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’Quintessence of Tonkin’ sets 2 nat’l Guinness records

Update: August, 03/2018 - 16:47
A representative from Việt Nam’s Guinness Organisation (right) gives the certification to actors of the show in Hà Nội on August 2. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s Guinness Organisation has awarded two records to live entertainment show The Quintessence of Tonkin.

The show, which is run by Tuần Châu Hà Nội JSC, on Thursday won Vietnamese records for the performance show with biggest water stage in Việt Nam and biggest number of actors, who are farmers, in Việt Nam.

The Quintessence of Tonkin highlights various elements of Vietnamese culture, such as folk singing, folk games, the worship of Mother Goddesses and the daily life of farmers, portrayed in contemporary and innovative ways.

The 60-minute show is held everyday between 7.30pm and 8.30pm at Baara Land, Quốc Oai District, 25km west of Hà Nội’s centre.

The venue is near the Thầy Pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in the country and a pilgrimage site during the Lunar New Year festival season.

The spectacle draws inspiration from the pagoda’s spiritual history, with its story focusing on the founding of the pagoda by the venerable monk Từ Đạo Hạnh and the ancient union between religion and monarchy. A visit to the Thầy Pagoda can be combined with a trip to see The Quintessence of Tonkin, contextualising both experiences.  

The show’s stage was built between the auditorium and the small hill where Thầy Pagoda rests, so audiences can watch the show with the pagoda as a backdrop.

The stage is permanently submerged under a thin layer of water on a total area of 4,300sq.m, and is large enough to accommodate all 250 performers (professional artists and local farmers) at any one time.

The water allows for a creative portrayal of the area’s cultural heritage, in the form of water puppetry and dragon boat racing, among others.

While performance art technicians were recruited to come up with a world-class sound and lighting system, the show reflects the peaceful sounds of rural Việt Nam, such as those that come from wooden drums, brass gongs, night crickets and flowing water.

The project also blends different elements of traditional music styles, including quan họ (love duets) and ca trù (ceremonial singing), both of which are now recognised by UNESCO as intangible world heritage.

According to director Hoàng Nhật Nam, after many rehearsals through rainy and sunny weather, 150 local farmers have become skilled actors. The organisers said they aimed not only to improve locals’ lives but also to celebrate folk culture.

The show has been introduced on websites of Hà Nội Tourism Department and Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism. In the next few months, the investors will update screens with subtitle to facilitate foreigners’ understanding of the content of the show.

They also revealed that in the future, some other live entertainment shows will be designed for some famous tourism destinations in the country like a show titled Hello Hạ Long at Tuần Châu Island, the northern province of Quảng Ninh.

Earlier this year, the show won the Gold Stevie Award for Innovation in Media, Visual Communications & Entertainment, beating projects from all over Asia. — VNS

The water stage allows for a creative portrayal of the area’s cultural heritage, in the form of water puppetry and dragon boat racing, among other practices. — Photo

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