The sets consist of garishly painted backdrops portraying, for example, palace halls, gardens, or forests. Historical evidence shows that the Thai art of stage plays must have already been highly evolved by the 17th century. Ju Jeen Thai, All of the khon characters have absolutely different manners and costumes. Music and performing arts. It is part of a larger work called Rajathirai, describing the many conflicts between the Burmese and the Chinese in the fifteenth century. The main changes in the khon tradition have been in stagecraft and scenery. In ancient times, all of the narrators were men.

While these two Siamese orchestra groups are producing the music, the performers come out and beat the cadence rhythmically with the music. Although traditional Thai performing arts are not as actively embraced as they once were, suffering from competition from modern and western entertainments and generally changing tastes, they are still very much alive. Khon depicts the Ramakian story only Thai version of the Ramayana epic. It is believed that “khon chark” originated during the reign of King Rama V In ancient times, all of the narrators were men. Miettinen Hanuman succeeds in his attempt Jukka O. In “khon chark,” the chorus sits with the orchestra group in front of the stage.

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Thus, the performance of an open-air khon which uses a large performing area and has war as its main theme needs at least two sets of Siamese orchestras. The narrators convfntions the events of the plot and recite the lines of the characters on stage with extreme expressiveness.

,hon, a person who can dance nicely and beautifully but lacks a dignified manner can only be “pra nong”. An episode in the presentation of khon is called a “chud”j whereas in the other forms of dramatic presentation such an episode would be known as a “tawn”.

The noble humans employ the full scale of the natasin or Central Thai classical dance. His purpose was to make understandable the whole story from the beginning to the end. Women performed only as angels and goddesses. The students have to stand in a row one after another facing the same direction.

Khon Thai Mask Dance Drama Workshop | ASEF culture | ASEF culture

It is traditionally performed solely in the royal court by men in masks accompanied by narrators and a traditional piphat ensemble. It was usually knon indoors without scenery and it concentrates on delicate singing and recitation. Still, the story of Ramakien is long and includes a number of episodes that can be easily selected to be performed for any event In the past, Khon was performed only by the royal family, with the sons of the king performing dznce monkeys and demons.


Siamese Orchestra Group, photographed by author.

It is an interesting example of a khon script for two reasons: Shirt, in this case indicating hair on monkey’s body 8. The performance of “khon nung rao” from the painting convetnions the Marble Temple’s wall, Khon 6. Their movements are dominated by an extremely open leg position, the Indian-influenced characteristic of Southeast Asian martial dance, which has already been discussed several times.

Conveentions also have to ask for forgiveness from every performer according to their senority because they 66 may have insulted each other without any intention while performing.

Therefore, in this type of khon as in all khon, there are both narrations and dialogues and a chorus and a leader of the chorus as confentions “lakon nai”. There are seven kinds of masks for monkeys. Later on, those who performed men and gods stopped wearing masks.

Performing arts – Khon

Khon drama was originally performed outdoors. Consequently, the characters that still wear masks are those that personify monkeys, ogres, demons and other animals only. Likay is accompanied by a piphad like, which is a variation of the traditional piphad orchestra.

Those who are going to speak “kra too” need to have a very good memory because all the “kra too” is already set in the story.

This type of khon is performed on the ground, in an open-air space, because most of the episodes in this kind of khon are about marching the army and making war Towards the end of King Conbentions V’s reign, the young crown prince organized and trained a group of royal guards, who were mostly the sons of noblemen and high-ranking civil servants, for khon performances.

Khon is performed as an entertainment in a variety of occasions.

After finishing their roles, the performers sit on this rail pretending it is a bed or a seat In the performance of khon, there are many prohibitions to which the performers must adhere.

A demon prince, Banlaiyakalp, in the nether region of Nagas.

When he courts the disguised “Benjakai”, his own niece, whom he believes is “Sida”, Rama’s wife, Tosakanth uses his arms, legs, body, etc. The dramq of the story not only has to know the stories but also the dancers’ as well as the orchestra’s rhythm.


In the case where the story chosen for the performance needs to have two main actors who are of almost the same importance, it is necessary to divide the two roles into the first important role called “pra yai,” and the second important one called “pra nong”. Sida is kidnapped by the demon king Totsakan also known as Rawana who abducts her to Longka, the present Sri Lanka. A reconstruction of old-style khon in which the noble characters also still wear masks, Phra Lak Laksmana a golden one, and Phra Ram Rama a green one Jukka O.


Khon narration is an art in itself alongside the dramatic dance performance. For example, even when Hang Benjakai disguises herself as Nang Sida, she 3till has the manners that contrast with the characteristic of Hang Sida herself. As in many other Asian theatre drzma, the narrators in khon have a crucial role. Sometimes, an actress may not wear all of the ornaments mentioned above. The Queen Type is the main actress of the story.

It convebtions a reconstruction of a khon performance originally produced in It is clear that likay has received influences from the performance style of the Malay Peninsula as well from India, but how and when it happened is not known.

Along with being very entertaining, the dances provide insight into the traditional lifestyle of the people vrama Isan.

The characters in Ramakien 17 are classified into two groups to fight with each other throughout the play. At times they have to produce a long melody; or if they try to find a chance to interject some short melody into the story, the other orchestra group has to play the 52 long melody. It stages traditional erama innovative khon plays from time to time, and in connection with state festivities the khon troupe of the National Theatre arranges grandiose open-air performances.

Mask of Tosakanth, photographed by author. The other elements of the performance such as the method of producing melody and the musical instrumentation, still remain the same as those of “khon rhong nai”.

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