WORDLESS and timeless

Published August 4, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Germany’s most highly revered mime highlights a new pantomime festival in Bangkok

INITIATED BY PAITOON “Kon Na Khao” Laisakul, the KonRak Mime Festival opened yesterday with an all-day workshop led by German mime master Milan Sladek. With support from the Culture Ministry, Thammasat University, the Goethe Institut Thailand, the Japan Foundation and others, more workshops and performances by German, Japanese, French and Thai artists are being held through May 29.

“This is not the first pantomime festival I’ve ever organised,” Paitoon tells XP. “Many years ago, I created another festival but after a few years it turned out to be just a show, not a festival, so it’s not worth mentioning now.

“A festival should present works by artists from various countries, not just the same few ones, and we have to make sure Thai artists can learn from the visiting artists and keep developing their works. This year, we’re starting with four countries and the highlights are Sladek, whose two-week pantomime workshop at Goethe Institut Thailand more than three decades ago I attended, and Japan’s Kita Kyoichi, who both work in the classical style of pantomime. Of course, next year our focus will change.”

Slovakia-born, Cologne-based Sladek tells XP that he discovered pantomime from French master Jean Gaspard Deburau when he was studying visual arts in Bratislava.


“I’ve always made use of visual arts when I was creating pantomime works. I would, for example, draw the blocking of how my character moves on the stage on my notebook. What I learned from anatomy classes has also helped me understand and make better use of my face and body muscles in performance.”

For his much-awaited return to Bangkok, he’s selected three works to perform – “Sunflower”, “Leda and Swan”, for which he was inspired by Greek mythology, and “Samson and Delilah”, whose gender equality issues are as resonant now as they were when it debuted in the 1970s during Germany’s women’s liberation movement.

“Although Paitoon says that I belong to the classical school of pantomime, I always bend, or break, some rules – for which I’m frequently criticised – and make use of other arts disciplines in my works. I also keep developing my works, including those that have become my signature like ‘Sunflower’, in accordance with what I’ve learned and experienced in life. This is to make sure that [after many decades] the audience can still enjoy my works without getting bored,” Sladek says.

“If Picasso or Van Gogh had ever said that all artists should paint like them, then there would be no point having Picasso or Van Gogh. Each pantomime artist is different while – and I know I am being controversial here – in other disciplines many are trying to replicate each another.

“For me, the content, or subject matter, or the work is always more important than the style of presentation, the structure or the performing art techniques that can be studied.”

Sharing the stage with Sladek tomorrow and Saturday is Bangkok-based Japanese mime Yano, while on this coming Sunday and May 29, Kon Na Khao, his troupe and French mime Abel Talbi will perform seven works – solo, duo and group.

Next Friday and Saturday, the programme features solo works by Kita Kyoichi and Thailand’s Hao.

The writer wishes to thank Goethe Institut’s Kannikar Saengsuwan and Pimpika Boonchan for all assistance.


– The KonRak Mime Festival will be held in the Sri Burapha Auditorium at Thammasat University, Tha Phra Chan, from tomorrow to Sunday and May 27 to 29. Shows are at 7.30pm.

– Tickets cost Bt600 (Bt 1,500 for all three programmes). For details, check http://www.ThaiTicketMajor.com.

– Those buying tickets to all three programmes are entitled to join Kyoichi’s workshops from Tuesday to May 26 at Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Centre. E-mail Contact@KonRakMimeFestival.com for free registration.

– For more details, see http://www.KonRakMimeFestival.com.


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