The best part of the whole show? Every bit of fights seen on the stage are actual classical Muay Thai moves and the level of agility these performers are at is totally amazing. And later on when I talk to Ekachai, I found out that these fighters trained rigorously so that their body can withstand the kicks and punches that their fellow performers throw at them. Yes boys and girls, even though it's all an act on stage, these guys execute the moves with deadly precision and force that even though they try to control as much as they could, the impact can be quite fatal if their fellow actors and actresses don't know how to deflect or absorb the contacts. Created and Directed by Ekachai Eukrongtham, there’s plenty of action as he brings the story of Muay Thai to live.
It took the fighters 5 months to train and rehearse all the scenes and all the fights. So if you're a new actor that wants to be one of the cast members, you'd first have to last through 5 months of intensive training to be ready and that is just the physical training bit. Looking at how fit these guys and girls are, it was hard to believe when the director told us that some of them was quite out of shape when they first started training.
According to Asanee Suwan, these guys are a mix of actors, stunt men and actual muay thai fighters from various disciplines and they take this show very seriously so they train hard even on their day off. The moves are so deadly that the Promoters and Governing Bodies for Muay Thai competitions have banned them from competitions. Yes, this is the same Asanee who portrayed the Kathoey fighter, Nong Thoom, in the movie: the Beautiful Boxer.
One thing that intrigues me was the sound effects and pre-recorded scripts, at first, I was thinking that these guys are so well choreographed that they actually hit every single moves on cue to the sound effects! But then, as I walk around the stage after all the audience has left, I stumbled upon their sound room with a huge panel and the man that made all those audio magic happens. I've had my fair share of working at a Live stage performance but then, we always have at least 2 sound engineers sitting there with a cue sheet to make sure everything hits according to the time codes.
In this show, the man sitting here have to watch the show and be nimble enough to reach across each buttons for the various sounds each time each actor attacks. And mind you, there are scenes where there is a lot of actors on stage fighting at the same time! I tried to ask him how he do it, with so many things happening at the same time and all he does is smile back at me. Either he don't really understand English or refused to share his secrets with me.
Back to Asanee Suwan, he has acted in a lot of other movies around the Asian region but for majority of the fans, he's better associated with the movie: The Beautiful Boxer. Like all fighters in this stage performance, he’s pretty shy but when I got him to talk about his training regime, his eyes lit up. For him, he is very proud of his fitness regime and what he does to keep in shape for the roles he plays.
Just like the other actors in Asiatique, he has to proof himself before he is given some of the bigger roles in this show and from what I saw that night, like the other actors, he worked his butt off. There's no air of "I'm a big movie star and deserve better treatment" coming from any one of the actors and actresses. After all, there's a good mix of famous actors and champion fighters in the line-up so who can be the bigger stars when each have their own groupies?
As foreigners/tourists, we might not recognize all of them as we are not that exposed to the world of Thai TV series and movies but still, there's quite a number of them that is familiar to me even if I can't pronounce their name correctly.
Since the first time I went to watch the show, I've been back a few times over and even though it's the same script, each fight scene varies depending on the fighters and I still leave the theater amazed at the choreography. You can check out their schedules at muaythailive.net before heading there if you want to plan ahead. Also, I heard that Tony Jaa is in one of the shows. Damn, now I want to go and watch the show again!
Warehouse 4 @ Asiatique2194 Charoenkrung Road, Wat Prayakrai District,
Bangkor Laem, Bangkok 10120
Tel: +66(0)2 108 5999
Tickets: Purchase online tickets here.
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