Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – The first collaborative stage work by Japanese Edo Marionette Theatre Youkiza and the Việt Nam Youth Theatre will debut in Hà Nội tonight.
The work, entitled Poisoned Wild Duck, is based on Norwegian Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck from 1884, and will be performed by marionette artists from Japan and People’s Artist Lê Khanh and actor Thanh Bình.
It is a result of a project between the two theatres which received financial support from The Japan Foundation Asia Centre and the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture.
The work will be directed by Sakate Yoji from Japan who will be working with the Marionette Theatre Youkiza for the first time.
“I chose Ibsen’s The Wild Duck by chance not for any special reason. I met Vietnamese actress Lê Khanh at the first phase of the project and thought she would be fit for one of main roles in the work,” said director Sakate.
“In the play, the hunter uses lead bullets which cause serious environmental pollution. Accidentally, I know that the central coastal areas of Việt Nam are polluted. The old story will convey a message of the natural environment to today’s spectators.”
In Poisoned Wild Duck, a funeral procession carries a coffin of a little girl who killed herself.
It is shown wandering in a forest in search of a burial site. The story is traced by the members of the procession, all looking back on the events which lead to the death of the injured creature and other wild creatures dying by human tyranny, such as lead poisoning and hunting. The play attempts to contrast natural scenes with the damages caused by humans.
Plays involving marionettes and actors are popular in Japan but it is rare in Việt Nam to see a performance combining these two theatrical techniques.
Lê Khanh and Thanh Bình will act with marionettes controlled by Japanese artists.
The actresses and some members of Việt Nam Youth Theatre had a chance to observe rehearsals and performances by the Youkiza Theatre in 2014 under the Japan Foundation Training Programme.
She was deeply impressed by the fusion of the 380-year-old tradition and contemporary theatre and had a strong desire for the Youth Theatre to collaborate with the Youkiza.
“We wanted not only to learn and get experiences from a Japanese theatre but also desired to put on a stage work,” said actress Lê Khanh.
Poisoned Wild Duck was performed at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre from March 16 to 21, gaining high acclaim from Japanese art critics and artists.
Twenty-five members including puppeteers and stage technicians led by Youkiza Theatre director artist Yuki Magsaburo came to Hà Nội’s performances.
The director is 12th generation Magsaburo, whose ancestor founded Youkiza Theatre in 1635.
Today’s Youkiza continues to be active, preserving traditional marionette repertory and skills, as well as performing new plays and magic lantern shows, touring aboard and holding international projects.
“It will be an interesting stage work for spectators. I hope the joint play will be performed many times not only a few,” said director Magsaburo.
The play will take place at Việt Nam Youth Theatre, 11 Ngô Thì Nhậm on May 13, 14 and 15 and in the Opera House in the northern city of Hải Phòng on May 17.
Free tickets can be picked up at Japan Foundation, 27 Quang Trung Street. – VNS