Whose Voice? Love Legend of Phra Khanong: A Case of “Mak, Nak and People of Phra Khanong”


The love legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong was perceived and portrayed as a haunting, revenge and furious ghost story for almost a century. In 1999, Nonzee Nimibutr's version of Nang Nak was the first version that humanized Mae Nak and depicted tragic aspect of her as a mournful young lady who devoted her life to her husband, a strong stereotype of how Thai girl (in the past) should conduct. However, Nimibutr had also highlighted the aspect of Buddhist Animism that finally ended 'the life of Mae Nak' in this story. The truth is Mae Nak has never died. In 2013, Banjong Pisanthanakun and his team had recreated a comedy version of this legend to retell a reverse aspect from Mak, Nak's husband, and his friends. This version declared a turning point of how this legend has been perceived and also how the contemporary Thai society has evolved. The research began to question and revisited this legend. In order to investigating the roots of personal and political conflicts in the legend and in contemporary Thai society, the researcher embarked on the collaboration of revising the story of Mak, Nak as individuals and the society of Phra Khanong. This research paper examines and reinterprets individualism and community. The concept of 'ghost' and the sense of belonging in the community have been explored and questioned. The first stage play of 'Mak, Nak and People of Phra Khanong' is performed in June 20th, at the Prague Quadrennial 2015 with about 200 audiences.

Author Information
Arunwadi Leewananthawet, Albert Laurence School of Communication Arts-Assumption University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2016
Stream: Humanities - Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication

This paper is part of the ACAH2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon