Self-reliance set to music

Art December 27, 2014 01:00

By THE NATION

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The story of Mahajanaka is staged in Queen Benjakiti Park to mark His Majesty the King's birthday



Hundreds of thousands of spectators wearing yellow shirts flocked to the lake in Benjakiti Park near Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre earlier this month to enjoy the musical “Mahajanaka the Phenomenon Live Show” being staged in honour of His Majesty the King on the occasion of his 87th birthday.
Originally slated for a nine-day run, from December 1 to 9, the musical was later extended to December 20 to cater to popular demand. Thais and foreigners were spotted queuing up for tickets every day.
The musical, which was based on the story of Mahajanaka, a literary masterpiece penned by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was divided into 9 acts:  “The Ship Foundering Amidst the Ocean”, “Seven Days and Seven Nights”, “The Perfection of Perseverance”, “How Shall a Kingless Kingdom Be?”, “Oracle Grand Chariot”, “Coronation Celebration”, “The Tree and Throne Allegory”, “The Tree of Wisdom” and “Mahajanaka Maha Raja”. The scenes were brought alive thanks to a state-of-the-art light and sound system and the use of world-class multimedia technology that saw a 30-metre-long hydraulic-powered ship floating across the 100-metre stage in the middle of Benjakiti Park’s lake and the biggest water screen ever seen in Asia. 
Adapted from the story of one of the Lord Buddha’s previous lives, it focuses on the virtues of perseverance and self-reliance as personified by Prince Mahajanaka who, after his ship flounders and sinks, swims across the ocean for seven days and seven days even though the shore is not in sight. On the way he fights off demons and is helped by giant sea crabs until the Goddess Mani Mekhala saves him from his ordeal.
Projector-mapping technology was used at the end of the performance to paint the colossal screen with images of the king. The crowd cheered and applauded all members of the cast, who included Thrisadee “Por” Sahawong as Mahajanaka, Katreeya “Kat” English as the Goddess Mani Mekhala, Kulamas “Knomjean” Limprawuttiwaranonth as Sivali Devi, and Yanee “Yo” Tramoth as the privy councillor, and shouted “Long Live the King” in unison. The theme song was sung by Yuenyong “Ad Carabao” Opakul, Asanee "Pom" Chotikul and Kittinan Chinsamran.
On the last day of the show, jazz musicians Larry Carlton, John Pizzarelli, John di Martino, Diane Schuur, Winterplay, and the Count Basie Orchestra paid tribute to the King by performing several of his musical compositions including “Love at Sundown”, “Candlelight Blues”, and “Blue Day”.
The finale was marked with an extravagant display of 9,999 fireworks over a fantastic piece of music, finishing the run of this spectacle with a bang and giving the audience a remarkable experience to cherish forever.