If someone offered you the chance to recreate your last moments with a lost loved one, would you take them up on the offer? Stick Figures, Thonglor Art Space’s current play, is based on a script by US playwright, Josh Ginsburg. The play follows a “surrogate” tasked with re-living the last days of recently deceased individuals in order to help their friends and family better cope with their personal grief.
After reading the original English script, director Pattarasuda Anuman-Rajadhon found it so perfect that she decided to produce both Thai and English versions of the play with two separate casts; a bonus for bi-lingual audiences who can experience the nuances of two different interpretations.
In the play’s English version, Sasapin Siriwanij stands out for her portrayal of a seemingly cold-hearted surrogate who makes a living by impersonating the dead. We follow her to meet two clients: a family who have lost their daughter, a 17-year-old cheerleader, and a young man whose deceased girlfriend once dreamed of auditioning for the Broadway show, Cats.
The Thai version inevitably loses some meaning in its translation, and references to Western culture may cause a little awkwardness, but a powerful ensemble cast ensures that each actor shines in their role. The Thai cast’s performances are so convincing and touching that we recommend a pre-show visit to the tissue shelf of 7-Eleven across the street. You have been warned!
The set is cleverly designed with movable furniture items that combine to build several functional environments. Every item that appears on stage is carefully chosen and loaded with meaning. A large swing implies an inability to jump or let go, while a terrarium jar subtly makes us question characters’ inner motivations for wanting their loved ones to live on in a simulated microcosm.
Stick Figures takes you into the world of five emotionally fragile human beings. Sticking to the past is the only way they have to deal with their sudden sadness and despair. The truth may hurt, but can lies heal? That is the question.