THE THIRD phase of two-year physical theatre collaboration between South Korea’s Theatre Momggol and Thailand’s B-Floor Theatre “Something Missing” at the fourth floor studio of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), brought the curtain down last night on its sixth Performative Art Festival.
From the start when a bicycle was ridden down the entrance ramp to the end when a body was left centre-stage covered with flowers, three Momggol members and four from B-Floor gave a riveting ensemble performance. It was so unified that it was difficult to work out who belonged to which company, unless you looked very carefully at the details of the movements in which the Korean guests slightly surpassed our Thai compatriots.
Aiming to explore “the theme of life experiences where something is missing, forgotten, discriminated or left behind”, B-Floor’s co-artistic director Teerawat “Ka-ge” Mulvilai and his Momggol counterpart Jongyeoun Yoon co-directed this work in such a way that the audience wouldn’t be able to tell which scene, moment or movement, was whose. Humour was more abundant than in the previous two versions seen at Thong Lor Art Space (TLAS).
With six scenes in addition to a prologue and epilogue, most of them adapted from existing literary texts, the English and Thai supertitles on the white back wall, onto which a performer sprayed red paint in one scene, more than handled the job. Moreover the Korean, English and Thai spoken by the cast members meant that if you understood all three of these languages you’d get the information three times. While some scenes, like one from “Waiting for Godot” and the “Nonthuk” episode from “Ramakien”, were new to “Something Missing”, others were revised from either the 2015 or 2016 versions at TLAS and in a new and larger space like this didn’t work as strongly.
What was never familiar, and hence always exciting, was Kamolpat Pimsarn’s sound design, in which some Korean elements were also heard and which perfectly balanced the live performance, by himself and on different instruments, and pre-recorded sound. I was seated house-right, the opposite side to where he was on the wide performance space and initially I thought all the sound and music were pre-recorded as they finely synced with the performance. It was the perfect example of how an effective design element always plays a supporting role and never draws too much attention to itself.
It should also be noted that this third phase of their collaboration was supported by our Culture Ministry while its Korean counterpart has been involved from the first. And if such a well-established company as B-Floor still has problems in finding government support, then it’s probably hopeless for other smaller and younger ones.
In terms of cultural exchange, it would be interesting to see how these two companies, who think and work alike, can sustain their relationship now that they’ve found a match in each other.
BACC’s PAF#6 has wrapped for another year, after hosting four contemporary Thai theatre productions by different groups, a performance art workshop and lecture, in addition to one theatre and one dance festival in five months. It’s a reminder again that while visual arts take centre-stage at BACC, there’s plenty more for us to enjoy, and that also includes good coffee and delectable ice-cream.
B-Floor Theatre’s next work is “Sawan Arcade”, a solo performance by award-winning actress Ornanong “Golf” Thaisriwong originally scheduled for Bangkok Theatre Festival last month. Thanks to special attention from the military junta, her previous solo “Bang Lamerd” was a big hit.
It runs from January 8 to 20 (except 16) at Democrazy Theatre Studio (MRT Lumphini station)
Tickets are Bt 550 (Bt 480 for students) at (094) 494 5104 and [email protected].
Check it out at www.BFloorTheatre.com.