Meritorious Artist Thanh Kim Huệ is seen at the rehearsal of Lan And Điệp, the famous cải lương (reformed theatre) piece. Photo courtesy of the director
HÀ NỘI – The tragic love story of Lan and Điệp in a famous cải lương (reformed theatre) piece will be performed in Hà Nội on November 23.
It’s a part of Tài Danh Đất Việt (Vietnamese Talents) series of performances honouring traditional art. This is the first time the programme has been introduced in Hà Nội, after big success in HCM City and Đà Nẵng in June and August, respectively.
The cải lương piece Lan và Điệp (Lan and Điệp) tells a story from the 1930s.
Lan and Điệp had a beautiful love and were to marry when Điệp finished his studies. While living and studying in the city, Điệp fell into a trap and had to marry a rich woman, even though she was already pregnant by another man. She took the opportunity to sleep with a drunken Điệp and then claimed to be pregnant with Điệp's child. The news made Lan shocked and broke her heart. She left the village for a far-away temple where she became a Buddhist nun. Tragically, when Điệp found Lan, she breathed her last in his arms.
With the plot from a novel written by Nguyễn Công Hoan, the piece was staged for the first time in 1936 by Trần Hữu Trang, a leading scriptwriter of the south.
In 1974, choreographer/director Loan Thảo remade it with the participation of Chí Tâm and Thanh Kim Huệ. The recordings of the performance are popular at home and abroad. The roles also brought fame for Tâm and Huệ.
After 45 years, director Gia Bảo once again has two cải lương stars involved. Bảo changed the performance a little to blow new life into the piece and bring more emotions for the audience. The story will be narrated by Meritorious Artist Thanh Thanh Hiền.
Hiền was born to a family of cải lương artists. Since when she was little, she has loved Lan và Điệp, and often listens to it with an old cassette, the piece recorded in 1974.
“I listened to the piece during the meals and cried, my mother told me not to cry while eating, but I still cried whenever I listened to it,” said Hiền.
“I know all songs, all conversations of the piece, director Bảo knows how much I love it. Maybe it’s why he gave me the role of narrator.
“That role hasn’t appeared in other versions of the piece before. I expect that I can help bring bright colours to the tragedy.”
People’s Artist Minh Vương, who is famous for cải lương performances, and Hoài Lâm, winner of Gương Mặt Thân Quen (Your Face Sounds Familiar) television show in 2014, will also star.
The three-hour piece will bring unforgettable emotions for the audiences, said director Bảo.
Bảo is the initiator of Vietnamese Talents series. Launched since 2014, the series gathered leading artists in cải lương, tuồng (classical drama), singing, comedy and cinema.
The show will take place on November 23 at Âu Cơ Art Centre, 8 Huỳnh Thúc Kháng Street, Hà Nội. Tickets are now on sale at the venue. VNS