Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Leading theatres and art troupes in HCM are working to preserve cải lương (reformed opera) by using young actors in their new productions.
Lê Hoàng Drama Troupe, a private art troupe, offers a series of new plays featuring historical events and characters in a modern style staged by young actors.
One of the troupe’s featured plays is Loạn Chiến Phụng Hoàng Cung (War of Thrones), a production featuring historical events and characters.
The play has attracted young talents such as Thái Vinh, Bình Tinh and Đăng Khoa who were trained at art schools and by their parents who are cải lương stars.
The work, which is being performed every weekend, has attracted many young audiences.
“Loạn Chiến Phụng Hoàng Cung is a very old story but has new ideas in the script. The play’s young actors offer modern performances in both singing and dancing,” Lê Hoàng, the troupe’s owner and theatre director, said.
“We have worked hard to use new styles, including pop music, in cải lương to renew the traditional theatre and lure new audiences,” he added.
Hoàng also spent several million đồng on music and costumes.
Hoàng and his partners have spent a lot of money to run Lê Hoàng Drama Troupe because they want to preserve cải lương “by offering quality plays that use both Western and Eastern styles”.
“Cải lương should be changed to meet the tastes of youth today,” he added.
In another play, Ngai Vàng Và Tội Ác (The Throne and The Crime), a new production on love and betrayal, young actors appear along with their teachers like veteran artists Meritorious Artist Tú Sương.
“We have learned a lot from the veteran artists who are devoted to keeping cải lương alive,” said young actor Võ Minh Lâm, winner of the 2012 Trần Hữu Trang Award for best cải lương artist, presented by Trần Hữu Trang Theatre, one of the region’s leading traditional art troupes.
Loạn Chiến Phụng Hoàng Cung has been performed several times since their initial show in January.
Ngai Vàng Và Tội Ác will be staged this week and is expected to earn big profits.
“We have worked hard for five years to offer quality shows in new performance styles to preserve and develop our art,” said People’s Artist Trần Ngọc Giàu, director of Trần Hữu Trang Theatre.
According to Giàu, his theatre is working with TV and radio stations to produce shows and plays using young actors, including those from art troupes in southern provinces.
“TV music game shows attract many young people. So we have invited cải lương actors to perform in these shows as an effort to promote the art,” he said.
HCM City Television produced the theatre’s latest play, Má Hồng Soi Kiếm Bạc (Beauty and Hero). The play uses soundtracks by composers Thái An and Thanh Tùng, who have mixed pop and bolero with cải lương.
“My play was directed by People’s Artist Thanh Tòng, a guru of cải lương. To make the play fresh, my staff and I created new elements,” said the play’s director Kim Tử Long.
Long has also worked hard to train younger colleagues. Many of his students, including Thái Vinh, Thúy My and Trinh Trinh, have been hired by leading theatres and have won top prizes at national competitions and festivals.
"Through our art, we wanted to preserve the country’s spirit. We hope our children grow up with love and respect for the traditional arts," said the 52-year-old artist.
New plays by Lê Hoàng Drama Troupe and Trần Hữu Trang Theatre are being staged at 144 Đinh Tiền Hoàng Street in Bình Thạnh District and 136 Trần Hưng Đạo Street in District 1.
Tickets are available at the theatres’ box offices. — VNS