A new work by Pichet Klunchun dance company is slated to leave audiences dumbstruck
EARLIER THIS YEAR, when Pichet Klunchun’s “The Gentlemen” was staged in Bangkok, several members of the audience were heard muttering about misrepresentation. Their complaint: although Pichet clearly appeared in the PR photos from the world premiere in Singapore, which were used to advertise the piece, he wasn’t actually performing in the work.
However, it must be remembered that a professional dance company doesn’t run on the star system, and if Pichet were always performing, choreographing and producing, then his company wouldn’t be a professional dance company.
Maybe that’s why Thailand’s best known dancer and choreographer is serving as the lighting designer for “This Piece Is Not Completed Yet”, a solo work created and performed by his long-time company member Kornkarn “Ked” Rungsawang with support from Creative Industries.
Fans of Pichet Klunchun Dance Company may recognise her from “Chui Chai” in which she played Benyakai. She also appeared in a white lace outfit and with long sword-like fingers in “Black and White”; or most recently, in Pichet’s collaboration with Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada and textile artist Tomoko Soda.
What we haven’t seen here in Thailand, though, is Ked’s work in Yujiro Sagami’s “About Angels” which premiered at Tokyo Performing Arts Market. In short, Ked has been around a long time and so it is only right that she should create her own work for the company.
“I think it’s a major challenge for a professional dancer like myself to create my own work,” Ked says. “Initially, I wanted to create a piece which shows dance techniques. I wasn’t inspired by anything, nor did I want to tell any story or convey any messages to the audience. I was working like that for a while and managed to create some short scenes. But then I couldn’t connect them into one whole piece. Then came the questions like ‘What is a [contemporary dance] production?’ and ‘What elements does a production need to have?’ It seems like the word ‘production’ is in our minds all the time, but then when it’s finished, the word disappears.
“In the process of creation, it seems like we’re trying to create a certain kind of completeness that’s fit to be called ‘a production’. Even when the audience get to watch the work, they’re not watching the production, but instead getting the stories or messages that the artists want to communicate. I think the word ‘production’, in this sense, sounds very abstract.
“In ‘This Piece Is Not Completed Yet’, the audience will see the process instead. [After three performances last weekend] they looked somewhat confused because they didn’t get any concrete stories or messages from what they’d just watched. We created it in such a way that the audience’s brain would be blank while experiencing it. There’s neither a twist nor a climax, so it’s like a straight line. I think it came to a point when the audience stopped thinking about it, let themselves go and simply lived in the moment and experienced it with their feelings.
“There was, for example, a moment that some audience members might have found unbearably boring, but then when something happened, they paid full attention to it. And because they were not really sure what was going on, they became more attentive than ever. ”
Although the work sounds very improvisational, Ked says, “there’s a clear structure and I think only 30 per cent differs from one evening to another.”
-“This Piece Is Not Completed Yet” continues at Creative Industries on the second floor of M Theatre on New Phetchaburi Road between Thonglor and Ekamai, from tomorrow to Sunday. Shows are at 7.30pm.
- Tickets are Bt500. For more details, (086) 300 2081 or check www.Facebook.com/PKLifeWork.