Friday, August 28, 2009

Red Eagle stage show satirizes Thai cinema

One of Thai cinema's legendary heroes, the masked vigilante crimefighter Red Eagle, is pressed into service of satire of the film industry in a stage show that is putting on its final performances this weekend in Bangkok.

Most famously portrayed by Mitr Chaibancha -- who died with the mask on in making Golden Eagle in 1970 -- and due for a reboot soon by Wisit Sasanatieng with Ananda Everingham in the mask -- Red Eagle leaned heavily on camp anyway. Outlandish situations, silly special effects, sloppily staged action, half-baked plots and half-hearted acting are just some of the elements of the much-loved, long-running film series that started in the late 1950s.

But I'm not sure Red Eagle has ever been seen like this. In the stage show Insee Daeng Plaeng Rit (อินทรี แดง แผลงฤทธิ์, or roughly "power of the red eagle"), a thug wearing a red eagle-feathered mask takes an indie film director hostage.

Theater correspondent Pawit Mahasarinand has more in his story for Daily Xpress, which is cross-published at his blog:

The hostage taker wants three other directors to write a screenplay within 24 hours. It must have, among others, a miserable woman and a jealous woman, or the elements in successful Thai films," says director Sonthaya Suchada.

One of the directors is renowned for gay cinema, another is a world-famous action-film star-cum-director, and the third is a woman who makes tearjerkers.

"The comedy pokes fun not only at Thai cinema but also modern society in general," promises Sonthaya.

The cast includes Sarayut Petsamrit and veteran theater actors Surachai Midam and Neelacha Fuengfookiat, TV producer Piyamat Waiya-wat returns and Worawit Kaewpetch, star of the 2003's historical battle epic Khunsuk.

The Thai-language production is at Makhampom Studio. Check there or Pawit's blog for showtimes.

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