Play at Dystopia in One-Woman Show ‘Sawan Arcade’

A promotional poster for ‘Sawan Arcade.’ Photo: B-Floor / Facebook

Update Nov. 6: The performances were postponed to Jan. 8 through Jan. 20 as Ornanong suffers a dog bite injury.

BANGKOK — A few years ago, she drew soldiers along with audiences to her land called “Bang La Merd.” Next month, B-Floor Theatre’s Ornanong Thaisriwong will continue her conversation on free expression in a pop-up heaven called “Sawan Arcade.”

Ornanong’s show is a return to solo performance form for the member of the experimental theatre troupe. Through her direction and performance, she will lead audiences to a “paradise” that soon falls under threat before the audience’s eyes.

As with previous B-Floor productions, expect deft puncturing of taboo topics abstracted just enough to avoid censure and Oranong’s signature invitation of audience interaction.

“[Sawan Arcade] is about a city where a group of people shares some norms, morals and values. And that excludes a specific group of people away,” Ornanong said in a Tuesday interview. “[I’m] not sure that the virtue they extol somehow judges the others’ and makes them an opponent? … It’s like granting permission for them to use violence.”

Ornanong is best known for “Bang La Merd,” which she last staged in 2015 in a Thonglor area venue under close watch of the junta. That’s not a metaphor: Soldiers were dispatched to observe and record nightly performances. Later that year, Ornanong was one of 100 artists and journalists from around the world nominated for the Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Award.

Ornanong said she didn’t think the show will draw the military spotlight again.

“I don’t think they’re interested in us anymore,” said the director and actress. “But if they come to see the show again, they’re very welcome.”

The performance, a mix of dialogue and movement, will be in Thai with English surtitles.

The 70-minute solo performance from Jan. 8 through Jan. 20 at Democrazy Theatre Studio, which is a short walk from MRT Lumpini, exit No. 1.

Tickets are 550 baht and the transaction is available online. Theatre-goers are advised to arrive at least 10 minutes before showtime.

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Not Here to Entertain You: B-Floor Confronts Thailand in Movement and Meaning