation of the tale told through dance. Famed for the beauty of her performances, Waewao Sirisook is partnered by Ronnarong Khampha in telling the story of poor lost Nang Kaew. The ambiance is spectacular, set in a timber and thatched theater with a flaming tree of oil lamps lighting most of the performance. The flirtatious meeting, the joy in each other and the heartbreak at being abandoned all depicted by emotive and graceful dancers.
Kew Nang Kaew was performed throughout January with next weekend being the final performance. At the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center on Wualai road, 7 pm January 18 and 19.

The cast and musicians are joined by Ajarn Vithi Panichaphant, whom Waewdao called her muse and her mentor.

 


Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward from the Gate Theater

The Gate Theater’s first production of their 2013 season will be the classic comedy “Blithe Spirit” by the British playwright Noel Coward and will be performed at the Studio Theater, 7th Floor Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Mall January 24-27, 2013.

Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit is the Gate Theater’s first performance of the year, here the three stars are seen

Set in the Summer of 2012 in the home of successful author Charles Condomine (John Davies) and his second wife Ruth (Joan Welch), Charles is about to start writing his next novel “The Unseen”, which features a homicidal medium.

Deciding that he needs some background material, Charles invites eccentric medium Madame Arcarti (Joyce Matchett) to hold a sťance at his home, and invites his friends George Bradman (Brian Brown) and George’s daughter Violet (Karen Dodgson) to join in the fun.

Blithe Spirit will be shown at the Kad Theater at Kad Suan Kaew from January 24-27.

Things go awry when the ghost of Charles’ first wife Elvira (Gabriella Draboczi) is instead summoned from “the other side”, though only Charles (and the audience) can see or hear Elvira. Not all is as it seems however, as chaos ensues, Ruth deciding that Charles is trying to drive her mad, Elvira plots her own schemes, and the Condomine’s incompetent maid Edith (Dee Fancett) falls down the stairs and is confined to bed. After further misadventures, the truth behind Elvira’s re-appearance is revealed and peace of a sort returns.
This comedy has delighted audiences all over the world, and has been gently updated by the director Simon Welch to reflect the play’s multinational cast, without losing any of the delights of the original.
The play will be presented at the Studio Theater, 7th Floor Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Mall, Huay Kaew Road on Thursday, Friday & Saturday 24th, 25th & 26th January at 7.00 pm with a matinee on Sunday 27th January at 2.00 pm. Tickets (suggested donation B250) may be obtained from the Information Desk 1st Floor Kad Suan Kaew or by e-mail from [email protected]


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A classic tale set to dance

Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward from the Gate Theater