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da:ns festival: Rasas – Khon
Khon is a Thai classical court masked dance that brings together many elements of the performing arts—dance, drama, pantomime and music—in a dance drama. It is best known for bringing to life the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, that permeates much of the traditional performing arts of Southeast Asia. Although many elements and characters of the familiar Ramayana story can be found in the Ramakien, the latter differs significantly as it is infused with elements of local Thai traditions and stories.
Khon evolved from nang yai, a form of shadow puppetry. Many of its highly stylised movements can be traced back to the movements of the puppets against a lit screen. There are four different types of performers in a khon performance: the dancers, who do not speak owing to their elaborate headdresses and masks; a chorus, who recites the poetry of the Ramakien on behalf of the dancers; the singers; and the orchestra. Each of the dancers on stage play one of four characters throughout the play: a male, a female, a demon and a monkey. The characters are distinguished by the type and colour of the masks that they wear on stage.
This Rasas, catch a selection of episodes from the Ramakien, as well two other court dance pieces that are also drawn from Hindu epics.
Date & Time
20 & 21 Oct 2017 : 7pm & 8.45pm
22 Oct 2017 : 6.15pm & 8pm
Esplanade Outdoor Theatre