Artists from the Việt Nam Tuồng Theatre will perform at the China-ASEAN Theatre Festival and Forum in Nanning in China’s Guangxi Province on November 27. They will introduce tuồng or hát bội (classical drama), a unique Vietnamese art that developed from a folk art into a royal art in the 17th century. Photo courtesy of the theatre
HCM CITY — Artists from the Việt Nam Tuồng Theatre will perform at the China-ASEAN Theatre Festival and Forum, which opens in Nanning in China’s Guangxi Province on November 27.
They will introduce tuồng or hát bội (classical drama), a unique Vietnamese art that developed from a folk art into a royal art in the 17th century.
They will stage Thoại Khanh – Châu Tuấn (Husband and Wife), a famous play featuring love and piety based on folk stories from the central provinces. It was first released in 1957 and has been restaged many times by artists from leading theatres in the country.
“We hope foreign audiences will learn about Việt Nam’s history, culture and lifestyle from the play,”said Phạm Ngọc Tuấn, director of the Việt Nam Tuồng Theatre.
“The China–ASEAN Theatre Festival and Forum is a chance for our actors, particularly young talents, to perform and share skills and experiences.”
Tuồng consists of singing and dancing accompanied by music, and is highly stylised and filled with symbolism. Its themes include monarchist loyalty and patriotism which help define the play’s structure, language, music, struggles, and characters' personalities.
Artists often wear heavy costumes weighing up to 10 kilos. They use their body, from the fingers to the elbows to all of the muscles, to move on stage. They sing and dance at the same time while expressing the emotions of the characters.
Famous plays, such as Trần Bình Trọng Tuẫn Tiết (National Hero Trần Bình Trọng), Hồ Nguyệt Cô Hoá Cáo (Nguyệt Cô Turning into a Fox) and San Hậu (The Reign), feature historical events and national heroes.
Skilled performers, such as People’s Artist Đinh Bằng Phi and Meritorious Artist Hữu Danh, who have decades of experience, are still working hard to honour tuồng and keep traditional Vietnamese theatre alive.
In recent years, cultural authorities have offered new policies and projects to help tuồng artists expand their art.
Việt Nam first participated in the annual China-ASEAN Theatre Festival and Forum in 2013 and introduced outstanding performances in tuồng, cải lương (reformed opera) and chèo (traditional opera) and Vietnamese drama.
This year, the festival has attracted several leading art troups from ASEAN countries and China. The event will close on December 2. — VNS