The company will bring in four new productions – three critically acclaimed contemporary pieces and one classic play by the American playwright Tennessee Williams. For this season, Peel the Limelight will take up residency and collaborate with Spark School of Dramatics Arts (Spark Drama). All the shows will be performed in English at the Spark Drama Studio. Peel the Limelight holds auditions for each production and casts Thai and international professional artists in every show.

Artistic Director Peter O’Neill said, “We wanted to choose a season that highlights Peel and Spark Drama! The intimacy of the space means our audiences are involved in our pieces. They are part of the event!” Born in New York, with a BA in Theatre from College of the Holy Cross and an MFA in Theatre from CALARTS, by way of London, Peter found himself in Thailand directing “Bent” and “Gruesome Playground Injuries” for Peel the Limelight which he co-founded with Jaime Zuniga.

Peter has acted, directed and produced for the stage in Los Angeles, New York, London and now Bangkok. “I feel that as theatre artists our role is to challenge our audience. I want them to be a part of it, I don't like the audience to hide! Our job is to move them, change them and make them question what they are experiencing. If we can start a conversation outside the theatre then we have done our jobs!” O’Neill said.

Spark Drama Managing Director Piangpaitoon Satrawaha described the partnership with Peel the Limelight as a new avenue of exploring the possibilities of the space. Piangpaitoon holds an MA in Dramatic Arts from the Faculty of Arts of Chulalongkorn University and works as an acting coach and casting manager for films, TV commercials, and video presentations. “Immediately after the premiere of Gruesome Playground Injuries at our space last February we initiated the conversation about future collaborations,” Satrawaha said.

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 has written for the screen for TV series such as “Thida-Dance” (Dancing Daughter) Channel 3 and “Atita” Channel 7. She has worked as an acting coach for TV series such as “Sao Noi Roi Lan” (Millionaire Girl) on Channel 3. She has also directed for the stage, most recently the play “Salaryman”. “I was very impressed with the way Peel the Limelight had used the space and created an enticing atmosphere through a smart, creative production design. This is what I also teach my students – the endless possibilities of the theatrical imagination!” Satrawaha said. The Spark Drama studio is located on the 2nd floor of the Jasmine City Building, conveniently located a 5-minute walk off the MRT Sukhumvit and BTS Asoke stations. It hosted the Take Off Festival last year and has welcomed hundreds of aspiring actors to its drama classes.

Piangpaitoon herself teaches at the school along with acting coaches Romchat Tanalappipat and Keerati Siwakua. "Many of our Spark students have found their passion and expanded their horizons through our classes. Some have gone on to successful careers in the film and TV industries." Satrawaha explained.

Executive Producer Jaime Zuniga said, “We are very excited about our collaboration with Spark because it gives us the opportunity to produce a more intimate and honest theatre.” Originally from Nicaragua, Jaime burst onto the Asian theatre scene in 2011 with his colorful presentation of “The Importance of Being Earnest” in Ho Chi Minh City, where he co-founded Dragonfly Theatre Co. He relocated to Thailand in 2013 and co-founded P eel the Limelight with Peter O’Neill.

In May 2014, he appeared as Horst in their premiere production of “Bent” by Martin Sherman and last February in the role of Dougie in “Gruesome Playground Injuries” by Rajiv Joseph. “Our 2015/2016 season will be very unique in the theatre scene of Bangkok in the sense that we have curated a full season of shows that put the spotlight on women in extreme situations. All of these plays present us with strong female characters but each play and each character is totally different from the next one. Each production will be a radically new theatre going experience!” Zuniga explained.

“The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, the Ugliest Woman in the World”

This play made its Bangkok premiere last November. It tells the story of a poor Mexican woman born with a disfiguring genetic condition and sold as a child to be exhibited in freak shows around the world. Peel the Limelight’s production will be a sensory performance based on perception, discrimination and exploitation. The audience was blindfolded during the show.

The play is based on true events. During her lifetime, the real Julia Pastrana attracted the attention of influential people of her time such as P.T. Barnum and even Charles Darwin, who included her in his book “The Variation of Animal and Plants under Domestication”. In 2013, more than a century and a half after her death, Julia Pastrana was given a proper burial near her birthplace in Sinaloa, Mexico. A New York Times article credited Shaun Prendergast's play as the inspiration for the nearly decade-long campaign that had her repatriated from a locked storage room in an Oslo research institute.

The play was written by British actor and playwright Shaun Prendergast. A founder member of Sir Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company, he has also made appearances as a pantomime dame –described on his debut in the Daily Telegraph as 'the finest, funniest pantomime Dame in London. He has written extensively for the stage, television, radio and film.

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 Paula Vogel’s award-winning and Off-Broadway hit play “How I Learned to Drive”, offers Bangkok audiences yet another intimate and emotional theatrical experience.

“Li’l Bit has always felt like an outsider and no one in her dysfunctional family understands her, except Uncle Peck”, Artistic Director Peter O’Neill explained. “Set against the backdrop of a Driver’s Education course, this is a story of love and sexual experience before the age of consent”, he added.

“One of the most discomforting love stories to emerge from the American theatre”, according to the New York Times, and winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” confronts us with the cycle of abuse and challenges the audience to question whether “All roads lead back home”! The play had its Off-Broadway premiere at the Vineyard Theatre in 1997 and was revived at the Second Stage Theatre in 2012.

Directed by Peter O’Neill and produced by Jaime Zuniga, the production stars (in order of appearance) Siree Riewpaiboon (Li’l Bit), James Laver (Uncle Peck), Nick Gallagher (Greek Male Chorus), Mandi Manson (1st Female Greek Chorus), and Claire Stanley (2nd Female Greek Chorus), with sets and costumes by Kochawan Chayawan and sound design by Surasak Kerdsin.

“How I Learned to Drive” was written by American playwright and former chair of playwriting at Yale School of Drama, Paula Vogel. Her plays often deal with taboos and controversial subjects. She rose to fame with The Baltimore Waltz, a play inspired by the AIDS-related death of her brother Carl, which won her the Obie Award for Best Play in 1992. Other notable plays include Desdemona, A Play About A Handkerchief (1979), The Oldest Profession (1981), And Baby Makes Seven (1984), Hot 'N Throbbing (1994), and The Mineola Twins (1996).

Spark Drama is conveniently located a 5-minute walk from the MRT Sukhumvit and BTS Asoke stations, on the 2nd floor of the Jasmine City Building. It hosted Peel the Limelight’s productions of “Gruesome Playground Injuries” by Rajiv Joseph and “ The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, the Ugliest Woman in the World” by Shaun Prendergast last year.

The studio is run by the Spark School of Dramatic Arts and has welcomed hundreds of aspiring actors to its drama classes, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the film and TV industries. The School is led by acting coaches Piangpaitoon Satrawaha, Romchat Tanalappipat

Show Timetable
The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, the Ugliest Woman in the
World Shaun Prendergast - November 2015 (during the Bangkok Theatre Festival)
How I Learned to Drive Paula Vogel - March 2016
Agnes of God John Pielmeier - June 2016
The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams- September 2016

More information will be available at w ww.peelthelimelight.com and on the Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/peelthelimelightwww.facebook.com/spark.drama.

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