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Khon Masked Dance at Sala Chalermkrung Theatre


Khon, the Thai masked dance, is a classical art which combines three ‘schools’ of traditional performing arts — Chak Nak Duek Damban, Krabi Krabong (a form of martial arts) and Nang Yai shadow play. Khon is partly derived from Lakhon Nai (stage drama performed in the royal courts).

In the past, all Khon performers wore masks and thus needed narrators to project voices for their characters. Today, the narrators still retain their roles in Khon despite an adaptation that human and angel characters no longer wear masks. Only monkey or demon characters still wear masks on stage.

The most popular script is the Ramakien, which is based on India ’s Ramayana epic. Written by Valmiki, the epic narrates an episode of Phra Narai (Narayana or Vishnu) who is reborn to a human so as to save both humans and angels from the terror of Tosakanth (Ravana) — the demon king — in Longka (Lanka) City.

The most complete version of Ramakien was written by H.M. King Rama I (1782 - 1809). But the Ramakien which is most widely used in actual productions on account of its melodies verses was composed by King Rama II (1809 – 1824).

Khon was regarded as a royal court performance, continuing from the Ayutthaya Period into the Rattanakosin Period. During the reign of H.M. King Rama VI, Khon reached its golden age. His Majesty supported both Khon trainees and artists, and also had Khon performances staged throughout his reign.

In 1935, however, the royal Khon troupe was transferred to the Fine Arts Department and since then all official Khon artists have been part of this department.

Khon at Sala Chalermkrung is performed every Friday and Saturday at 07.30 pm.
Tickets cost 1,000 baht and 1,200 baht.
Call Sala Chalermkrung at Tel: 0-2623-8148-9, 0-2225-8757-8 
For more information about the performance and Sala Challermkrung
How to get there: taking bus routes 12, 48, 508
Nearby places/attractions: Wat Suthat, Giant Swing


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