Ramakien , Ramayana ( Khon)
Khon is a classical art which combines three kinds of traditional activities which are Chak Nak Duek Damban, Krabi Krabong and Nang Yai. Also, Khon is partly derived from Lakon Nai.
In the past, all Khon performers wore masks and thus needed narrators to project voices for their characters. Today, the narrators still retain their roles in Khon despite an adaptation that human and angel characters no longer wear masks. Only monkey or demon characters still wear masks on stage.The most popular script is the Ramakien, which is based on India’s Ramayana epic. Written by Valmiki, the epic narrates an episode of Phra Narai (Narayana) who is reborn to a human so as to save both humans and angels from the terror of Tosakanth (Ravana) – the demon king– in Longka (Lanka) City.
The most complete version of Ramakien was written by H.M. King Rama I (1782 – 1809). But the Ramakien which is most widely used in actual productions on account of its melodies verses was composed by King Rama II (1809 – 1824).
Khon was regarded as a royal court performance, continuing from the Ayudhaya Period into the Rattanakosin Period. During the reign of H.M. King Rama VI, Khon reached its golden age. His Majesty supported both Khon trainees and artists, and also had Khon performances staged throughout his reign.
In 1935, however, the royal Khon troupe was transferred to the Fine Arts Department and since then all official Khon artists have been part of this department.