"About Khon" showcases an East-West dance tour de force
Thai classical dancer Pichet Klunchun teams up with French choreographer-provocateur Jerome Bel to present an intriguing production, "About Khon", at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in mid-November.
"About Khon", which puts Thailand's court dance drama "Khon" under a contemporary spotlight, comprises two parts. The first part is a dialogue between the two groundbreaking artists. Exploring culture, religion and life with openness, honesty and humour, the duo establish a novel dialogue between drastically different worlds while critically examining the state of dance today.
The second part is Thailand's centuries-old court dance drama by Pichet Klunchun Dance Company. With a history of more than 600 years, the principal theme in Khon is based on the epic poem Ramakien, the Thai version of the Indian epic Ramayana. The story is about the adventures of the hero Rama, incarnation of the god Vishnu, and his love for the beautiful Sita. There are four characters in Khon: men, women, demons and monkeys. In the past, Khon was performed only by men. Almost all characters except women originally wore masks, but later on masks were used only for demons and monkeys. A narrator is used for all the lines and is an integral part of this challenging artistic performance together with the dancers and musicians.
Pichet Klunchun and Jerome Bel first collaborated on the stunning "Pichet Klunchun and Myself in 2005". An original fusion of East and West, "About Khon" premiered last year and has since appeared in numerous arts festivals across Asia.
Starting as a student of the late Khon master Chaiyot Khummanee at the age of 16, Pichet Klunchun has preserved and updated the ancient art form by stripping away superficial charm and injecting new essence into his remarkable works. Pichet pursued his career in theatre both as dancer and choreographer, and has performed at high-profile occasions, such as the opening and closing ceremonies of Asian Games in Bangkok in 1998. Pichet represented Thai artists at the Kunesten Festival Des Arts 2005 in Brussels, Belgium. He toured around the world with Jerome Bel to perform "Pichet Klunchun and Myself" and his solo piece "I am a demon" in the following two years. In 2007, Pichet participated at the Osaka-Asian Contemporary Dance Festival as a resident choreographer at DANCE BOX in Osaka, Japan.
Jerome Bel studied at the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine of Angers in France. Since 1994 he has choreographed a series of innovative works, such as "Nom donne par L'auteur" (Name given by the Author), "Jerome Bel", "Shirtology" and "The Last Performance", inviting his audience to think about the meaning of performance. His work "The Show Must Go On", which premiered in 2001, brought together a cast of 20 performers, 19 pop songs and one DJ. The piece was in the repertory of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg between 2000 and 2005. In 2005 the piece won him a Bessie Award in New York. In 2005 he created "Pichet Klunchun and Myself" with Pichet Klunchun, discoursing on their respective artistic practices despite the wide cultural gap between them. It has been staged nearly 100 times at numerous performing arts festivals in Asia and Europe.
Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, "About Khon" is one of the highlight programmes of the New Vision Arts Festival. It will be performed at 8pm on November 21 and 22 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre, with dialogue in English. A post-performance talk will be held after each performance.
Tickets priced at $120 and $200 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Group booking discounts of up to 20% are available.
Programme brochures are now available at URBTIX outlets or at the website, www.newvisionfestival.gov.hk
For programme enquiries, please call 2370 1044. Credit card telephone bookings can be made on 2111 5999 and telephone reservations on 2734 9009. Internet bookings can be made at www.urbtix.hk
Ends/Thursday, October 30, 2008
Thai classical dancer Pichet Klunchun teams up with French choreographer-provocateur Jerome Bel in presenting an intriguing production, "About Khon", which puts Thailand's centuries-old court dance drama "Khon" under a contemporary spotlight, at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in mid-November.
Thai classical dancer Pichet Klunchun teams up with French choreographer- provocateur Jerome Bel in presenting an intriguing production, "About Khon", which puts Thailand's centuries-old court dance drama "Khon" under a contemporary spotlight, at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in mid-November.