Traditional Thai Puppets


As usual I am blogging from a few days past the event… so we interrupt this Cambodia story to give you a short entry about Bangkok. Peung bought some discounted tickets at a travel expo last month to see the traditional Thai puppetry at Joe Louis Theatre in Suan Lum Night Bazaar. I’ve seen the Vietnamese version and half expected this to be similar and was even a little lukewarm on the idea. (But you can never know when something will come up for an article, so typically I go to everything I can just in case.) I was quite pleasantly surprised. The art form is nearly dead; this is the only place doing it now and the founder, Sakorn Yangkhiawsod, whose nickname was Joe Louis is sadly no longer with us. (and I sort of wondered if maybe the Thai, big boxing fans, had chosen the unexpected name for the famous boxer)

The puppets are almost a meter tall and three puppeteers dressed in black synchronize their motions to carry them around the stage. A couple projection screens translate the songs and story. Last night was the birth of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god. Totally worth seeing and I was sometimes watching the puppeteers as much as the puppets. It will be sad if this tradition is ever lost.

We finished the evening with street food at the market and a couple bands at Saxophone near Victory Monument. The second band, “Mission” was cooking with 70s funk and from the opening Earth Wind and Fire I was entranced by their female drummer. A rarity, it seems, and she was by no means just a pretty curiosity. This woman was fantastic and looked like someone who really loved what she was doing. It was a pleasure to watch and listen. I will look them up in the future the next time I’m out for live tunes.

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