Manipulating Entities is a short documentary produced by students at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore about Hun Lakorn Lek, a traditional form of Thai rod puppetry. Hun Lakorn Lek is actually relatively young compared to the puppetry traditions in most other Asian countries, dating back just a little over a century. It is closely associated with Khon, an older form of dance in Thailand. Krae Saptawanit – a Thai dancer and puppeteer – is widely credited with innovating Hun Lakorn Lek at the turn of the 20th century.
The documentary itself focuses on the popular Joe Louis Theatre in Bangkok, which was founded by the late Thai Master Puppeteer Sakorn Yang-keawsot, whose adopted English name was Joe Louis. The company can trace it’s lineage all the way back to the inception of Hun Lakorn Lek (Sakorn’s parents were mentored by and performed with Krae Saptawanit himself). The troupe lost its performing home some time around 2010, so it’s wonderful to see that they have a new venue to perform in and are looking forward to a bright future at a time when many traditional puppeteers in neighbouring countries are struggling.
Special thanks to Alan Cook for discovering and sharing this!