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Young directors missing as curtains rise on new season

Update: December, 03/2014 - 08:10

HCM CITY (VNS) — Veteran theatre directors in HCM City this month are busy preparing for the upcoming Christmas and New Year holiday by offering new shows.

The directors are familiar to audiences and their name is a guarantee for the show's financial success.

Most state-owned and private theatre troupes have decided to use veterans, such as Tran Ngoc Giau, Huynh Nga and Huu Quoc, in leading roles.

"Despite their talents, young directors have no chance to perform in art troupes or in professional theatre competitions and festivals," said Quoc Kiet, a young director of Tran Huu Trang Theatre, who offers new works in cai luong (reformed opera).

His troupe used veteran director Giau to stage Co Tich Thoi Hien Dai (Legend of Modern Life) and Rong Phuong (Dragon-Phoenix), both of which won the best work for cai luong category in national theatre festivals in 2010 and 2005.

The theatre has also used Giau for a series of hit plays about social problems in recent years. Their co-operation has helped the theatre make a profit from ticket sales.

With such success, it is not surprising that Tran Huu Trang wanted Giau again for this season. But it is perhaps excessive that three other art troupes in the city have asked for his help in their shows as well.

"I have no doubts about Giau's skills," said Kiet. "But I don't think, at the same time, Giau can perfect his ideas to develop the art in different styles staged by numerous artists."

"But traditional theatre retains a monopoly in the market, because troupes give a priority to earning medals and profits over reaching new artistic heights," he said.

Renowned actor-director Thanh Loc, of the IDECAF Drama Troupe, said: "Many troupes like to serve the taste of audiences instead of showing something new. This is too boring for theatre lovers.".

The 51-year-old artist said that he and some of his younger colleagues wanted to "break the traditional rules. But I'm sure our way is away from the troupes' requirements".

Loc is not interested in participating in big festivals, even though it could bring him much publicity, because "organisers and juries include of a group of veteran artists who usually refuse new ways of staging by young directors".

And that's bad news for the theatre.

"Without a performance of young directors, I think theatre will attract a much smaller audience," said Hoa Ha, a member of the HCM City Theatre Association.

Ha said troupes need to use their young staff, who work hard bringing their visions and creative inspirations to the stage.

"Our theatre should provide all artists, both old and young, with as many chances to perform," he said.

Ha and some of his peers have been invited by Tran Huu Trang to participate in a three-year project that will train theatre directors.

The project aimed to train 20 directors under 40 years old and will begin next year.

"In order to fully develop the country's theatre potential, cultural authorities should try harder to support young artists. Our stage needs artists with new styles who can push performances to new levels," he said. — VNS

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