(newly compiled and edited)
This is the first play I have ever written in my entire life.It is a sublime story about ghost, inspired by The Shock , the popular radio program of horror story telling from fan clubs via telephone. I am also truly impressed with some short stories from Khru Hem Wetchakorn , the great writer (and also his eerie illustrations) who lived about half a century ago. Moreover , the play is partly inspired by Giuseppe Verdi's opera named "La Traviata" , but some charaters remind us of Giacomo Puccini's La boheme.
The play is about a quartet of poor and illiterate guys (all finish studying under the 4th grade of elementary school) who flee from their destitute hometowns in countryside. They relentlessly pursue their dreams in the decadent Bangkok during 1950s and happen to share the same rented house. All the men feel enamoured with the their landlady's beautiful daughter who is sassy and arrogant. Her sudden tragic death then leads them to encounter the mysterious and horrifying spirit.
These are the character's names also their occupations and status :
Boonmee : taxi driver
Somkuan : noodle vendor
Neramit : ceramic toys vendor
Madame Ruedee : landlady
Ms.Thitirat: daughter of Ruedee
Itiphon: Somruetai's lover
Ghost of Thitirat
The clock on the wall informs us that it is 13.30 o'clock. Boonmee is entering the dilapidated room where Kong is lying on the mattress.
Boonmee : My comrade ,what's eating thee ? How come thou art ensnared in such a melancholy ?
Kong : I'm with gratitude that thou art aware of my haplessness in this hour , my friend. When thou art without travails ,the world shall be a hollow place, and turn thee to be a wretch whose soul's being gnawed by boredom and despair.
(Their room is resounded with the music from Kong's record player which is playing "Solitude" performed by Billie Holiday
In my solitude
You haunt me
With dreadful ease
Of days gone by
In my solitude
You taunt me
That never die ....)
Boonmee (sits on the floor) : I sympathize that thou hast no patron at the moment,but such a divine music as thy companion's purely blissful ,though it's dismal.
Kong (chuckles): Art thou in this minute back from the nocturnal galloping on the noble steed?
Boonmee (laughs) : Ay , thou must have envied me for a stint of taxi driving that has allowed me to indulge in the cloak -and-dagger scene of Bangkok at night.
Kong: I know that, when the curtain of darkness is brought down ,all decent Bangkokians become odd ; their barbarity and promiscuity see no bounds. I was once working for a night club and witnessed them all.It was both appalling and hilarious ,no less.
Boonmee: I concur overwhelmingly. I ,for countless hours, stumbles upon the fair ladies who begged me for a gratuitous ride as their poverty was pulverizing them to a dust ,so they said. They hence bluntly proffered me a lurid night with them at a tryst.
Kong: This world looks like the stage with peculiar plays. All players are pathetic and be fazed by the everyday ghastly plots. When the world keeps spinning without flagging, they all descend from the stage one by one, and nobody shall see them for endless days and nights.
Boonmee: Well said, how're about their apparitions ? Plenty of their legends have lingered with us for many thousand years.
Kong: Ay , their apparitions are merely a fragment of sound and fury they leave behind ,signifying nothing but the elusive memories of the remaining fellows.
(Somkuan also enters the room)
Kong :Fancy seeing three of us assembling here in the bright daytime. Somkuan, how goes thy worthy business ? Thou art being profuse with the perturbing sweats.
Somkuan (takes off his hat and shoes) : Alas , I couldn't avoid the unsavory fate from the woe of this country ruled by those tyrannous and gluttonous generals. Not a single soul visited my noodle stall this whole morning and noon.
Boonmee :It appears that the goddess of destination is pulling the strings behind us with mischief here.
Kong: Imbecile ! Only the mortals exist here- in this dreary world.The desert of unpalatable life has lured thee with the mirage of otherworldly realms. All religious brethren've brazenly fed us mendacities since ancient times.
Somkuan (sits down and pulls the black and white picture from his shabby pocket ,and sighs) : All I insatiably desire in this moment is to throw myself in the bosom of the cherished lady whom I once deserted in my godforsaken hometown.
Kong : Thy love is like the strong current of cold stream vanishing in the mist of winter's morning.That day apprised thou me her parents detested the penniless ? If thou return in this night, thou shalt find nothing but the scornful sights and unbearable rowdiness.
Somkuan :Sir ,I daily inure to this kind of contempt from the folks who overpraise themselves as civilized in this sinful city. I thereupon brace for any kind of torture just to be enchanted by her dazzling eyes, just to be elated in her warmish embrace ,and just to be euphoric from kissing upon her voluptuous lips.
Kong (talks to Boonmee): This fella is erring in the delirium of futile yearning. Love not only maketh him hazy but pitifully deprive him of rationality. How can one clinch a game of great fortune when he is bridled by a passion that is arbitrary and treacherous like tempest.
Boonmee : Nay, I'm irked by how world-weary thou art. Love's a myriad of splendored things and be not fettered by a deformed creature like reason. Love's indeed the seraphim who blows the trumpet to herald thee to heaven. I thus spell a curse upon thee to wander for all eternity in the scorching ,barren lands of reason.
Neramit (darts into the room and shouts) : The urgent news ! Khun Thitirat has new lover !
Everybody becomes dumbfounded.
End of Act 1
(At the balcony of Madame Ruedee's mansion , 2 men and 2 women are dining ,drinking ,and chattering .Thitirat is smoking and laughing without restraints. Her new lover,Ititphon flirts with her all the time)
Thitirat : Cheers ! Now the night's newly born and the day just dies away. Let our hearts be smoldered by endless gaiety. Let our lives be embellished with luscious wine and laughter.
Friend 1 : Ay. Life's so fleeting like a morning dew in sunlight , bravely flickering and dying out .Why shall we not rush to joy without further ado?
Friend 2 (raises the glass) : Bottoms up ! The world's so devillish and replete with follies.Our anguish at last is healed by pleasantries we make.This place's the haven for our blissful lives , far from all frenzy and plight.
Itipon (has put his arm around Thitirat's shoulders) : My ardent love for Thitirat's wherefore blessed by the goddess of joy and mirth.
(Friend 1 and 2 resounds the room with hurrays. Thitirat shows her awkwardness and coughs a little)
Itipon: Though it's just newfound, I assume our love's like the sun thawing the white lovely snow. O when thou descend upon my life, it starts burning bright and bestowing upon me the great delights. In my limpid dream , thou looked majestic in a bridal gown.
Friend 2 : Perhaps thou two art a star-cross'd lover in thy past lives ,sir. Allow me to indulge with my fantasy that thou two tie a knot in a celestial garden above the lush field adorned with the sweet red roses.
Thitirat : Why say thou so ? How comest all thou rest assured ? When this life is so bizarre : full of dithers and quirky twists of fate.Today we live ,but on the morrow we might perish.Itipon, there's nothing I can gratify thee but empty feminine charm and lust.
Itipon (smiles wrily) :Ye, seductress , I marvel at how thou captivate me with thy mystic spells. I make a vow that I shall henceforth make thee renounce this unholy notion.That day triumph shall entirely be mine.
Thitirat (laughs and coughs again, throwing the cigarette away): I make a vow that I shall henceforth amuse thee with the illusion of nuptial. It is a senseless act of humans to shackle their free spirits. How come we feed our agony by walking on the well- trodden path like our fellow mortals who're blind?
Friend 1 (speaks aloud) : Somebody's there !
(Neramit and Kong stand at the door and hold the trays)
Neramit : Young Lady , we're assigned by thy mother to cater thee more spirit and food.
Thitirat (looks at the view outside) : Finish thy task and leave.
(Both of them ceaselessly gawk at Thitirat while following her command)
Ititpon :I wonder why thy servants're so rude. Their overbearing gazes're defiling thy fairness and drawing my ire.
Neramit: Sir , may I defend me from thy ignorance. I'm no servant. Khun Ruedee implores us to usurp the chores of her servants who've perplexed her with their sudden absences.
Thitirat (still looking at the same direction) : Ay , they're at most my mother's beggarly tenants. Their dwelling is that ramshackle cottage not far from my mansion.
Friend 1 (speaks to Neramit) : In my foggy memory, I encountered thee another day. Ha , thou , that ceramic toy peddler ; how pathetic thou art ,carrying the basket of toys ,wobbling along the sweltering road yonder.
Neramit: Sir , I'm reminded how princely thou art. In that luxury car , thou art gibberish and crazed ; naught but a worthless fool.
Kong (speaks to Neramit) : Restrain thyself , Neramit.Brawling with the boorish renders us nought but farce.Vainglory is merely a phantom haunting us without pause.In our death throes, none of wealth and rank shall we grasp with our hopeless arms.
Friend 1 : I bite my thumb at thee , the low life.
Friend 2 (speaks to friend 1) : Withdraw thy savagery. Here we desire but laughs and amity. (to Kong and Neramit) : Gentlemen , I hence treasure thy deed , please be gone.
(Kong and Neramit leave.Kong peeks at the cold Thitirat again)
Ititpon (raises the glass) : With those ruffians long gone , let this night begin with our sheer revels.Till golden dawn shall we dance merrily.
(Someone switches on the record player. It plays the song of Helen Forrest and Artie Shaw and its name is Deep Purple:
When the deep purple falls over sleepy garden walls
And the stars begin to flicker in the sky
Through the mist of a memory you wander back to me
Breathing my name with a sigh....
Thitirat sheds her hidden tears , lighting another cigarette and singing along ,while her friends begin to dance.)
End of Act 2
30 nights have passed, Thitirat deceases from a plague (tuberculosis) as her ominous remark becomes true . At her funeral in the night, a few guests attend and a quartet of friends render Mme.Ruedee a dear helping hand. Near her coffin one wreath's standing desolately .
Somkuan : Alas ! Unbeknownst to me for the lady with such a sumptuous life , when she smiles , the whole world embraces her with glee. But when she cries, the whole world slaps her with no qualms.
Neramit :Shame on that man who professed his fervent love for her. I wish a plague on him who vanishes , so do her all fair -weather friends ; now cavorting and devouring tirelessly with new master ,when the old one withers.
Boonmee: The world abounds with liars and phony.They're like the creature with waxen wings.When they fly near the sun of verity , the wings melt and they fall on the abyss - beheld no more. Alas , with their misdeed ,our deep affections for young lady are pitifully laid to waste.
Somkuan(looks around): Wondering where Kong'd be in this hour. I am baffled to see him sigh since the demise of our lady. He is such a shrewd high priest in the temple of reason , always preaching us to be clear-sighted. But he is the one stricken with utmost grief - hypocrite !
(Kong sustains Ruedee while entering the room slowly. All men rise up to salute their landlady.)
Ruedee: Ye young lads ,be thanked by me ,the miserable old lady. Without thy succor, Thitirat might lie with cold body on her deathbed even now.In this hour, all my next of kin cast me off as all my fortune's swindled by quack and charlatan.
Kong :Noble lady , though we're thy benighted tenants, we enshrine thy kindness in all our hearts. Without thy mercy , we could be residing in the far more forlorn place. Our lives' d be afflicted for endless days.
Boonmee: Ay , I feel grateful towards thee with the deepest part of my soul. Noble lady ,during my shift of one night, I found my client an oracle. She meditated and imparted me Khun Thitirat's the lady -in-waiting of the goddess of love. In her vision, her face was radiant and resplendent. With that colorful attire ,she looked like the goddess herself.
(Ruedee smiles and weeps. Everyone rushes to console her .Then she faints and one of her female servants revives her.
Out of the blue , Itipon appears at the doorstep. He looks ashen and scruffy. His eyes are bloodshot , full of agony.)
Neramit (shouts) : Look , that scoundrel ! He dares to show his face. Down with thy ruse and be gone !
Itipon :Nay , wrong me not. I can't rid me of downright remorse and misery. Three of sleepless nights yield to me naught but a folly. I come here to bid my dearest good bye.
Kong (talks to Nermit) : Suppress thy wrath as I know he's so forthright. That fella's the crooked not.
(Ititpon bursts into tears and throws himself into Thitirat's coffin. Suddenly the light goes out. All dogs nearby begin to howl.The abrupt wind gust pushes the wreath down.Everybody becomes stricken with fear and huddles together.)
Somkuan: Look ! Someone's there , with her macabre sight.
Boonmee: That's the ghost of Khun Thitirat ,horrendous ! With the blood covering her rotting body ,her eyes 're glaring and intending to do us harm, retreat now!
(Everybody flees except Kong and unconscious Ruedee lying motionless on the mats.The ghost of Thitirat regains her beauty and rushes to embrace her mother and weeps. She thence carries her to sofa and looks at Kong.)
Thitirat: How come thou fear me not?
Thitirat (mimics his voice): As "thou art a fragment of sound and fury ... the elusive memories of remaining fellows".
Kong: Once more thou seek'st to conquer me in our numerous fights , my adored lady.
Thitirat :Waggish to me , thou haunt me for years. In this hour , I'll haunt thee when my life is like a song with no rhymes.
Kong: Nay , thou misjudge me. I've been haunted by thee at all hours ! The memory of thou sweetly linger in my dream of the endless nights. When I wake up, I weep as thou art but my vain fancy. The scorching ,barren lands of reason become my santuary.
Thitirat: It appears we come across the same plights and they're tucked away in our own cloaks.
Kong :The piteous cloaks that we preserve to wound each other till thy very last breath and I wasn't there on time to hold thy lovely hands.
Thitirat:Ere we drifted on the different paths, I imagined not how my life' d be without thee for a single day. When I saw thee in disguise , I found my life worthwhile once more.Though I pretended to resist.
Kong: I knew from thy voice ,from thy slightest sighs that night.How a poor pretender thou art .Thy eyes're cold and cruel, but I felt the warmth from thy aflame heart.
Titirat : Ay , thou art clever without fail.Thereupon, in my recurring limpid dreams , we tied a knot in a celestial garden.We both wore the white bridal grown and groom suit.
Kong: Lo and behold ! 'Tis only not in my dream. I reminisce about those sweet red roses who greeted us with jollity. Our feet stepped on the lush field that caressed us like the lustful lovers. That lofty marble pavilion's like a temple of god who witnessed our union.
(Thitirat holds Kong's face with her hands, and their foreheads touch each other)
Thitirat: My dearest ,this moment, I know even in the throes of my death ,we're at last reconciled. Our nuptial's the destiny for this night.
Kong (interrupts) : Ay , this night's anointed with fragrance of heavenly flowers as a token of our undying love.The sky with clear milky way shall be but our bridal house.
Thitirat : Our nuptial's thus sacred as our love's bound for all eternity and hereinafter death shall not do us part. In this dreary world ,not only the mortals exist ,but also dwelt in by almighty Aphrodite .
Kong (smiles and says nothing ,holding Titirat's face with utter adoration.)
(They embrace and drink the elixir from the kiss of each other and sit together ,staring at the flickering stars around the lonely bright crescent moon.)
End of the play