dance piece explores themes of gender, sexuality
|Lady boys: A
scene from Stereo Man is performed by artists from the Youth
Theatre. — File Photo
HA NOI — There is a
woman in every man and a man in every woman, says dancer and choreographer Nhu
Lai, explaining the theme and universal appeal of his show Stereo Man, as
performers from the Ha Noi-based Youth Theatre prepare to take the show on
which has already been performed in Thailand and in cities around the northern
region, is about to make a tour of 20 colleges and universities in
central and southern Viet Nam.
The show was
developed by Lai out of a workshop of the Philippine Educational Theatre
Association (PETA), offered to the six countries in the sub-Mekong River region.
"During the workshop,
we did many exercises about social issues, like gender, drugs, HIV/AIDS, and
others. Stereo Man is one of them," said Lai.
is a dance piece performed by five male dancers that tells multiple stories. One
is the story of a young man dealing with the consequences of an error he has
made in the past. He is now isolated from society due to an HIV infection, and
he suffers both mentally and physically.
Meanwhile, another man is
ostracised because he wants to become a woman.
Each of the performers
begins the piece sitting separately in red chairs which are the only props on
the stage. With quick movements, the dancers express the thoughts and desires of
Last year, with the
assistance of the PETA and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Youth Theatre put on
free shows of Stereo Man for students at eight universities and colleges
in Ha Noi, Hai Phong and Thai Nguyen.
"Our artists were
welcomed at the colleges and universities. We also invited psychologists to
speak with the students," said Youth Theatre deputy director Truong Nhuan.
issues and the inner life of each man were staged convincingly by the
director," said one female audience member after the performance at the Ha
Noi Industrial Fine Arts College. "The dancers did well to help me see the
inner world of gay people. The performance touched me."
Now, with assistance from
the Ford Foundation, the theatre will perform Stereo Man at 20
universities and colleges in HCM City, Vung Tau, Da Lat, Nha Trang and Da Nang
between December 9 and January 6. Stereo Man will return to Ha Noi, where
it will be performed at the Youth Theatre and Ha Noi Opera House.
According to PETA, the
performers may shortly be invited to perform in India. — VNS