Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — HCM City’s Trần Hữu Trang Theatre will stage a series of new cải lương (reformed drama) shows to reopen its art centre, the Hưng Đạo Cải Lương Centre, after three years of renovation.
New plays include Hiu Hiu Gió Bấc (North-Easterly Wind Puffing Lightly) and Đời Như Ý (Life Goes On), both starring the theatre’s young talents Lê Tứ, Võ Minh Luân, Nhã Thi and Lê Hồng Thắm.
These works feature young people and their problems in modern life.
“We began to hire staff and investment for these special shows early this year,” said People’s Artist Trần Ngọc Giàu, director of Trần Hữu Trang Theatre, the region’s leading cải lương theatre, which was named under late playwright Trần Hữu Trang, a canon of cải lương.
“Our performances will be staged with sound and visual effects to lure young audiences back to cải lương,” he said.
According to Giàu, famous plays like Đời Cô Lựu (Ms Lựu’s Life), one of Trang’s most popular plays first staged in the 1930s by cải lương pioneers Năm Châu, Phùng Há and Út Trà Ôn, will also be restaged.
“We decided to restage Trang’s plays because his works portray Vietnamese woman, and their challenges and sufferings under feudal society in the south. Though he has passed away, his art is still alive among Vietnamese audiences, particularly southerners," he said
Trang was born in 1906 to a farming family in Chợ Gạo of Mỹ Tho Province (now Tiền Giang).
He began his theatrical career in 1928, working for leading troupes owned by Năm Phỉ and Năm Châu, great veterans of cải lương.
In the 1930s, Trang was at the peak of his artistry and fame, trying to put his new ideas in serious plays such Tìm Hạnh Phúc (Seeking Happiness), Lan Và Điệp (Love Story of Lan and Điệp) and Khi Người Điên Biết Yêu (When the Madman Loves).
After the August Revolution in 1945, Trang joined the resistance against the French and worked in Sài Gòn-Chợ Lớn. He was a member of the National Front for the Liberation of the South.
He died in 1966 in battle. His body has never been found.
Trang created more than 30 works and all feature Vietnamese characteristics. Most of them have been recognised as canonical cải lương and have been staged many times by different generations at home and abroad.
For his contributions, he was posthumously awarded the Hồ Chí Minh Prize by the Government in 1996.
The renovation of the 600-seat Hưng Đạo Cải Lương Centre was funded by the city government’s budget under the efforts of local authorities to preserve cải lương in recent years.
New shows will be staged every weekend from May 20 at the centre at 136 Trần Hưng Đạo Street in District 1. Tickets range from VNĐ100,000 to 200,000 (US$4.5 to 9) and are available at the box office—VNS