In Thailand the traditional theatre is characterised by highly colourful story telling.
These photographs show the classical khon dance-drama troupes, enacting the Ramakein composed in the days of Rama II, in the first quarter of the 19th century, and based on the Indian classical saga, the Ramayana.
The Ramakein from a painting at the Royal Palace
The Hanuman or White Monkey God
Originally most of the troupe were girls, as these complex dramas were performed in the inner court of the Royal Palace, where no men were allowed.
Today young men also take part, especially in such athletic roles as the Hanuman or white monkey god.
The khon, born in the Royal Palaces, and for centuries only performed there, is today largely confined to performances at the National Theatre in Bangkok.
The general public are mostly treated to performances of the lakhon, which uses no masks and is somewhat less stylized, and the likay which relies heavily on pitfalls and bawdy lyrics.
A prominent feature of almost every Thai fair the likay fills a role very much like the folk songs or dances of the west.
In the early evening family humour is the theme, but once the children are at home the tone becomes much more earthy, keeping the audience wide awake and laughing until well into the early hours of the morning.
Modern Thai humour is very much based on the likay and can be seen nightly on Thai television.