Khon troupe from Thailand perform at Sydney Opera House

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The Khon performance is part of the cultural trip organised by the Culture, Foreign, and Tourism and Sports ministries to celebrate the 7th circle birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and 65 years of relations between Thailand and Australia.

Khon is a Thai classical court masked dance whose history dates back hundreds of years. It employs many aspects of the arts: drama, dance, pantomime, and music.  Its every aspect of the arts is combined for performing the story of the Ramakien, the Thai epic adapted from the Ramayana, the Indian epic.

The Ramakien is the story of Phra Ram, an incarnation of the god Phra Narai. He is assisted by monkey warriors, who bring back his wife, Sida, kidnapped by the demon king, Tosakanth.

In performance, actors utilise dance-pantomime along with the chanted narrative of a storyteller accompanied by singers and a Piphat orchestra. The text consists of two literary styles: khamphak, which are descriptive verses; and ceraca, which are dialogues in rhythmic prose. Performers play one of four types: male, female, demon, or monkey. An athletic male style of movement is required for the performers who have to engage in elaborate battle pantomimes.

The costumes for Khon performer are elaborate, including decorated headdresses or crowns and full-head masks, which is the most distinctive characteristic of this performance.

The Khon performance will be in Australia from August 28 to September 3, 2017.