Inspired by campaigns promoting recycling to combat global warming, he says that culture has to be recycled as well.
Many might wonder why I would bring up a one-man show rather than talking about the current conflict over Khao Phra Wihan in Cambodia. However, I was drawn by the strong message of this piece and its thoughtful, but practical, approach.
I wonder how many Culture Ministry officials were in the sold-out audience for this "performance lecture". If there were a few in attendance, then perhaps his message might cause them to reconsider their notions of what culture should be about.
Pichet, 37, trained in classical khon dancing when he was 16 and went on to train in contemporary dance abroad. The khon maestro has made his mark on the world performance art scene and revitalised Thai dance by bringing in contemporary dance styles. He faced a struggle when he first began blending the high art of khon dancing with newer forms of dance. Some narrow-minded conservatives said that he was destroying our culture. More open-minded Thai and Western art enthusiasts embraced his brave attempt to bring the Thai art to an international audience.
He proved that old styles can be blended with new techniques while still preserving our heritage. His efforts won him the prestigious Silpathorn Artist award in 2006, presented by the Culture Ministry's Contemporary Art and Culture Office.
His latest effort, "Recycle" hit on an important point. He criticised "surface" campaigns on global warming, such as the push to carry cloth bags or saving energy by setting one's air-conditioning unit at 25C. Revolutions require serious action and, more importantly, the change has to come from our consciousness.
His 50-minute show comprised five scenes that played with the ideas of reconsider, rewind, reconstruction, refresh and recycle.
Forget about what we can see in a traditional mask dance. There were no mask dances. No delicate costumes. No live phi phat or traditional orchestra. No traditional backdrops. Physically, Pichet's show is minimalist, but mentally he takes a tough approach.
He took to the stage in casual dress - a colourful holiday T-shirt and white knee-length pants. The main prop was a tang, the big stool used in Thai dances, located in the centre of the stage. Lights set the mood against a black curtain backdrop. He also used a plastic meat box, a water container, a paper cup, rubber bands and cloth bags to directly narrate and provide a satirical interpretation of the global-warming issue for his second-last episode.
The show's opening scene focused on the theme of "Reconsider", with his message on global warming projected on stage: "Change cannot take place unless it comes from you."
Pichet then showed his talents as a classical khon dancer in the second scene, "Rewind". He did a classical khon dance to a traditional melody. This was followed by the next scene, "Reconstruction", which benefited from some remarkable choreography combining classical khon poses and modern steps with the melody rearranged and made contemporary on piano.
"Refresh" also conveyed Pichet's message by silently acting out everyday actions. Reflecting the truth of today's wasteful society, the dancer carried a red cloth bag onto stage, taking out snacks that he then threw away. After having thrown various items away, he then rethinks how these products can be reused. He shows how rubber bands that he had once used to kill insects can be made into exercise equipment.
Finally, Pichet concluded his performance with "Recycle" by returning to the stage and running around until he had no energy left, at which point he laid across the stool.
This was a multi-discipline performance. Pichet worked with professional music director Sinnapa Sarasas and young vocalist Sanchai Uae-Sin, who both brought life to traditional Thai songs by updating them with contemporary melodies. The beautiful tunes provided the perfect support for Pichet's masterpiece.
Although "Recycle" tried to communicate many messages, I hope audiences will adopt some of the show's ideas into their own lives.
Campaigns against global warming or cultural preservation efforts may turn out to be passing fashions. We wait for new trends and shortly thereafter forget about them. That is part of Thai culture.
As Pichet said, change should come from within. However, change that will lead to a more sustainable environment requires serious consideration and action.