Wednesday, March 28, 2012

POST SHOW TALK WITH PINA BAUSCH AND DANCERS (2012, Thanapol Virulhakul, A+++++++++++++++)

I like it very much, partly because it is the kind of thing I have never seen before. The play can be divided into two main parts. The first part is about the silent Q&A session with four dancers after a dance show choreographed by Pina Bausch. The questions come up on the screen behind the dancers, and the dancers try to answer them by their gestures, instead of speaking. The play says that this Q&A session must be done in silence because it can be interpreted in an undesirable ways.

The second part of this play is extremely hilarious. The play substitutes Pina Bausch with a food blender. For each question asked to Pina, the dancers will put various things into the blender, turn on the switch, and see what the blender will do to various things inside it. The dancers also ask some audience members to take part in this experiment. In the show that I attended, Chayanin Tiangpitayagorn, a Thai film critic, took part in the performance near the end of the play.

I'm not sure what this play means, but I like it very much, and prefer it to
IMPROPER FRACTION: A STUDY ON FRAGMENTATION (2011) and UNKNOWN LANDSCAPE (2009), both of which are directed by Thanapol and Vidura Amranand. I think POST SHOW TALK is much more audience- friendly than his two former plays. His three plays that I saw are all difficult to understand. But in a way I think IMPROPER FRACTION and UNKNOW LANDSCAPE are not much different from many dance shows and physical theatre plays. I often don't understand the contents or the messages in these kinds of shows, and IMPROPER FRACTION and UNKNOWN LANDSCAPE are just ones among many of them, while POST SHOW TALK is very different from them. It is more like a performance art or a conceptual art.

POST SHOW TALK unintentionally reminds me of what I like in a great mockumentary film called BUD-DHA-KALA (2005, Thanapol Virulhakul), which is one of my most favorite films I saw that year.

In the film BUD-DHA-KALA, Thanapol explores how Thai people worship the small images of Buddha which they like to wear as a part of their necklace. Thanapol also makes small images of Buddha with chocolate or something like that, and asks many people how they think of this image of Buddha in chocolate. Would they still worship it like the ones they wear in their necklaces? Would they eat it instead of wearing it or worshipping it? What is the true value of the supposedly-sacred thing they wear in their necklaces? What is really permanent? What is temporary? Is religion permanent or temporary?

Both POST SHOW TALK and BUD-DHA-KALA substitute a sacred or respectable thing with something funny (the sacred image of Buddha with chocolate in BUD-DHA-KALA, Pina Bausch with a food blender in POST SHOW TALK), and the play director/filmmaker doesn't exactly know beforehand what the result will be. Thanapol didn't know beforehand how people would react to his Buddha chocolate, and he didn't know beforehand what Chayanin would put in the blender. This is the kind of things I like very much.

While POST SHOW TALK substitutes Pina Bausch with a food blender, I also wonder if Pina Bausch in the show is actually the substitution or the symbol of something else. POST SHOW TALK is really thought-provoking.

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