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Leh Laweng: Reinventing “Lakhon Phanthang” Hybrid Dance Theatre in a Post-Traditional Style

posted on 2020-12-24, 13:19 authored by Phakamas Jirajarupat, Nataporn Rattanachaiwong
Leh Laweng (The Wiles of Laweng) was a new dance-drama the authors created in 2019 in a post-traditional style of “Lakhon Phanthang” or hybrid dance theatre form. Working
in our faculty’s theatre, the authors developed an original woman-centered plot from the well-known Thai epic poem The Story of Phra Aphai Mani by Sunthorn Phu. Our new four-act script focused on the key, but neglected, figure Laweng – a Western-styled warrior queen – and reworked traditional modes of presentation to better convey a new sensibility for today’s audiences. While performed by traditional performers, cast for their abilities in traditional dancing and their knowledge, without regard to their gender, their acting also incorporated some modern theatrical techniques. The new style of this hybrid Thai dance play sought to convey a new message to contemporary
audiences, while retaining key aspects of the Thai traditional form and taking on a more contemporary look. The process of reinventing Lakhon Phanthang into a posttraditional
performance allowed artists, academics, and students to enrich their knowledge and through this new hybrid play for today’s audiences.