Pattaya Players theatrical troupe presented their latest show “Songs & Legends” at the Eastern Grand Palace Hotel at the beginning of last month. The October 7 & 8 performances saw guests arriving early for the buffet dinner at the White Horse Pub before moving upstairs for the show.
The format of “Songs & Legends” was unlike any other that Pattaya Players has ever presented in their eight-year history. There were no costumes, and there was no set constructed on stage. In fact, there wasn’t even a stage! The performance space was set up along the long side of the room, so that audience members would not be more than a row or two away from the action. The cast members sat in two rows angled out towards the audience. Behind them sat a pianist, along with three ladies who were not only actresses in one skit, but they provided live sound effects by using a variety of everyday items.
The show got underway as the Thai Royal Anthem was performed live by two local Thai vocalists. Then, the evening’s program of entertainment consisted of five skits and a monologue, which were interspersed with live music. The pianist accompanied several singers in a variety of musical styles, including rock & roll, Broadway, and country & western.
The first skit was “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky,” which was adapted from a story by Stephen Crane. The three main characters played multiple roles, depicting a story that revolved around a pair of aged newlyweds returning to the remote frontier town of Yellow Sky, Texas. Once they arrived home, they were confronted by a lawless gunman who wanted to have a shootout with the groom, who happened to be the town sheriff.
The second skit, “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service, was a spooky story in the style of flashlight theatre. The room went dark, and the two performers were lit only by flashlights as they told the story of a gold miner traveling through the icy wilderness of Alaska. His only companions were his sled dogs, and the frozen corpse of his friend – whom he had promised to cremate.
The third skit was “The Role of Della,” which was written by John J. Wooten. This hilarious skit depicted an eager young actress trying to convince a cold, sarcastic director that she was perfect for the part of Della. However, there was a humorous twist ending that took the audience by surprise!
The fourth skit, “The Woman” was also performed by a talented cast that played multiple roles as the story unfolded. Based on “A Scandal in Bohemia” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes is hired by the King of Bohemia to retrieve an embarrassing photograph from the notorious adventuress, Irene Adler. This skit also had a twist ending, which proved that Miss Adler was a worthy match for the great detective.
Then the monologue, “Cry Baby” was skillfully presented. This piece was written, directed and performed by a relatively new expat now living in Pattaya. It was an emotional story about one man’s journey in dealing with life and death.
The final skit was “Romance in the Roaring Forties,” which was based on a story by Damon Runyan. The two performers each played three different characters to tell the comical tale of a beautiful tap dancer, who was loved by both a gangster and a married newspaper reporter.
Although the audience members had to use their imaginations to appreciate this unconventional show, there were many laughs, and many guests even started singing along with the music. The show was a huge success and Pattaya Players are now planning for a Christmas Variety Show (dates and locations to be announced).
Photos by Harris Black