Industry lacks theatrical scripts, say experts

June 20, 2024 - 08:02
The theatre industry lacks quality scripts that meet the demand of young people, say experts from the HCM City Theatre Association.
FRESH IDEAS: Young artists in HCM City offer drama performances with new concepts and techniques. Photo courtesy of Sen Việt Drama Stage

HCM CITY — The theatre industry lacks quality scripts that meet the demands of young people, say experts from the HCM City Theatre Association.

“Although the number of skilled and professional writers has increased in recent years, we are have few in theatre,” said theatre director Tôn Thất Cần at a camp for theatre scriptwriters organised by the association in Ninh Thuận Province last week.

The camp included young authors and veteran directors and scriptwriters from drama stages and theatres in the region, and cultural authorities as well.

It also included a seminar highlighting the role of scriptwriters in promoting the development of Vietnamese theatre. Training in art schools, and universities and colleges in cinema and theatre were also discussed.

Cần shared his experience on how to encourage and help young writers involve in creating good scripts for theatre, espeically traditional theatre such as cải lương (reformed opera) and tuồng (classical drama). He has been successful as a director and scriptwriter, and also is the association’s deputy chairman.

He suggested the association should open more writing camps that target young artists. These camps should be managed by well-known scriptwriters, directors and producers who train the participants to write dramas that meet the style of each stage.

“We should offer new solutions to develop our industry,” said Cần.

In recent years, many theatre plays have repeatedly been re-introduced on stage in HCM City and southern provinces.

Cải lương performances, for example, have been performed again and again, including famous plays written by cải lương gurus such as late artists Trần Hữu Trang, Hải Triều-Hoa Phượng and Viễn Châu.

Due to a lack of quality scripts, producers have chosen to reboot old plays staged in the 1950s-70s. They are willing to use old scripts as that is considered to be the only solution to keep the theatre alive.

Despite audience support for these performances, relying on old scripts should only be a temporary solution, according to People’s Artist and theatre director Trần Ngọc Giàu.

“Young playwrights haven't written about contemporary cultural and artistic life. They need help from theatre experts to improve their writing,” he said.

According to the People’s Artist, theatre director and actress Trịnh Kim Chi of the private TKC Drama Stage, cultural authorities need to come up with long-term solutions to help change the industry. “They should work with relevant agencies to build a human resources plan for theatre,” she said.

“Writers with potential should receive sufficient training and stronger support from theatres to produce quality plays,” added Chi.

Chi’s theatre offers Khát Vọng Ngày Mai (Aspiration for the Future), a new drama play with new concepts and techniques this month.

The 120-minute show features a group of young engineers and workers in HCM City who are helping to build the first train for the city’s Metro Line No. 1 from Bến Thành Market in District 1 to Suối Tiên Theme Park in District 9.

The play’s script is written by young artist Trần Văn Hưng of HCM City.

It won first prize for best drama script at a national writing contest launched by the HCM City Theatre Association in co-operation with HCM City Writers’ Association. — VNS