Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Dara Theater - Trad, Thailand

There's something about the Dara Theater. It's hard to say exactly what it is, but something about it, as it stands today - all weathered and soot stained and forgotten - that places it not only from another time period, but from another world altogether. The Thailand of today, so absorbed in consumerism, distracted by smart phones and gadgetry and completely beholden to the car or motorbike for movement, seems as if it would have never had time to waste on such a building.

Street view of the Dara Theater

Tropical mid-century modernism at its finest. The Dara Theater hovers delicately beside the road. Its mounted marquee, appearing perky and weightless, sits atop an equally weightless looking portico. 

The Dara as viewed from an adjacent roof top.

Even in a relatively small town like Trad, the Dara Theater seems like a structure that only an alien race would have erected. A temple to the gods of cinema, perhaps. Genuflections before the alter of the silver screen. 

And that hypothetical extra terrestrial race whom brought it forth  was led by the same man who brought forth a number of other theaters in Bangkok and Eastern Thailand. Mr. Somphong Chotiwan; who, it should be noted, will be playing a role in the resurrection of Thailand's oldest existing movie theater - The Nang Loeng, in Bangkok.

The front staircase fans out and down; a welcoming entrance to a world of cinema no-more.

A bit of bowed pizzazz in the form of  concrete visor above the ticket window.

Funky ticket window.

The funny thing about the the Dara is that it isn't more than 40 years old. And it only closed about 16 years ago, to boot. 

Oh how quickly things in Thailand have changed.

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