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Khon, Traditional Masked Drama Dance [Bangkok, Thailand]

Khon, Traditional Masked Drama Dance [Bangkok, Thailand]

December 2019 · 3 min read · Bangkok

Today was quite the interesting adventure. Probably the most unique thing from today's excursion was attending a traditional Thai Masked Dance Performance at the Sala Chalermkrung Royal Performing Arts Theatre in Bangkok, Thailand.

Khon is very well known here in Thailand. The performing art combines rich flavors of music, vocals, literary features, unique dance movements, traditional Thai rituals as well as rare handicraft elements, which formulates into an end product that must be seen with your own two eyes.

Khon performances involve graceful, slow moving dance movements along with instrumental and vocal renditions, ultimately painting a vivid picture of King Rama's life in the 18th century under his reign. The dance movements pick up and slow down with the rhythm and tempo of the music being played in the background by a Thai musical group. The melodic sounds of the chimes and drums allowed the story to unfold as if it were happening real time.

The intricate masks and glittery costumes resemble the beauty of the story being told through the various means mentioned above. The story, depicting the once glory and fame of King Rama, still holds a place in the rich history of Thailand's Buddhist upbringings.

The drama based piece may be viewed by spectators from various backgrounds, enabling a new perspective to form for those of different social upbringings. The dance contained a strong feature of enlightenment, reinforcing the respect for those of a higher power and social class under King Rama's rule. Mutual dependence between various leaders and followers of King Rama, the honor of various kingly rulers as well as the triumph of good defeating evil malevolence was also highlighted through the beautiful message of this special dance feature.

Traditionally, Khon was performed in mostly royal settings, or in dance masters’ homes for special historical transmission. Today, however, performances usually occur in educational institutions, still adhering specially to ritualistic methodologies for an accurate depiction of historical significance in which the story holds.

This adventure was definitely something far different than simply visiting a Buddhist temple or walking around the city streets or open market. This special rendition painted a vivid picture in my brain which will always be remembered. The richness and flavor from the performance transcended back into ancient Thai history, allowing me to better appreciate the origins and roots of a mostly Buddhist country.

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Seeing this on Christmas day was also something quite special, too. Speaking of which, Merry Christmas to all my fellow travelers out there!

I hope you all enjoyed this piece on the Khon, Masked Drama Dance in Bangkok, Thailand!

See you next time!


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