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Dialogue under a red roof

'Lang Kha Dang' examines what passes for normal and abnormal in today's society.

Publication Date : 22-06-2012


Well known actor and film director Saranyu Wongkrachang is stretching his dramatic wings with his latest work, a musical adaptation of Euthana Mukdasanit's 1987 film "Lang Kha Dang", which portrays what people, both normal and those with mental problems, think, say and do.

The musical is, Saranyu says, a reflection of society today though, when asked if it is intended to portray the current political turmoil between the red shirts and yellow shirts, the well known political activist shakes his head,

"When I first decided to put on the musical, I wasn't thinking about using it as a political tool," he says. "If that were the case, I would have adapted it as propaganda.

"In any society, people in mental or psychiatric hospitals are publicly called abnormal or even psychopathic, while the rest are referred to are normal though they are more greedy and have plenty of guile. 'Lang Kha Dang' portrays the ways of life and the thinking of both normal and abnormal people. In the end, the audience will perceive who is really 'abnormal'," he explains.

A Samut Songkhram native, Saranyu - or Tua as he's known to family and friends - is no stranger to the script. He first came up with an adaptation of Euthana's award-winning film, which starred a young Thongchai "Bird" McIntyre and Jintara Sukhapat, for Channel 7 back in 2004.

The title, which translates as "red roof", gets it name from a reference made by a British doctor to a mental hospital - apparently all the psychiatric hospital buildings in the UK sport red roofs.

Saranyu says his TV series stuck to the original story but incorporated a selection of short songs - rather like a musical for the small screen.

"I added music to lighten up the serious story. It was quite a phenomenon in the TV circle! No one had tried to do a drama in a musical format. But it was rejected and then the entire project was dropped. I then wrote the melodrama 'Suphap Burut Luk Phuchai' [Gentlemen], which was very successful with good ratings. Thanks to that success, Channel 7 looked again at 'Lang Kha Dang' but it didn't do as well as 'Luk Phuchai'," says Saranyu, who runs his own production company Nub Neung Neo Film.

"On stage it will be different, as all the characters will be trying to communicate with the audience, who in turn have to use their imagination to understand what they are saying," says Saranyu, who has also written the songs for the show. "The songs are specific to each character and to their scenes and express their feelings".

Set in three acts, "Lang Kha Daeng" stars Toni Rakkaen in the leading role of Koythong or Thongdee, Ramita "Gypso" Mahapreukpong as Alai and Anuchyd "O" Sapanphong as a patient at the mental hospital.

Also taking part are Thai Elvis Presley impersonator Vasu "Jib" Sangsingkeo, Zom Ammara, Pacharapol "Vit" Jantieng of AF 1, Isaree "Micky" Thongthamroj from AF 5, Risa Honghiran, Chanana Nutakom, and DJ Morakot Komolbutr from 104.5 FM Fat Radio. All have been rehearsing for three months and Saranyu says they've been through voice training and movement training.

"We've selected a cast that's not just suitable for the characters and also one who will draw the audience when we open next month," says the director.

"Lang Kha Dang The Musical" will be staged at M Theatre on New Phetchaburi Road in Bangkok from July 13 to 22.


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