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 Theatre 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 Japan 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 in Bangkok
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.
- January 2018
Meeting in Kumamoto for elaboration of the script
This meeting was held for discussion to elaborate and improve the script which Okada was then writing. For this meeting, Wichaya Artamat, the assistant director; Sho Fukutomi, who translated the original Thai novel into Japanese; and Matana Jaturasangpairoj, who assisted the Japanese translation, came to Japan to confer with Okada, producer Akane Nakamura, and the production staff. Devoted to refinement for reflection of nuances in both Thai and Japanese and to discussion on directorial visions for the performance, the meeting led to finalization of the script.
- April 2018
Meeting in Kumamoto for discussion on concept
At this meeting, Okada and Yuya Tsukahara discussed the concept for the play in Kumamoto. Tsukahara described his vision, and the two shared views on the design not only of space and scenes but also the flow of the scenography in time and the accompanying movement of actors and the creation team members.
- June-August 2018
Rehearsals and world premiere in Bangkok
Okada, Tsukahara, and other Japanese members of the creation team stayed in Bangkok to conduct rehearsals in preparation for the performance together with the actors and Thai members of the creation team. On August 22, 2018, the play had its world premiere at the Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts attached to the Faculty of Arts in Chulalongkorn University.
- December 2018
European premiere in Paris
European premiere at the Pompidou Center in Paris, as an official program in the Festival d’Automne à Paris / Japonismes 2018.