Photography and Text – Daniel Ehrlich
Published by Riverbooks Co., Ltd., Bangkok
Hardcover, 122 Pages, 11.4 x 11.4 inches
84 photographs
Introduction by Dr. Ward Keeler
ISBN 978 616733922 1

Backstage Mandalay will be released in the USA in March 2013.

Pre-release copies at the sticker price of $40 are available at this time for immediate delivery through the PayPal site here.

This book provides a glimpse under the curtain into the netherworld of the ancient Burmese performing arts. Backstage Mandalay reveals the private rituals of classical Burmese performers as they prepare for all-night festivals in the streets of upper Burma.

Myanmar (Burma) exists in a timewarp. The country is eighty-seven percent practicing Buddhist, studded with monasteries, pagodas, dirt-track roads, oxcarts and elegant villages much as they were when the West intruded little more than a century ago. The country is still farmed by water buffalo and its rituals remain true to their old-Asia form.

This little-visited country is now increasingly in the news. But tourism remains at very low levels and many regions of the country are strictly off limits. This book, in the form of a photo essay captures an insider’s view of a fragile and mystical aspect of Burmese culture.

The curtain is drawn to reveal the back-stage of the Burmese theater; a world populated by animist spirit media (nakadaws), monsters from the Ramayana Buddhist texts, princesses (minthami) and princes (mintha). We go behind the scenes to see the preparations of these performers as they travel around the towns and countryside between temporary bamboo stages constructed for all-night festivals.

With a forward by anthropologist Ward Keeler, this book is both a visual and informative testament to Burmese performing arts.

“This book will introduce you to an art from quintessentially Burmese and so little-known in the West. … Intimate and stunning photography of zat pwe artists in the minutes before their performance speaks volumes about Ehrlich’s ability to gain the artists’ confidence and put them at ease; … Literally brilliant imagery from within dark and cramped spaces.”Catherine Raymond, Director – Center for Burma Studies, Northern Illinois University

The Author:

Daniel J. Ehrlich is a photographer living in the Boston area. He has travelled frequently to Myanmar for more than two decades and goes by the Burmese name, “Bo Cha” (strong tea). He is also a well-known physicist and spent many years as a director of research laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is winner of the R.W. Wood prize for the most important invention in the field of optics (1991) and holds a faculty position at Boston University.

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