New Edible Khon 
(masked dance drama in Thailand)

Yathana P
Silpakorn University
At the current situation where the Coronavirus 2019 has been spreading, hindering many activities, Khon performance is likewise one among those being extremely affected. The show is discontinued while the classes are also suspended. Seeing such obstacles, the author comes up with an innovative idea to present Khon through contemporary art in a modern approach to reach an audience of all genders and ages without gathering them in the same place. Such idea fits the current situation. The author’s concept is to apply the art of conversion into turning the Khon performance into food called “Edible Khon” in which anyone can understand. No rare element is needed. In particular, the creative process and learning curve of Khon under “Edible Khon” is one of the communication tool that invented to cope with the current outbreak of Coronavirus 2019.

The author has created a piece of work under the theme “A Gift from Ladies in Ramayana” - the way to present the taste of love being 1 among 9 tastes appeared in Sanskirt literature, and also found in the Natya Shastra textbook (religious book) written by Bharata Muni. The taste of love composed in the play dialogues are in various forms such as the young (husband and wife), between relatives, between parents and child, love for dedicated group, the elderly and minor, love of a family to the country. According to general Phon play, the love between the young (husband and wife) are widely performed and popular among audience. For example, the part where Hanuman catches different ladies and makes them his wife, such as Lady Benkai, Lady Suphan Matcha, the scene when Hanuman enters Lady Suwan Kalyuma’s room. The author has combined concepts and semiology to narrate Ramayana story in the Khon performance, by making a comparison between the making of food, ingredients, smells, taste, properties of the food and the containers used, i.e., colors, sizes, characters with characters and events, actions and scenes in Ramayana story.

A gift from Lady Suwannamatcha, one of the ladies in Ramayana literature. She gave the gift to Hanuman wishing him to think of her. We illustrate such intimacy as the menu where the selected dish is Maa Haaw or galloping horse in English. Maa Haaw is Thai snack made of fruit slice served with a nutty, sweet-savory condiment. The condiment is compared to the stones that Hanuman throws into the sea, while the lined-up pineapple squares can be correlated to the road built by filling up the ocean toward Krung Longka. Another dish Krung Sarong- an appetiser in which prawns are wrapped in vermicelli noodles and deep fried. The shrimp tail is compared to mermaid’s tail which refers to Lady Suphannamatcha. These example of the menu is based on the semiology principle in which the food characters are created to unfold the Ramayana story, Reserving the Road chapter.