The Reinvention of Thai Traditional-Popular Theatre: Contemporary Likay Praxis
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I need time to arrange publication of my research
This thesis examines contemporary likay praxis in Thailand through processes influenced by socio-economic, political and cultural contexts. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the ideology and methodology of making contemporary likay, a tradition-based contemporary approach to Thai popular theatre, including development, transformation, theatrical techniques, rehearsal processes, productions, and audience reception. The thesis provides a background of the duality of court and popular theatre forms; a performance history of traditional likay; a construction of artistic elements, conventions, and functions; and a socio-political context for Thailand’s modernisation period, which impacted theatre development. An examination of contemporary urban conditions is conducted, which offers new creative and possibly alternative forms of thinking about traditional-popular performance, particularly contemporary likay, explored through examples of contemporary likay performances. This study of contemporary likay praxis uses interviews with dramatists, practitioners and scholars, and documentary research. I investigate how the contemporary theatre troupes utilise the intra-cultural, inter-cultural and transcultural theatrical aspects, the format of hybridisation of Thai performing arts and the relevance of Western artistic to Thai theatre in their working process in reinventing likay performance, especially, Makhampom’s contemporary likay productions. Analysis of likay reinvention or contemporary likay performance demonstrates the way that dramatists bridge traditional and contemporary, rural and urban theatre practices. I also demonstrate reflexive ethnography and practice-led research, in which I reflect on personal experiences in practising and performing both conventional and contemporary likay performances from 2001 to the present. The thesis is categorised into two key areas: the first part, highlighted in Chapters 1-3, reflects the socio-politic-economic contexts of Thai society, which shaped the cultural formation of the Thai theatre revolution. The second part focuses on contemporary likay practice and praxis from the 1990s to 2010, demonstrated in Chapters 4-6.
PhD in Drama