Our "Taleng Phai" is not "Lilit Taleng Phai"
I started researching and compiling documents from the King’s version of the “Thai Chronicles”, “Thai-Burmese Warfare” by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, The Luang Prasert Aksoraniti Version of “Old Ayudhya’s Chronicle” and “Testimony of a Former Ayudhyan”.
Based on my own reading of the events and my wish to recount a story that had been passed from generation to generation, I used the puppet song as the narrative. I envisioned a bed-time story told by parents to a child who then falls asleep and dreams of the events unfolding in front of his dreamy eyes, seeing what was happening in the Ayudhyan period after the fall to Burma in 1569.
After having written the prologue, I felt that the Black Prince’s or the Crown Prince’s return to Ayudhya, after having been held hostage in Burma for so many years, could not have been easy without the exchange of another member of royalty.
I trusted my own conviction that Princess Subankalaya must have left
her motherland to Hanthawaddy and sacrificed herself as a concubine
to Min-en, Bayinnaung’s heir to the Burmese throne, in exchange for
her brother Prince Naresuan, who was to save the country from
The above verse was transcribed with lively music in the Ayudhyan style, meant to resemble a nursery rhyme sung by innocent children and supposed to have been passed down until today. The scene of Princess Subankalaya’s departure to Hanthawady was, thus, the beginning of Taleng Phai.
The plot was conceived and outlined according to Ajarn Chakrabhand’s idea that there should be the cockfighting scene and the dream sequence of fighting the huge crocodile, which seem like great fun, both theatrically and dramatically. I followed the storyline as written by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab in that I had Viceroy Upayaza challenge Prince Naresuan to a cockfight.
To compress the story, without going back to their younger days and not contradicting The Testaments of a Former Ayudhyan, the cockfight was set after the competitive siege and fall of Khang, as it must have been in their pastimes since childhood,
As for the character of Viceroy Upayaza, I disagreed with Prince
Paramanujitjinoros’ Lilit Taleng Phai and several versions of Thai
history that say he was a cowardly, lascivious prince who was inept
in warfare, so much so, that his father derisively urged him to wear
women’s clothes when he refused to go to war.
Viceroy Upayaza accepted King Naresuan’s challenge with complete
self- confidence but was killed in the historic elephant battle.
A strange inexplicable incident happened concerning the inception of this play and I would like, candidly, to put it on the record.
After some time, Sergeant Kai (Prayong Kitnithet), having heard me
giving interviews or going about telling people that he was the one
who had recommended the story of Taleng Phai, asked me, in
wonderment, in front of Ajarn Chakrabhand,
I humbly dedicate my work in writing, music and artistic creation, executed with faith and effort, as a tribute to King Naresuan and the Siamese monarchs and to our national heroes.