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Communities of ImaginationContemporary Southeast Asian Theatres$
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Catherine Diamond

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835842

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835842.001.0001

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Mae Naak and Phra Ram

Mae Naak and Phra Ram

Keeping Company on the Contemporary Thai Stage

Chapter:
(p.27) Chapter 1 Mae Naak and Phra Ram
Source:
Communities of Imagination
Author(s):

Catherine Diamond

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824835842.003.0002

This chapter discusses how Mae Naak and Phra Ram—characters who exist in parallel worlds, yet on some level must intertwine—both appear prominently in Thai theatre. Mae Naak is a local female commoner who becomes an avenging ghost, while Phra Ram is a foreign male king. Mae Naak's cult is that of irrational indigenous women; Phra Ram is the standard-bearer of patriarchal Brahmanism in the court. Bangkok's contemporary working-class comedy, talok café, often juxtaposes the two worlds: a clean and proper world shaped by social rules and morals (public arena), and a dark and absurd world (private space). Many serious dramas reveal the former as the domain of the male and the latter as that of the female. It is the duty of Thai comedians to erase and blur the lines that divide these spaces.

Keywords:   Mae Naak, Phra Ram, Thai theatre, indigenous women, patriarchal Brahmanism, talok café, Thai comedians

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