|Young comic actress Thu Trang (midle) of the drama troupe The Gioi Tre Stage. — VNS Photo
HCM CITY (VNS) — A sofa and dressing table topped with roses were part of a stunning stage backdrop for a romantic play staged recently in HCM City by the The Gioi Tre (The World of Youth) Drama Troupe.
Since its initial show in 2014, the play Chuyen Tinh Bangkok (Love Story in Bangkok) has been performed 150 times. On January 31, about 120 people, mostly young, cried and laughed as they watched the play at the theatre's location at 125 Cong Quynh Street in District 1.
Though the play was about a well-worn topic, love, it brought new messages and included new concepts for the theatre.
Many in the audience were focused on the young actors, but were also interested in the man behind the show, renowned director Ngoc Hung.
Hung, a reporter, theatre writer and director, had the audience spellbound during and after the performance.
"I have a deep passion for the art of drama. I have worked as a cultural reporter and columnist for newspapers and magazines aimed at youth like Muc Tim (Purple Ink) and Dat Mui Cuoi Tuan (Ca Mau Weekly)."
"After being involved in management, I began to understand how knowledge and experience in my reporting have helped enhance my ability on both stage and business," he said, referring to his migration to the stage in 2009 when he and his partner, a businessman, formed his troupe.
"A stage is a channel for dreams. A director should be a mason building his own house," he had said after celebrating the sixth birthday of his troupe on New Year's Day.
To mark the day, his troupe staged the musical play, Trot Yeu (Love), which examines social problems in an urban setting.
Hung uses both Eastern and Western styles. "I dreamed of owning a theatre even as a student at university," he said.
"I wanted to write and direct plays on stage filled with light, sound and visual effects," he has said in past interviews with the press.
A graduate of the city's University of Theatre and Cinematography in 2004 in directing, he worked as a director at his school's theatre.
"Our theatre was a place for young actors to improve their skills at school. We offered tickets for only VND15,000 (US$0.7) to attract audiences," he recalled.
In 2006, he and female author Nguyen Thu Phuong opened Tao Dan Drama Troupe. A year later, their troupe failed to attract audiences and had to close.
"We could be the best in theatre, but were nothing in doing business," said Hung, adding that he refused to give up, despite the failure.
Today, the The Gioi Tre troupe is one of the city's leading private drama troupes. It has offered dozens of quality plays and has been able to earn profits.
Young audiences have enjoyed his plays based on conflicts in life and love such as Chuyen Tinh Bangkok, Dream Boys, Hoa Hon (Painted Soul) and Trai Yeu (Men in Love).
His comedies include Cong Me Di Choi (Carrying Mom on Your Back for Travelling) and Doi Nhu Y (Such is Life).
Most of his works are stories about urban youth. They have helped young actors like Thu Trang, Hoang Phi, Kha Nhu and Anh Tu become popular among theatre lovers.
Training through performing is another feather in Hung's cap.
His troupe uses only students and graduates from art schools.
"I'm very interested in working with young actors. Some of them will be new stars, so they need help from professionals like me," Hung said. — VNS