Surrounded by the false darkness of Bangkok the audience around me gasps as Lord Rama towers over King Ravana. Steadying his position atop a fellow performer he brings his weapon to bear. Seconds after driving a blow at Ravana, Rama lightly steps to the ground as the human structure falls away. He and the demon circle each other, seeking another moment to strike. Just behind them their two armies wait, prepared to converge in a mass of honour, strength and death.
Only moments before this scene Ravana had stepped onto the stage to survey his army. Standing tall he called out rousing his army with his manner and speech.
At this point my small booklet’s translation of the play fails me because it doesn’t include this last scene so I’m not entirely sure what was going on. So, parallel to my experience of the play when I didn’t have the english script, I will be describing the scenes I saw and openly interpreting them. Keep in mind this is what I think I saw, not necessarily what the play was presenting.
But I do have to say that I found these…dragon horses?… very amusing. Best outfits on the stage right there.
Lord Rama quickly arrived with his own set of noble steeds.
I really shouldn’t make fun of these guys. Their job may well have been the toughest in the performance. They had to pull a low, heavy chariot and their responsibility included avoiding knocking into the other performers and keeping their charges from falling off the small chariot—because who wants to see a god fall? All while everyone is dancing.
And moments where our attention turned to generals fighting for dominance.
In khon performances dancers must express their intentions, moods and characters through their motions. Since their faces are hidden behind their masks they must shape their hand and leg movements to express these things.
Desperately Ravana tried to defend himself from Rama’s attacks but it wasn’t enough and he was defeated. His army retreated—overwhelmed by the might of Rama’s army.
“And so ended this episode of The Defection Of Bidhishna.”
The above statement is cliche I know and I apologize, but I’ve always wanted to say it. 😉
The End (of this post series)