New art project combines circus and traditional music

February 24, 2020 - 00:00
Circus and cải lương (reformed theatre) artists will combine to perform together for the first time in a recently launched project.

HÀ NỘI Circus and cải lương (reformed theatre) artists will combine to perform together for the first time in a recently launched project.

The project will be carried out by Việt Nam Cải Lương Theatre and Việt Nam Circus Federation from 2020 to 2023.

"This co-operation aims to ensure interesting art creation that lures audiences to the traditional stage," said People Artist Triệu Trung Kiên, director of Cải Lương Theatre. 

"The stage lacks an audience so the theatres are looking to make a breakthrough to attract and entice the audience. That is the reason two leading circus and cải lương theatres will co-operate for a unique performance."

Under the project, the shows will be named after four legendary deities, namely Tản Viên Sơn Thánh Mountain Deity, Phù Ðổng Thiên Vương, Chử Ðồng Tử and Goddess Liễu Hạnh.

Tản Viên Sơn Thánh and Phù Đổng Thiên Vương represent the desire to conquer natural disasters and the strength of the Vietnamese people fighting a foreign invasion.

Chử Đồng Tử symbolises loyalty and love whilst Goddess Liễu Hạnh represents virtue, wisdom and prosperity.

First, the artists choose to stage Chử Đồng Tử with the script by author Lê Thế Song.   

Despite the differences between the two performance styles, organisers are confident the artists can pull off some great shows.

"Tha artists will feel free to perform with their creativity," said People's Artist Tống Toàn Thắng, deputy-director of Việt Nam Circus Federation.

"I think that this combination will work. The most important thing is the director. He needs to know how to put the actors in the right position to help them shine."

Chử Đồng Tử is scheduled to debut in September.  

Cải lương blends southern Vietnamese folk songs with modern spoken drama. It has more than 100 years of history, but today performances struggle to draw a crowd. 

Last year, Cải Lương Theatre produced a show entitled Ngàn Năm Mây Trắng (Thousand-Year Cloud) which combined four traditional arts.

The show featured cải lươngchèo (traditional opera), xẩm (singing by blind busker) and Huế’s hát văn (folk ceremonial singing) performances.

The 90 minute-show included 60 artists from the Việt Nam Cải Lương Theatre, Việt Nam Chèo (Traditional Opera) Theatre and the Radio Voice of Việt Nam Theatre’s Traditional Orchestra. 

Directed by Kiên, the show won the Silver Medal at the 4th Hà Nội International Experimental Festival. VNS