With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Monday, October 31, 2011

ACF 1214: International Premiere of Thailand’s BOXING BOYS!

World’s first non-verbal Thai kickboxing performance
blends martial arts with street dance

The world’s first non-verbal Thai kickboxing performance, blending martial arts with street dance, physical comedy and romance, recently opened at Singapore’s 1942-seat Esplanade Theatre. The Singapore season marks the show’s first bow after its critically acclaimed world premiere in Thailand earlier this year.

Conceptualized, directed and co-choreographed by Ekachai Uekrongtham, celebrated Thai director of the award-winning film Beautiful Boxer and the hit musical Chang & Eng, Boxing Boys! is an inventive live theatre performance that does not rely on words but uses visual, physical and musical elements of the production to tell a story of how two young men – a robust professional kickboxer and a mischievous street dancer – fight to win over the younger sister of a Muay Thai Master.

The 17-strong cast of Boxing Boys! comprises real-life Thai kickboxing champions, award-winning street dancers, sports champs and martial arts experts culled from extensive nation-wide auditions. These include Pongsiri Bunluewong, winner of three Equestrian Gold Medals from the SEA Games and Asian Games; Samran Malaithaisong, Thai kickboxing champion who’s recently been named “Star Kickboxer” by Muay Siam Magazine; Asanee Suwan, kickboxing champ and Thai ‘Oscar’ winner for Best Actor from Beautiful Boxer; Pakasit Luxsiri, 6-time winner of National Thai Sword Fighting Competitions; Assanai Yungyuen, a Taekwondo instructor who holds a Black Belt and has won numerous National Taekwondo Contests; and Thiniwat Tonglue, winner of the recent Singha Battle of the Year Thailand and the 11th Phrasumain Anniversary Krumping Battle.

The choreography for Boxing Boys!, co-created by one of Thailand’s leading choreographers Kanyarat Napasab and Uekrongtham, confronts as well as blends Thai martial arts and traditional Thai dance with street dance like B-Boying, Krumping, Popping and Locking as well as contemporary dance and body percussion. The extensive fight choreography in the show is crafted by Master Sane Tubthimtong, one of the world’s most revered Muay Thai Masters. Emphasizing on real and raw body attacks and contacts, the fight sequences are explosive yet artful - featuring ancient Muay Thai moves rarely seen these days. In addition to kickboxing sequences, the show also incorporates a war scene showcasing sword-fighting sequences between Thai and Burmese warriors – leading up to the very moment when Muay Thai was born.

Boxing Boys' vast musical landscape features original compositions penned by Papassilp Kitawongwat, Thai ‘Oscar’ winner for Best Original Score from Yamada; and Pacharapong Chantapoon, one of most sought after composers and arrangers for musical theatre. The inspired gamut of musical styles in the show range from traditional Thai music to Hip Hop, Pop, Rock, Electro, Percussion-based, New Age, Classical, Opera and World Music. Sound design is specially created for the show by Nakorn Kositpaisarn, winner of Asian Film Award for Best Sound Design for Warlords starring Jet Li.

Boxing Boys! was critically acclaimed when it had its world premiere in Bangkok earlier this year. Bangkok Post says “Juxtaposition is the charm of the show” and describes Boxing Boys! as “a non-stop joy ride of fun”. It also says the show’s use of music “creates multiple layers of profound meanings”. Season Magazine says Boxing Boys! “harmonizes combat art with dance moves impeccably” and praises the show for its “breathtaking fight sequences which are a thrill to watch.” The Hindu says the live performance is “studded with music, dance and pulsating action” while Prestige Magazine describes it as “a rich cultural potpourri… a show that sizzles with six-pack bodies and high voltage energy.” Kom Chad Luek Newspaper says “this non-verbal performance communicates through the elegance and universality of body language.” It also applauds the show for “revealing the aesthetics and exquisite beauty of Thai kickboxing.”

Boxing Boys! is a Scenario Thailand production executive produced by Takonkiet Viravan whose Broadway credits as Producer include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring Daniel Radcliffe and Promises, Promises starring Sean Hayes. The International Premiere of Boxing Boys! in Singapore at the Esplanade Theatre is presented by MediaCorp VizPro International. Negotiations are now underway for the show to tour internationally commencing in 2012.

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