|A scene of Ma Luc Kinh Hoang (Supernatural Force).— Photo thegioisaoteen
HCM CITY (VNS) — Drama enthusiasts in HCM City have never had it so good. With 20 new plays staged by seven theatres running three shows per day during the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival, they are spoiled for choice.
Comic shows are some of the most popular on offer, with comedians plying their trade at no fewer that three venues downtown: Phu Nhuan Stage Club, IDECAF and The Gioi Tre (The Young World).
Phu Nhuan Stage Club is one of the busiest night spots in the city. Three of the sketches performed at the club, Yeu Gio Chot (Last Minute Love), Ma Luc Kinh Hoang (Supernatural Force) and Hu Hon (Playing Games), have attracted large audiences and the tickets are sold out for the coming week.
More sober entertainment is on offer at IDECAF. The theatre has a preference for traditional stories from the south like Linh Vat Hoang Trieu (Royal Treasure) and Chiec Vong Gia Bao (Family Jewel).
But some have criticised the theatre, saying its recent comedy performances illustrate the fact that it too has sold its soul to commercialism.
"These comedies are not what the IDECAF is known for," said drama critic Hoang Thuan.
Comodian Thanh Loc, art director of the IDECAF, has a different idea, saying: "People want to be entertained and forget their problems after a year of hard work so we try to make them laugh during Tet."
The Gioi Tre Theatre, founded four years ago, is known for its performances of serious plays like Bi Mat Nha Xac (The Secret of the Mortuary) and Me Oi (Mum), which focus on the trials and tribulations of daily life. But it changed its tune to meet the taste of audiences at Tet.
The theatre invited veteran comics like Hoai Linh and Minh Nhi to the stage, as well as younger actors well known for their roles in sentimental plays. Despite this they were excied by the prospect of doing something different and accepted the invitation to perform in comedies.
For cai luong (reformed opera) fans, artists from the Tran Huu Trang Theatre performed extracts from popular operas such as Huyen Thoai Me (The Legend of Mother) and Ngao, So, Oc, Hen (The Stories of the Clam, Oyster, Snail, Mussel) during every night of the Tet festival.
As in previous years, the theatre selected historical plays during the Tet season staged by renowned artists like Tu Suong and Kim Tu Long, providing a veritable feast for cai luong lovers.
"Tet is also the time for people, especially youngsters, to look back, remember and improve their knowledge about the country's history, traditional culture and lifestyles," said Nguyen Van Tham, director of the Cu Chi District's Cultural House, a partner of the theatre.
Tham and his staff have worked hard to offer free cai luong shows for local residents.
Last weekend, the young actors and dancers from the Tran Huu Trang Theatre began their run of performances giving several thousand rural fans a treat of sound and light on a modern stage at open-air concerts.
"As is our tradition, we always travel to rural areas because we want to create a happy and peaceful Tet ambience for people who appreciates traditional art forms but are rarely able to enjoy them," said young actor Nguyen Van Doi.
The free shows will continue until February 15 at various district cultural houses. — VNS