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Khon of Thailand (and Asian Mutual Culture) Gets Faded Away

by MThai E. Team

Khon, a Thai stage performance, is valued for its great performance comprising of fine arts including high levels of acting. Thailand is one of Khon cultured among India, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Indonesia, which Thai Khon was sometimes in its hard times.

During the early Rattanakosin era, from the reign of Rama I, Khon was in its prosperous time until the reign of Rama IV, other stage performances replaced Khon when they were more simple and easier in terms of performing. While the late years of Rama VI and the early years of Rama VII, Khon was considered lavish, while the World War I was about to explore.

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Reasons Khon was in trouble so many times.

1. It’s a glamorous performance with heaven-like stage decorations.

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2. Every cast is always in his best cut and ornamental costume that need high funding to support.

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Costume of Rama or Pra Ram

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A cast of Pra Ram

front-bottom cloth of Pra Ram

front-bottom cloth of Pra Ram

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Costume :Lady Sita or Nang Seeda

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Nang Seeda – Lady Sita

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Costume : Hanuman


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Costume: Ravana or Tossakan (10-faced devil)


* A fact – almost a hundred or more than a hundred actors join in an episode.

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3. Each of the cast must be working hard and tested until they are good enough to be on the stage. The casts must be great in Thai dancing and stage acting, which doing in a large theater.

 

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4. Khon has been always replaced by other simple entertainments. Since the late years of Rama IV, something like plays were more found and eventually other modern performances, television, radio, film and eventually internet.

The Queen of Thailand revived Khon

Through a long way of being exhausted, in 2007, Khon has been re-established by Her Majesty the Queen, through the SUPPORT Foundation shortening for the Foundation of the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand, Khon has returned to its prosperous time.

After the great performance in 2007 to celebrate the King Bhumibol’s 80th birthday, Khon’s got back on tracks, yet many of Thai people are concerned of disappearance of Khon as the way it was.

Senior female fans of Khon from Samut Prakan, Grandny Taew, Grandny Tin and Grandny Orn told MThai English about their love of Khon.

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They are big Khon fans.

“We have been the fan of Khon since 1952, when we were teenagers.” one of the Grandmas Said.

“We found it’s much easier to see Khon at that time than these days.”
The performances were often around the countryside near their homes, which needed no longer hours traveling like nowadays and it came in a single episode.

“The beautiful Thai dancing, Thai style rhymes and traditional Thai music are Khon’s charms. We love the old style Thai songs that we are always listening to them through the radio.”

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The ladies agreed that Hanuman is the performance’s hero because of his bravery and cleverness always helping the Rama.

“It will be a grief if Khon disappeared from the country. It’s great that Her Majesty the Queen and Princess Sirindhorn have kindly brought it back.”

Sineenart Pothivet, a senior Thai actress, was spending for hours there, told MThai English about Khon.

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“I was performing Khon when I was 9, played Manee-mekkala and the golden deer.”

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Pra Ram is hunting the golden deer.

“Khon’s not supposed to fade away from Thailand. Youths are ones keeping it for Thailand.” She said.

Thanks for the great performance in 2007 for the King Bhumibol’s 80th birthday celebration that Her Majesty the Queen initiated and planned for yearly performances.

Kate, 20, a university student told MThai English that her first Khon seeing was one of the Queen’s Khon, then she was again at Thailand Cultural Center, Huay Kwang, for another performance.

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“I firstly got impressed by the beautiful setting, the way the story went on including its hilarious scenes.” Kate said.

She was surprised at the first time as a Khon’s audience.

“Before seeing it, I thought it must be boring and I could be sleeping during the performance, but I was wrong. Khon is great and getting you stimulated.” Said Kate.

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Nila or Nin (Dark or black), he is a monkey who is Hanuman’s forever enemy.

Kate’s hero in the Ramayana is Rama or Pra Ram, one of leading roles.
“I don’t think Khon will be gone. Lots of Khon audiences seeing it has been proving Khon will be going on.” She closed.

Miw, 20, a friend of Kate agreed with Kate that Khon is going its way.

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“Khon is distinctive whether the rhymes, lyrics, dancing to acting. They are all traditional Thai different from modern musical shows. With its unique mentioned, Khon will not disappear.”

“Thai kids are introduced of Khon that they will love it and keep Khon going on.”

Pokpawng, 19, as a German majored Sophomore of Kasetsart University told MThai English that he thought it must be boring seeing Khon, but he was wrong.

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“Khon is comprising of arts whether setting, mask making, costume designing, rhymes and lyrics to dancing and acting. Khon, in terms of performing, has been developed and updated to meet the changing world, especially its hilarious gags.”

Pokpawng said he admires Pipek, a good devil who always backs the Rama.

“Pipek is an intelligent one. He is the Rama’s loyally sophisticated supporter.

 

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It seems Khon has the future when next generations are adored by it. Pakorn Ponpisut, a senior Khon instructor told MThai English about Khon survival that it is necessary for the new generations to get prepared before seeing a performance.

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“Introducing Khon with how Pra Ram, Pra Luks or Lukshman dress up and get audiences to know better about the story, including keeping performing shortly for all ages would be gaining more audiences.”
Khon is getting more international these days.

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Pakorn Ponpisut, a major Khon Instructor

“Khon is easier described than a play that it has less leading roles with proper episode performing, international gestures, sometimes, provided with bi-lingual descriptions.

Watcharawan Thanapat, a Ravana (10-faced devil) cast, who is an expert Thai dancing artist, told MThai English that Khon is never going away.

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Awww <3 <3 the Devil

“With over 10-year Khon practice and almost 20 years Khon performing, I don’t think Khon will be gone. I found that there are more audiences till the time being. Provincial colleges of traditional Thai dancing are giving Khon programs surprisingly getting more students.”

 

Hot and Cute Ravana ha ha ha 2

“All I am worried is there are going to get shortfalls of proficiency Khon instructors.”

While Wisarut Ngam-sa-nguan and Wasupol Fukyen, monkey-role casts told MThai English that Khon will not be gone because there are more students interested in it.

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Two of Monkey Casts having some ice scream

“There are many provincial colleges opening Khon performance courses. It depends on each student’s capability and their own character to get them a better chance. Acting study is not for only Khon performance, but it’s also for all acting careers.”

“We are the younger generation who keeping and passing it on.” Who said it?

We’ve got one of the major Khon experts at last. Prasart Thong-aram, a Khon artist, traditional Thai music and Thai culture and history expert.

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Prasart Thong-aram or Kru Meud

Prasart Thong-Aram, Kru Meud (Kru – teacher or instructor, Meud – darkness) told MThai English that Khon has been better-known among generations, especially by the under of the Queen Sirikit’s support.

“Khon will never get lost from Thailand, I guarantee.”

Of course, we hope so.

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