Friday, August 6, 2010

Asian Christian theatre

I think I will need to take several posts to talk about my Oberammergau experience and reactions, so let me begin by briefly mentioning the wonderful ethnic arts experienced at the latest Global Consultation on Music and Missions.  Many years ago I heard about Thai folk drama being used to give Biblical messages. The piece mentioned was "The Prodigal Daughter" in Thai Likay form.  Likay is a traditional folk form of drama that uses Thai dance, song, music and melodrama to tell a story. They also incorporate a lot of the classical Indian dance movements - particularly with hand gestures, where each position of the hand has meaning.
In the 1970s, Allan and Joan Eubanks, of Christian Communications Institute in Thailand, developed the first Christian Likay drama, "The Prodigal Daughter," with students from Payap University.  It has been performing ever since.  And they performed an excerpt of it at GComm!   What a thrill to see it in person!  CCI has gone on to develop many more Likay dramas as well as contemporary plays bringing out Scripture and Biblical principles.


  1. As a mime-type, I'm interested in those meaningful hand gestures. Sounds fascinating. And the costumes are impressive!

  2. I am quite interested in knowing what specific basic hand gestures mean, and how they are important in different there anyone who could inform me of such a thing?

    1. I will try and find some books that have that information and post it here!

  3. Here is a blog that gives some samples of hand gesture meaning in Indian bharatanatyam dance:

    The Natyasastra (the book of Indian dramaturgy) carries a detailed description of hand and foot gestures and their meanings in Indian drama (original dance drama)

    I have not come across other books yet that give detailed descriptions. Sorry!