A scene from the Vietnamese adaptation of Balzac’s novel Eugénie Grandet, to be staged by Hồng Hạc Drama Troupe in HCM City. (Photo courtesy of the producer)
By Thu Anh
HCM CITY — A play on money and love adapted from Honoré de Balzac’s novel Eugénie Grandet by female director Việt Linh will be staged on June 14 at the HCM City Opera House as part of a theatre project launched by the theatre and its partner, the HCM City Centre of Performing Organising and Cinematography.
The project aims to support private drama troupes that offer experimental plays.
“We’ve worked with Hồng Hạc Drama Stage and Đại Việt Cải Lương Theatre, both owned by veteran artists, to stage new dramas and cải lương (reformed opera),” said Lê Hữu Luận, director of the centre, one of the project’s founders.
“Today, only quality performances can bring theatre closer to audiences, particularly young people,” he said.
Luận said he hoped that foreign visitors would also learn more about Vietnamese theatre through the productions.
The Vietnamese version of Eugénie Grandet, which will debut at the Opera House on June 14, is about a wealthy but miserly Felix Grandet whose deeds lead to tragedy for his daughter Eugénie and himself.
Linh worked with her younger colleague, theatre director Tây Phong of Hồng Hạc Drama Troupe, to write the screenplay.
“Balzac released Eugénie Grandet in 1839 but it has modern content. The play’s message is about the hypocrisy and shallowness of wealthy people and how money controls their lives,” Phong said in an interview with Thanh Niên newspaper.
The director invited young artists Lê Chi Na, Thanh Tuấn, Lương Mỹ and Hồng Đào to play leading roles. Hồng Hạc Drama Stage began its business in 2015. Its owners, Linh and theatre director Phạm Hoàng Nam, and young actors have worked hard to offer experimental shows with new concepts and techniques
After Eugénie Grandet, a cải lương play will be staged by performers of Đại Việt Cải Lương Troupe, which opened last month.
The play Chuyện Tình Khâu Vai (Love Story in Khâu Vai) will feature 20 young and veteran actors from the city and southern provinces, including Meritorious Artists Lê Tứ and Quế Trân, both of whom have performed in several hundred plays and TV shows.
“We failed to stage our first show on April 30 because we needed to have more time to perfect our art before staging,” said theatre scriptwriter Hoàng Song Việt, a member of of the theatre’s managing board, and writer of 20 plays, mostly award-winning productions.
“Performing at the Opera House is a big dream of any artist. We will try our best to bring cải lương, a traditional theatre of southern Việt Nam, to audiences and visitors,” said the 65-year-old.
According to Việt, the members of Đại Việt Cải Lương Troupe are working to offer a series of historical shows after Truyện Tình Khâu Vai.
They will stage Ngọn Lửa Thăng Long (Fire of Thăng Long Citadel), Câu Thơ Yên Ngựa (Poems on the Saddle) and Tiếng Gọi Non Sông (The Call of the Nation), which feature national heroes and soldiers.
Theatre critic Thanh Hiệp of Người Lao Động newspaper, a member of the city’s Association of Theatre Artists, said: “HCM City has nine private cải lương troupes and mostly owned by veteran artists. The project by the city’s Opera House and HCM City Centre of Performing Organising and Cinematography will help them develop their business.” — VNS