by Pichet klunchun
Chui Chai ฉุยฉาย by Pichet Klunchun
Performed: Pichetklunchun Dance Company
Original Music: Sinapa Sarasas
Lighting Design: Asako Miura
Who are we today?
“Chui Chai” is part of the famous “Nang Loi” (Floating Lady) episode from the Ramayana epic. Here, we retell “Chui Chai,” highlighting the difficulty of transforming from the view of the demon maiden Benyakai. Her great demon uncle, Thodsakarn, asks her to become Sita—wife of Rama and the quintessentially “Thai” woman—to fool Rama into ending the war. Thodsakarn’s kidnapping of Sita sparked the war with Rama, who fought to get Sita back. To end the war with Rama, Thodsakarn asks Benyakai to become Sita, whom she does not know. Although troubled, Benyakai transforms.
Our retelling of “Chui Chai” here also shows our difficult passage to modernity. We see how the transformation of our society and our country has brought progress and improvement, but also mistakes and losses. What’s next?
We ask about our identity and explore a possible way to find it.