“Pratthana – A Portrait of Possession” had its world premiere in Bangkok in 2018. It tells the story of an artist and his life against the background of modern Thai history. In a dizzying mix of ingredients including national identity, political confrontation, art, sex, pop culture, and repeated military coups, he struggles body and soul with the question of human happiness and his loneliness. While torn apart in the process, he nevertheless has a yearning and craving for life.
This is definitely not a story of Thailand alone; it also belongs to us – we and you who are alive today.
The play is a theatrical adaptation of a novel by Uthis Haemamool, one of the foremost authors on Thailand’s contemporary literary scene. It was written and directed by Toshiki Okada, and the scenography was reconstructed by Yuya Tsukahara, a member of the performance group contact Gonzo. It was given the Best Play Award in the IATC Thailand Dance and Theatre Awards 2018, which is Thailand’s only program of awards for performing arts, and received the highest accolades in Bangkok’s theatrical circles. Its performance at the Pompidou Center in Paris (as an official program in the Festival d’Automne à Paris / Japonismes 2018) also evoked a great reaction. This elaborate 4-hour production replete with innovative features is finally going to have its first-ever performance in Japan!About
While depicting the life of a single artist in Thailand, “Pratthana: A Portrait of Possession” takes up universal questions that have to do with social situations surrounding our lives and life itself.
One of its themes is the hidden borderlines that we all confront just by living in contemporary society:
borders between the self and others, life and death, man and woman, one class and another class, past and present, the individual and the nation, Western art and art on its periphery, the controller and controlled, and desire and its object.
Borderlines of all sorts also can make living harder for us, and Okada and Tsukahara interweave them with the dichotomies of stage/audience seating and reality/fiction, so that they are presented as a firsthand experience for all in attendance. Can borderlines be overcome, or do they continue existing without being overcome? ――Learn more