Held in the colossal 2,000-seat Ratchada Theatre, the Siam Niramit show boasts an 11.95 metre proscenium – certified by Guinness World of Records as the world’s highest stage.
The lights suddenly dimmed and permeating through the darkened stage is the heart-thumping beat of ‘klong sabatchai’ (victory drum), followed by the graceful golden fingernail dance and sword dance. The entire stage is re-lit and awoken back to life with a scene of the Ancient Kingdom of Lanna, showing a slow-paced, yet elegant royal procession led by the King and Queen of Lanna, the earliest of Siamese reigns.
A stark contrast to the north, the audience is transported down to the more animated south with the next scene: The South Sea… Traders from Overseas. Opening with ‘nang talung’ (shadow puppets) and the lively and colourful ‘nora dance’, this scene is the re-enactment of the Kingdom Sriwichai’s bustling market full of foreign traders, and with a whimsical subtext of interracial crush – a representation of the harmonious existence of different faiths and races. The next two scenes, The Northeast… Heritage of the Khmer Civilization and Central Plains… Ayutthaya: The Mighty Capital, are superbly portrayed with state-of-the-art special effects like an on-stage ‘klong’ (river), realistic rainfall, thunder and lighting. The audience also gets to witness local activities and festivities like ‘ram lao krathop mai (bamboo dance), the singing of rice harvesting folk songs and Thai boxing matches during these scenes.