Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – The Việt Nam Cải Lương Theatre will attend the China-ASEAN Theatre Festival, performing a cải lương show for the first time, in Nanning, Guangxi, from September 17 to 23.
Vietnamese artists will perform the Cung Phi Điểm Bích (Concubine Điểm Bích) cải lương (reformed opera) at the festival.
“The organisers are paying attention to the cải lương performance because it is the first time the Vietnamese cải lương is being presented at the festival,” director Hoàng Quỳnh Mai said.
“At the previous festivals, besides modern drama and puppetry, Vietnamese chèo (popular opera) was presented,” she added.
Cải lương is a form of modern folk opera, particularly famous in southern Việt Nam. It is the convergence of southern Vietnamese folk songs, classical music, tuồng (traditional opera) and modern spoken drama.
Director Mai has shortened the two-hour performance to 70 minutes and restructured it to make the performance easier for international spectators at the festival to understand.
This act made its debut at a national competition for young theatre directors in 2007. Director Mai was awarded the first prize at the National Competition of Theatrical Talented Young Directors in 2007 for this performance.
A new team has been cast for the festival. Young actress Đoàn Hoa Mai will enact the role of concubine Điểm Bích.
“It is a little bit of pressure for me because Điểm Bích’s role was performed successfully by veteran Thanh Thanh Hiền earlier,” Hoa Mai said. “I have dreamed about enacting the role of Điểm Bích. I will put my heart and soul into the role.”
Concubine Điểm Bích tells the story of an officer in the court of a 13th century king, Trần Thánh Tông, who gave up his position, office and title to become a monk, named Huyền Quang, and lead a religious life.
Sceptical of his former officer’s religious devotion, the king sent Điểm Bích, an imperial concubine and talented artist disguised as a country girl, to the Hoa Yên Pagoda on Yên Tử Mountain to tempt the monk.
Another theatre work, Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang (Night Drumbeats for an Absent Husband) will also be staged at the festival by the Việt Nam Cải Lương Theatre. The work was written in 1919 by well-known composer Cao Văn Lầu, a native of the Mekong Delta province of Bạc Liêu.
The song recreates the love, anguish and pride of a young woman watching her husband fight for the country.
“I think the festival will be a good opportunity for young actors to share and exchange acting experiences,” the director said. “We are eager to go to the festival where many artists from Asean countries will gather."
Vietnamese artists from the Việt Nam Tuồng Theatre will also present an extract from Nghêu, Sò, Ốc, Hến old tuồng (classical opera) at the festival.
In addition, the festival will see Vietnamese traditional water puppetry by the Việt Nam Puppetry Theatre and the drama Sand Castle by the Việt Nam National Drama Theatre.
The festival is considered to be the start of the long-term cooperation and cultural exchange between China and the Asean nations. -- VNS