Except for three men, all the characters in a Mak Yong are played by women.
It is the main dancer, called Mak Yong who develops the story which usually about legendary princes and princesses from tales of Old handed down by word of mouth.
The Mak Yong is supported by a cast of 16 performers and backed by a traditional music
ensemble consisting of gongs, drums and rebab. Music and melody add colour to the dance. There are always at least 2 ‘clowns’ – the peran who are continuously beaten with a short bamboo cane by the lead actor.
Their make-up is very distinct especially around the eyes.