About Interact Thailand
Meet Ning Nong and Tan!
Ning Nong and Tan used to live in Songkla (Southern Thailand) and would commute 3000 kilometers so their son Fluke (who has cerebral palsy) could take part in the different therapies offered by RICD. Eight years ago, they decided to give up very profitable jobs, their home and their family to move to Chiang Mai so Fluke could have more therapy. In Chiang Mai, they found it difficult to find work because of language differences (they speak two very different types of Thai in Northern and Southern Thailand) so they sold cookies at street markets to earn a meager living. Still, they say, it was worth it because of the improvement they saw in Fluke.
During this time, Tan became quite depressed because she felt she couldn’t provide for her children. One day she began writing and channeled her sadness into poems and essays about the world of disability. She then presented her writings to Dr. Samaii who was very impressed and decided to help her and her family. He gave her a job in the laundry room and Fluke was able to be in programming while she worked.
In 2012 Fluke participated in the Interact Thailand production. It was during this time they noticed major improvements in Fluke’s progress. Ning Nong began to volunteer with the program while Tan worked at the hospital. Ning Nong’s energy, creativity and commitment to son and other performers was so palpable, Jeanne not only used Ning Nong in the performance, she recommended Ning Nong work in the music and theater therapy program. Now, thanks to their incredible dedication to betterment of their son, both Ning Nong and Tan have become primary staff for the Interact Thailand program and work for six months prior teaching theater and music.
They are so impressed with the tangible progress of those in the program, they hope the program can grow. Along with becoming more confident performers, everyone involved has grown exponentially in focus, concentration, muscle-memory and social skills.
‘And most importantly, we have all grown spiritually – both our children and us.”
About the Show – A Song of Songkran
This week we started blocking (a theater term for ‘staging’) the show and working out the transitions between the musical numbers and scenes. There are many funny charaters including a devious maid (played by Ginsane, pictured below) who manipulates Scrooge a lot and a group of silly spirits that show Scrooge the light.
The song Songkran, Songkran has now been choreographed in three different ways for three different scenes in three different musical styles. Musical assistants Pong and Bam have really done a lot of great work and have been a pleasure to work with.
At this point, all the songs have been written and include Songkran! Sonkran!, The Golden Babies Rhyme, Do You Like my Bananas?, Ya Ya’s Lullabye and The Silver Lining to the Cloud. Below, I have included the English translation of Songkran! Songkran! for you to read. I hope it helps illuminate some of the traditions associated with this celebration (Thai New Year).
I caught a picture of Ning Nong (our ‘Scrooge’ who is featured above) rehearsing his part with his son Fluke (featured last week) while Fluke played the other parts, coached him and laughed with his dad. It was very moving.
Meet the Thailand Interactors!
She been participating in the Interact Thailand program for the three years. She loves acting – especially comedic acting. Her favorite moment from the current show is the part where Young Scrooge and his girlfriend get engaged. Gadesine is very excited about the future of the Interact Thailand program and is specifically interested in portraying a squid or other sea life at some point.
In our production Gadesine plays Scrooge’s Maid and the Spirit of Songkran Future.
This is Aomsing!
This is Aomsing’s fourth year in the program. He loves to sing and try out his English (he’s a very good mimic.) He sings a lot in the show and plays the Good Golden Baby.
He also loves that everyone is creating a show where he can celebrate Songkran everyday.
from ‘A Song of Sanook’
Songkran! Songrkan! Spread your joy across our land
Songkran! Songkran! Join us together hand-in-hand
Songkran! Songkran! Watch all the people play
Songkran! Songkran! The water helps us celebrate
Songkran! Songkran! Grandpa, Grandma gather near
Atone! Atone! To all the generations here
Songkran! Songkran! Come to the temple! Come to pray!
Come one, come all for it’s pagoda-building day
[A singer does Thai yodeling]
Aaron Gabriel Music
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