|When tragicomedy strikes: Actor Hong Quang Minh (centre) and his young staff perform in the cai luong play Trang Lam Quan, which will take place at the 2015 National Cai Luong Festival in Bac Lieu Province next month. — File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS) — Young actors from the private drama troupe Sao Minh Beo of HCM City are preparing to take part in the 2015 National Cai Luong (Reformed Opera) Festival in Bac Lieu Province.
The artists will stage Trang Lam Quan (Head of the Village), a tragicomedy based on the popular Vietnamese series titled Trang Quynh (A legendary wit living in the 18th century).
The play is produced by the troupe's owner Hong Quang Minh, also known as Minh Beo, one of the city's most talented comedians.
Directed by Meritorious Artist Pham Do Ky, it tells the life of a young man who leads his villagers against landowners.
"Our play borrows old stories to highlight social issues of today," said artist Minh. "We are nervous about performing Trang Lam Quan because it's funny but also contains valuable lessons," he said.
Minh invested VND500 million (US$22,000) for the costumes and sound and light effects.
Instead of recorded music, he uses a group of skilled musicians who perform on stage.
He also invited 60 students from theatres and drama clubs to accompany his troupe's 20 actors.
"I wanted to use amateurs because they make the play fresh. My two-year-old troupe brings students closer to the art," Minh said.
Before investing in the play, Minh researched the taste of audiences in the city, discovering that cai luong is still popular.
"Our problem is how to produce a quality play meeting audiences' requirements, especially young people," he said.
In Trang Lam Quan, Minh performs 20 vong co (nostalgia songs) and folk songs. He has worked several hours a day to improve his singing and dancing skills.
"I'm a fan of cai luong. For me, all my plays are a big challenge. I'm very involved in the role because I don't want to disappoint my audience," he said.
"We joined the festival in the hopes that our troupe will be recognised as a professional theatre. By having this troupe, I can give my young staff the opportunity to develop their techniques and ways of emotional expression."
Trang Lam Quan will be staged in HCM City on weekend nights in the 179AB Binh Thoi Residential Area in District 11, before being performed at the festival next month. — VNS