Private tuồng troupe’s shows target children

August 05, 2023 - 10:38
The Đồng Ấu Bạch Long Troupe of HCM City is working to target chidren with new performances of tuồng (classical drama), a Vietnamese traditional theatre genre that originated in the 12th century.
YOUNG TALENT - Young artists from private Đồng Ấu Bạch Long Troupe are helping to preserve and develop tuồng, a traditional genre of Vietnamese theatre which began in the 12th century. Photo courtesy of the theatre.

By Thu Anh

HCM CITY— The Đồng Ấu Bạch Long Troupe of HCM City is working to target children with new performances of tuồng (classical drama), a Vietnamese traditional theatre genre that originated in the 12th century.

The troupe’s young artists offer shows based on Vietnamese fairy tales and folk stories.

Three and four-act plays featuring historical events under different dynasties are also included.

Highlighted shows include Trần Quốc Toản Ra Quân (Young Hero Trần Quốc Toản in the Battle) and Cóc Kiện Trời (The Toad Sues the God for Rain).

The play Trần Quốc Toản Ra Quân portrays young hero Trần Quốc Toản of the Trần Dynasty - who was 16 and well known for his active role in the war of resistance of Đại Việt (now Việt Nam) against the Mongol invasion in 1282.

Cóc Kiện Trời is a production that combines musical elements and cải lương - a 100-year-old traditional genre of theatre in the South.

It tells a story of a little toad who goes to heaven in order to sue God to make rain to save animals living in a drought.

The two works highlight trust, sharing, understanding, bravery and patriotism.

They attracted young actors Khánh Liên, Gia Lâm and Thanh Dư.

Aside from performing, the artists also speak to the audiences with question and answer sessions.

VETERAN PERFORMER - Theatre actor, director and producer Bạch Long (right) has more than 40 years performing and spreading tuồng among young audiences. Photo courtesy of the theatre.

“Our new shows provide young audiences with beautiful images, sounds and music,” said the troupe’s founder, art director and actor Bạch Long. “We hope to bring the country’s traditional art forms closer to children and teenagers.”

Đồng Âu Bạch Long Troupe, which opened in 1992, is composed of 15 skilled actors, mostly graduates of leading art schools in the city and neighbouring provinces.

The theatre has a group of 11 young actors, aged from six to 16 years old, who study at training courses offered by leading artists.

Its founder, Long, closed his troupe in 2010, unable to sustain it financially in the new entertainment market. He reopened his troupe last year.

CLASSIC ART - Tuồng consists of singing and dancing accompanied by music, and is highly stylised and filled with symbolism. Photo courtesy of HCM City Tuồng Theatre.

“We will help young talents to develop their career, while bringing tuồng with new concepts to young audiences,” said Long, who has 40 years of experience in the industry.

Tuồng consists of singing and dancing accompanied by music, and is highly stylised and filled with symbolism.

The art highlights themes of monarchist loyalty and patriotism, which help define the play’s structure, language, music, and characters' personalities.

Tuồng artists perform in traditional costumes weighing up to several 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, and express the emotions of the characters.

Đồng Ấu Bạch Long Troupe offers performances on weekends at Nón Lá Theatre, 55B Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street in District 3.— VNS