“Halloooo, Handsome Man!”
It is the watch cry of Walking Street.
It issues forth like a sirens’ song from dives and dens all along Pattaya’s seamier byways. If you are female, you tighten your grip on your man’s arm and quicken your pace. And if you are male, even if you don’t quite fall for it, admit it, you feel its effect. You cast a glance and a furtive grin toward its source. If you speak a little Thai, you might reply, “Bak waan!” and enjoy the sound of the caller’s sweet laughter. Or perhaps you think to yourself “I’m thirsty!” or “A game of pool would be fun!”, and the magic words will have worked their magic.
Way back in the 1940’s, when Pattaya was a sleepy fishing village, a French playwright named Jean Giraudoux knew something about this phenomenon and was fascinated enough to write a play exploring it. Giraudoux’s comic fantasy, “The Apollo of Bellac”, follows the adventures of Agnes, a shy and naïve young woman seeking employment at a stuffy Parisian business office staffed almost entirely by, in the author’s words, “gargoyles” and “caricatures.” After a few initial rebuffs, a mysterious stranger teaches Agnes the Secret – tell the men they are handsome – and with dizzying speed she rides this simple trick to hilariously unlikely heights.
The Pattaya Players, Pattaya’s non-profit theatre company, is currently rehearsing the Thailand premiere of “The Apollo of Bellac” which will open for a limited engagement on April 1, April Fool’s Day (naturally!). To portray the “gargoyles” and “caricatures” who inhabit Giraudoux’s nightmare business office, the Players created a gallery of grotesque masks that would challenge the most deceitful temptress to call “handsome.” And yet each of them does indeed become convinced of his own devastating good looks, and the outcome – we won’t reveal it here, but it just might surprise you.
“The Apollo of Bellac” will play on a double-bill with “Murder In All Innocence”, a bizarrely absurd mystery-comedy wherein two loopy Agatha Christie-style sleuths meet at a party whose hosts and guests are oddly blasé about that dead vicar behind the ottoman.
The shows will take place on Friday & Saturday, 1 & 2 April at the White Horse Pub, Eastern Grand Palace Hotel, Soi Khao Talo (just off Sukhumvit Road near the Tesco Lotus/Outlet Mall).
Enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner (including a free welcome drink) to complement the onstage theatrics. Buffet dinner starts at 6 pm, show starts at 7:30 pm.
Tickets cost THB700 per person and can be reserved by calling 094 772 0162 or 087 146 6281 or visit website: www.pattayaplayers.org.