Sunday, July 12 2020


A new twist on an old art

Update: February, 18/2011 - 09:24

HCM CITY — Tran Huu Trang Theatre's cai luong (reformed theatre) shows offered old stories in a modern style for HCM City theatre fans during Tet (Lunar New Year).

One of the shows featuring the play Da Chien Pha Song Ngan (Fighting on the Ngan River) describes parents' love and sacrifices for their children.

The work, written by Nam Chau, has been staged many times, attracting veteran performers such as Thanh Sang, Kim Tu Long and Phuong Lien.

In the version rewritten by Nguyen Thanh Chau, Tran Huu Trang invited young director Vu Minh to offer something new for fans.

Minh asked his young actors, including Trinh Trinh, Vo Minh Lam, Thanh Loan and Hoøng Quyen, to work hard to create a new style of cai luong singing and dancing.

He used beautiful clothes as well as light and sound effects to dazzle audiences.

"During the previous Tet, we often staged plays featuring social problems in a modern style to meet young fans' demands," said Phan Quoc Hung, director of the theatre.

"But this year we decided to provide a very old style of cai luong helping youth discover the music's nature," he said.

The VND500 million (US$22,000) play's financial success showed that Hung and others had made a wise decision.

During the Tet holiday, several thousand people visited District 5's Thu Do Theatre to discover the beauty of cai luong. The tickets have sold out for the next month.

In District 1, Kim Chau Stage introduced a series of extracts from famous plays like Hoa Moc Lan Tong Chinh (Mulan Enlists in the Army).

The play, directed by Tran Ngoc Giau, featured cai luong stars Vu Luan, Tu Suong and Thanh Thanh Tam.

Luan and his younger colleagues also performed Ong Tao (Kitchen God), a comedy featuring dances and songs based on traditional legends.

"We will travel to remote areas in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta region to stage our shows next week because we want to entertain poor farmers and children who have fewer entertainment choices than their urban counterparts," said Luan, one of the city's most talented performers.

"Most of our shows in the city offer tickets at VND150,000- 500,000 each. They cost only VND10,000 for people who live in rural areas," he said.

Like other traditional art troupes, Hung's theatre receives about VND1 billion from the Government to run the company.

"We face many challenges in offering a stable income to our performers and staging quality plays," Hung said.

He said he hoped that local companies and organisations would offer more financial support to the city's traditional music troupes. — VNS

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