Community Theatre is now in its eighth year in Pattaya. Before that, people in Pattaya had to go to Bangkok if they wanted arts and culture; it just wasn’t available in Pattaya. This is slowly changing. The establishment of Pattaya Players, a local amateur theatre group, is one of the reasons why.
At the Sunday, May 3 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club, the Pattaya Players talked about what they do and how they put shows together, demonstrated a couple of the games they play at their free Improv Workshops, and performed one of the skits from their last show, Laughter.
Mara Swankey, president of Pattaya Players, speaks on the history of the group and describes to her PCEC audience what goes into producing a stage show.
Mara Swankey, president of Pattaya Players, spoke about the history of the group and explained what is involved in putting on a production. Pattaya Players was established in January 2008 by Chris Parsons and Debbie Cavanaugh. The Pattaya Player’s vision was to create an artistically adventurous environment that attracts and excites diverse members of the Pattaya community by providing theatrical productions that entertain, inspire and inform. Although Chris and Debbie have returned to their own countries, others have continued with their vision.
Over the last year, Pattaya Players have performed six one-act plays at different venues, trying to engage a variety of audiences. Mara listed some of the steps involved in putting on a show: (1) Deciding what kind of show to do; (2) Deciding what script to use; (3) Arranging auditions; (4) Doing the casting; (5) Conducting rehearsals – one or two a week for about two hours each time; (6) Doing the costumes; (7) Doing the make-up; (8) Arranging the lights; (9) Preparing the sets; (10) Preparing the program hand-outs; (11) Doing advertising and promotion; (12) Selling tickets; and (13) Arranging for volunteers to do a variety of tasks, such as staffing tables and acting as ushers at the performance.
Two of the Pattaya Players perform an improvisational skit that incorporating the use of three unrelated objects provided by the audience – cup, pneumatic drill, and iPhone. In washing dishes, including a “tea cup” they discover a hole in the wall, but they hear a pneumatic drill being used on the opposite side which may have caused the hole. To gain evidence, one player snaps a picture of with his iPhone.
Mara said that Pattaya Players is a community theatre and that it would love to have more people from the community involved. The Players could use assistance in just about all of the areas listed above. The group welcomes participation at all experience levels, and are always looking for new talent for their upcoming shows.
Pattaya Players holds weekly improv workshops every Tuesday at the Eastern Grand Palace Hotel on Soi Khao Talo in the large open air room next to the swimming pool. The workshops are currently taking a two-week break, but the weekly sessions will resume on 19 May. The group demonstrated two of the games they play at the improv workshops.
Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg presents Mara Swankey and Pattaya Players with the PCEC’s Certificate of Appreciation for an informative and entertaining presentation.
One involves getting people from the audience to select two letters from the alphabet. At the PCEC meeting the audience chose the letters S and W. Each player had to simulate doing an activity that could be described in two words, the first beginning with S and the second with W. After 30 seconds or so, another player would ask, “What are you doing?” and the first player would explain and then give the questioner another word beginning with an S and one beginning with a W. The questioner would then have to simulate an activity using the two new words. Another player would then ask “What are you doing?” and receive two new words with S and W and this would continue with succeeding questioners. For example, one player was Sinking Wells; another was Silly Walking.
The second game involves members of the audience selecting three unrelated objects, after which the players would perform a single skit in which each of the objects had to be mentioned. On Sunday, the audience chose “iPhone,” “cup” and “pneumatic drill.” The players then improvised a skit using these items in their dialogue.
Pattaya Players next production will be a one act comedy on 24-25 July. It will include scenes from “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde, “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward, and some Neil Simon plays.
The Pattaya Players reenacted a scene from their previous performance of “Laughter”. At a gathering of mourners, one obnoxious visitor monopolizes the widow and insists that she must not only feel, but show her sorrow. Finally as shown, she succumbs to his insistence that she must keen to show her grief by keening.
To give the audience a taste of what they can expect at the July performances, the Players performed a skit from “Laughter,” the group’s last comedy night in March. The setting was a funeral home where a wake was being held for someone who had just passed away. Most mourners simply quietly paid their respects to the wife of the deceased and moved on, but one mourner was very loud and didn’t know when to quit. The audience was treated to a display of keening, which is a form of vocal lament associated with mourning that is traditional in Ireland, Scotland and other cultures.
Pattaya Players is currently on a membership drive. The fee is 100 baht a year. Membership comes with perks, including discounts at the group’s performances. For more information, please visit the Pattaya Players website www.pattayaplayers.org or their Facebook page (www. facebook.com/groups/pattayaplayers). You can also contact them by email [email protected]. com or by telephone: 061-993-2569.
After the presentation, MC Richard Silverberg brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.
For more information on the PCEC’s many activities, visit their website at www.pcecclub.org.