July 16, 2011

castlewall  laopann

And finally… It’s a wrap! Our big day was last Saturday, July 2nd! It’s amazing how much a show comes together when you finally arrive at the venue (Thailand’s National Theatre). We’d been practicing on tabletops, benches and folding chairs and finally came face to face with our a royal chariot, castle wall and forest scenery. It was difficult telling our little ones not too run and play around the stage crew.

Ajarn Thong, the visiting dance professor who did a week-long intensive for us in the spring, performs regularly with the national dance company and came to offer final direction to our performers. Alumni from the THR trips in the 90’s reunited with our then dance teacher, Kru Yuth, who brought in his cavalry of make-up artists and dressers. We aren’t accustomed to our make-up being so heavy (but beautiful) and costumes being corsette-tight (as they should).

The day following the show, our lead performers traded in gold headdresses for helmets and harnesses at Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures – followed by an overnight stay in a farming village. More than just being a performing group – we want this to be a friendship building experience for the kids. We also wanted to complement the week in cosmopolitan Bangkok with rural lifestyle education as well (many of our folk pieces are inspired by agricultural practices).

From the coordinator perspective, it’s hard to tell now much the experience will root itself in our student’s minds. We only hope it will be as formative for them as it was for us ten years ago, and that they will remember this trip like we did and stay committed to the center and the Thai Temple once we return home. If anything, THR has set our brainstorming wheels are turning on how to further develop our students, our programs… stay tuned!!! Follow us on Facebook for further updates and see you at our Bay Area October production of Phra Apai Manee!!!