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Muslim Culture in Thai Theatre & Film


Saturday July 18, 2015 from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Shangri La, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art

Seating is very limited and reservations are required. Admission is free.

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While more than 95% of Thailand’s population are Buddhists and only about 4% are Muslims, the latter has never been regarded as a minority as various attempts have been made into creating a peacefully harmonized society. In most parts of this southeast Asian country, a world favorite tourist destination whose unofficial motto is “sabai sabai” (“relax, relax”), Muslim culture co-exists happily with others. Nevertheless, in the southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia, unrest is common and bomb explosions frequently make national news headlines.

At Shangri La on July 18, Professor Pawit Mahasarinand discusses how Muslim culture has been under represented in recent mainstream and independent theatre productions and films. Specifically, Mahasarinand will explore why the latest major film Ameen is not being released in commercial cinemas. An excerpt from the award-winning documentary film Baby Arabia (2010) will also be shown and discussed.

About the Discussant

unnamedPawit Mahasarinand has been a lecturer in the Department of Dramatic Arts at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, since 1992, and written dance and theatre reviews for The Nation, one of Thailand’s major English language newspapers, since 2001. As a Fulbright scholar and an Asian Cultural Council fellow, he has studied in the United States for eight years and is completing his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Michigan. He has translated ten European and American plays for professional and university productions and staged Mamet’s Oleanna, Hanke’s Offending the Audience, Rabe’s A Question of Mercy, Dietz’s Private Eyes, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre, published by Greenwood Press, includes his entries on modern Thai theatre.