Broadway in the jungle? Likay – Thai Christian Drama
We have safely returned from Latongku and are still reveling in the amazingness of the last several days. We are grateful to have experienced it together because it will be difficult to adequately express any of the different experiences in words. And yet, there is so much that we want to share! We decided to each take a highlight.
I get to talk about “the Likay.”
Imagine a very sophisticated Broadway performance or Shakespeare in the park – complete with all of the costumes and backdrops, make up and mystique that goes into a production of such high caliber.
Now take that picture and put in the middle of the jungle in a small village along the Thai-Burma border. And imagine what a special occasion it would be for people on both sides of the border to have such an event come to their village!
This is Likay – a stylized Thai drama put on by CCI, the Christian Communication Institute, and one of the many ministries Chapel Hill partners with through the Thai Christian Foundation. It felt like the circus had come to town as people streamed into the seating area, arriving from every direction by foot, tractor, truck and motorbike.
Before the actual Likay performance, several local choirs perform and an evangelist shares the Gospel message. It is always a little stunning to watch people jump to their feet and move forward when asked to invite Jesus into their lives. But it seemed even more dramatic in this rustic, Buddhist setting, where such a decision would have such immediate consequences. It was a beautiful thing to watch pastors and members of the local churches welcome their neighbors into the family of God.
And then the performance! The most colorful, bedazzled costumes you’ve ever seen. A full-on melodrama with an evil villain, clowns, and lots of music. Everybody loved it. Laughter and joy from every corner of the field (including the trees, where some of the children had decided to take it all in).
I have to say that our group was also touched by the great love that we saw between the members of the Likay troupe. They stayed in tents throughout the village and also performed in the local school and at the health clinic dedication. There was a magnetic quality about them both in and out of costume. It reminded me of that truth that transcends culture; they will know we are Christians by our love.
So much more to share, but that’s a good start.
Thank you for your prayers.
Nikki and the Thai-Burma team