Tuesday, October 15 2019

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Cải lương seeks ways to approach audiences

Update: December, 28/2018 - 09:00
A scene from a historical play Rạng Ngọc Côn Sơn (Pearl in Côn Sơn) directed and produced by Meritorious Kim Tử Long. — Photo courtesy of the producer
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Cultural experts and cải lương (reformed opera) artists took part in a seminar in HCM City yesterday to seek ways to bring the art form closer to audiences.

The seminar was organised by the city’s Party Committee’s Department of Publicity and Education, and Department of Culture and Sports, as part of a programme to mark 100 years of cải lương.

Young scriptwriter and journalist Anh Vũ said: “Many young people like me love to watch cải lương, but we don’t know where to go for live performances”.

The city’s only State-owned Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre does not open frequently, while private cải lương troupes have difficulties in finding a performance places

Meritorious Artist Kim Tử Long, director of Kim Tử Long Entertainment and Service Company, said: “Many of my colleagues and I want to stage our plays frequently, but it is difficult to find a venue because of high rent”.

Long invested VNĐ800 million (US$34,490) in staging a historical play Rạng Ngọc Côn Sơn (Pearl in Côn Sơn), which premiered at the National Cải Lương Festival in Long An Province in September.

He later wanted to introduce it to city’s audiences, spending VNĐ90 million ($3,880) on renting the Bến Thành Theatre for two nights, and VNĐ10 million ($430) for a rehearsal.

“We have to sell tickets for VNĐ1 million ($43). It is enough for the expense,” he said, adding that audiences pay only VNĐ300,000 ($13) for a dramatic play.

Long said the government would find a place for private cải lương troupes to present their productions at a reasonable price.

Workshop participants, particularly educators, also emphasised the need to educate and inspire student’s interest in cải lương.

Dr Mai Mỹ Duyên of the HCM City University of Culture said: “The city needs to organise a space to showcase exhibits related to cải lương to educate young people about the art.”

She suggested holding talk shows and performing excerpts from famous cải lương plays in schools and cultural houses to provide basic knowledge about the art.

Thân Thị Thư, head of the city’s Party Committee’s Department of Publicity and Education, said that cải lương was facing many challenges, including a decrease in the number of staff, performances and audiences.

“The department will collect the delegates’ opinions and submit them to the government and the city’s authorities will try to develop and promote the art,” Thư said. — VNS

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