ANCIENT ART: The HCM City-based Huỳnh Long Tuồng Troupe is helping to preserve and develop tuồng, a traditional genre of Vietnamese theatre which began in the 12th century. Photo courtesy of the theatre
HCM CITY — The Huỳnh Long Tuồng Troupe of HCM City will offer new shows of tuồng or hát bội (classical drama), a Vietnamese traditional theatre genre that originated in the 12th century, in central provinces from August 11 to 24.
The troupe will restage a series of three famous classics featuring historical events Thất Tinh Mai (Mai’s Love Story), Xử Án Phi Giao (Royal Trials) and Ngô Quyền Và Chiến Thắng Bạch Đằng Giang (Ngô Quyền and the Great Victory on Bạch Đằng River).
These plays highlight patriotism and loyalty and were written by late veteran artist Bạch Mai, the troupe’s founder.
Bạch Mai played a key role in the development of Vietnamese theatre, as she performed in 60 plays in tuồng and cải lương (reformed opera), a 100-year-old traditional genre of Vietnamese theatre in the South.
She wrote and directed dozens of tuồng plays, many of which won top prizes for best plays at national theatre contests and festivals.
Mai opened the Huỳnh Long Troupe in 2017. She died at age 74 after days of COVID-19 treatment in a hospital in HCM City last August.
Her troupe is now managed by her daughter, actress Bình Tinh, who has nearly 20 years of experience in cải lương.
ON THE ROAD: Actress Bình Tinh and her young actors from the Huỳnh Long Tuồng Troupe of HCM City will make a tour featuring tuồng shows in central provinces in August. Photo courtesy of the theatre
“My mom, Bạch Mai, hoped our young actors would preserve and bring tuồng closer to young audiences," said Tinh, the troupe’s head and art director.
“We offer quality shows with images, sounds and music, that provide young audiences with wonderful insights about their history, traditional culture and theatre,” she said.
According to Tinh, the Huỳnh Long Tuồng Troupe offers performances every Sunday at 144 Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street in Bình Thạnh District.
“We are facing difficulties providing a stable income to our staff of around 30 actors, mostly graduates from leading art schools in the city and neighbouring provinces.”
“However, we love to stage traditional theatre and want to preserve it. We have never stopped developing the industry in a professional way,” she said.
For their tour to central provinces, Tinh and her staff are working to add modern styles to tuồng to meet the taste of young audiences. She also uses young talents to play leading roles.
Huỳnh Long actors will offer 16 shows in the provinces of Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi and Bình Định, and Đà Nẵng city. In Quảng Nam, they will travel to offer their art for people living in rural areas. — VNS