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Classic cải lương play to be restaged in HCM City

Update: April, 12/2018 - 09:00
Celebration: Meritorious Artist Phượng Loan will perform in Thái Hậu Dương Vân Nga, a historical play first staged in HCM City in 1978. It will be restaged in a new version by female theatre director Hoa Hạ in HCM City to celebrate 100 years of cải lương. (Photo courtesy of producer)
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY – The historical play Thái Hậu Dương Vân Nga (Queen Mother Dương Vân Nga) by famous scriptwriters Hoa Phượng and Chi Lăng will be restaged in a new version to celebrate 100 years of cải lương (reformed opera).

The 120-minute play portrays the life of Dương Vân Nga, who served as Queen Regent of the Đinh Dynasty after her husband, Đinh Tiên Hoàng, was assassinated in 979 and when her son was six years old.

She later decided to cede the Đinh Dynasty’s throne to General Lê Hoàn in 980 in order to defend the country before the invasion of members of the Song Dynasty. Lê Hoàn led his army to win the Song invasion in 981.

Lê Hoàn later became the first emperor of the Early Lê Dynasty, named Lê Đại Hành.

He gave Nga the title of empress Đại Thắng Minh. Nga was the first queen in  Việt Nam who had married to two emperors. Nga died in 1000.

Today, Emperor Lê Đại Hành and Nga are worshipped in the Temple of Lê Đại Hành in Hoa Lư Ancient Citadel, now Hoa Lư District in Ninh Bình Province.

The temple is located next to the tomb of Emperor Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Nga’s first husband.    

Nga’s life has received mixed opinions from people of different generations.

She is an endless source of passion for many authors and artists, and appears in many paintings, novels and plays of chèo (traditional opera) and cải lương

The cải lương play Thái Hậu Dương Vân Nga was first staged in HCM City in 1978, starring actress Thanh Nga as Queen Mother Dương Vân Nga.

The play has been restaged many times with cải lương stars, such as People’s Artists Bạch Tuyết and Ngọc Giàu, as Nga.  

Enticing: Poster featuring Meritorious Artists Phượng Loan and Kim Ngân in Thái Hậu Dương Vân Nga, a historical play first staged in HCM City in 1978. It will be restaged by theatre director Hoa Hạ in HCM City to celebrate 100 years of cải lương. (Photo courtesy of producer)

This year, the new version, Thái Hậu Dương Vân Nga, is directed by Meritorious Hoa Hạ, who has more than 40 years of experience in the theatre. 

It features Meritorious Artists Phượng Loan and Kim Ngân as Nga, and veteran actors Lê Tứ, Điền Trung and Hồng Tơ. Young actors Gia Bảo and Thanh Thảo are also included.

The play’s director Hạ and her staff, including theatre composer Thái An and theatre producer Kim Ngân, worked hard to rewrite and direct the play in its new version.

Thái Hậu Dương Vân Nga and its spirit are remembered by theatre lovers of different generations,” she said.    

“I wanted to make the play’s new version meet the demands of young audiences,” said Hạ in a recent interview with Người Lao Động (Labourer) newspaper of HCM City before launching her production next month.

Hạ invited pop stars Phương Thanh to play a supporting role. “I want to bring a fresh wind to cải lương, an old and unique genre of southern theatre which began 100 years ago,” said the 61-year-old.

The director asked her young staff, including singer Thanh, to work hard on their singing and acting skills to portray the spirit of cải lương.  

"I hope my play will offer a taste of what cải lương is like," she said.  

Hạ and her partner spent more than VNĐ800 million (US$ 35,000) on the production.   

Her play will be staged two nights, May 6 and 13, at Bến Thành Theatre on 6 Mạc Đĩnh Chi Street in District 1. Tickets are VNĐ200,000 ($9) and VNĐ100,000 ($4.5) for students, and are available at the theatre’s box office.—VNS

 

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