Cul­ture Min­istry to stage play based on HM the late King Bhu­mi­bol’s pop­u­lar ‘The Story of Ma­ha­janaka’


It started life as an il­lus­trated book, then was later de­vel­oped into a comic, play and an­i­ma­tion. Fi­nally His Majesty the King’s much-loved “Phra Ma­hachanok”, or “The Story of Ma­ha­janaka”, will be de­picted again as a new play to pay a fi­nal trib­ute and farewell to the for­mer monarch at the Royal Cre­ma­tion on Oc­to­ber 26.

Pre­sented by the Cul­ture Min­istry, more than 100 artists and 50 crew mem­bers will stage the seven-act play based on “The Story of Ma­ha­janaka” based on a re­li­gious story of a past life of the Lord Bud­dha.

The play was first staged in 1997, when the late Na­tional Artist Seri Wong­naitham then got per­mis­sion from the King to adapt the il­lus­trated book into a tra­di­tional Thai play.

Di­rected by drama ex­pert Wan­ta­nee Wang­muang, the new play will show­case beau­ti­ful dances along with hi-tech stage de­sign by the Ova­tion Stu­dio, which will also set the stage for a Khon per­for­mance at the same event.

Launched in 1996, His Majesty brought a mod­ern twist into his “Ma­ha­janaka”, which is based on a story from the Trip­i­taka. It re­counts the in­car­na­tion of the Bud­dha as King Ma­ha­janaka, who ruled the king­dom of Mithila, be­fore be­ing born again as Sid­dhartha.

As King Ma­ha­janaka, he valiantly faces chal­lenges and trou­bles of every kind – from sink­ing ships to bloody suc­ces­sion feuds – and sur­vives them all through his re­mark­able per­se­ver­ance.

“The late King Bhu­mi­bol clev­erly penned this mas­ter­piece with hid­den Bud­dhist teach­ings in­clud­ing per­se­ver­ance, self-sac­ri­fice and com­pas­sion,” said Wan­ta­nee.

“While the core of the story em­pha­sises per­se­ver­ance, His Majesty also por­trays suf­fi­ciency de­vel­op­ment and the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem to his peo­ple via his lit­er­a­ture cre­ation,” said ac­tor Somdet Phuna, who por­trays King Ma­ha­janaka.

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