Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cabaret At The Mall

It was busier than normal when I ducked into the Chareonsri (now Central) Shopping Mall in Udonthani one afternoon to escape what had become an especially merciless afternoon heat. I thought I'd just find a spot to sit and people watch until my core temperature got back within an acceptable range, but there were none to be found.

Glancing upward I could see it didn't appear to be all that busy on the upper floors, but there was a crowd gravitating toward some music coming from around a nearby corner on the ground floor that made it a bit of a challenge to get around so I shuffled slowly along with the herd, thinking I'd veer out of the crowd at some point and find myself something cool to drink. Before I'd reached the turn in the walkway the movement stopped completely as people began piling up in Standing Room Only formation behind a small sea of chairs facing a raised stage.

Less than five minutes later spotlights came on and began sweeping the stage area, some sort of brass fanfare heralding the start of the show. An announcer began speaking in Thai, joined every so often by a wave of applause from the crowd, now primed and ready for whatever it was that was about to happen. They knew, but I couldn't read the signage and, as I've shared before, my Thai is sadly lacking - especially when it comes to rapid-fire native speakers.

What I could make out was that this was a presentation by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and was evidently a promotional tour by a song-and-dance group, perhaps drumming up visitors for another area of the country. It made me think of some of the cabaret (good and bad) that I've seen in Thailand, but this was outside of a nightclub setting. To me it almost seemed a little out of place, but it didn't to the crowd: they cheered and applauded this free afternoon entertainment and seemed to enjoy every minute of it, as did I.

As the show ended the crowd dispersed and the staff and crew began dragging and stacking the plastic chairs off into one spot while a few of us stopped to say hello to the performers as they talked amongst themselves "backstage", apparently pleased with how the show had gone. Three of them were happy to pose for me when I asked, and that photo's up top.


Anonymous said...

You should have got the boys to pose for us too!

khunbaobao said...

Some of them in the purple dresses ARE boys. ;-)