Thursday, April 2 2020


Project preserves cải lương with new plays

Update: March, 02/2020 - 08:49


Young and veteran artists perform in a show that is part of a theatre project launched last year by veteran cải lương artists of HCM City. — Photo courtesy of the producer 

HCM CITY — A long-term drama project featuring the traditional music genre of the southern region, cải lương (reformed opera), organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, is expected to attract young audiences back to the theatre this year.

The project, called Huyền Sử Việt (Vietnamese Legendary History), will introduce a series of new plays on historical events and national heroes. The first part of the project, between 2020 and 2030, includes four plays.

The first play, Chử Đồng Tử, Tiên Dung (Love Story of Chử Đồng Tử and Princess Tiên Dung), will be staged by artists from the Việt Nam Cải Lương Theatre, one of the region’s leading cải lương troupes.

The work was written by late artist Hoàng Luyện, while the rewrite is by Lê Thế Song in a new version in an experimental style.  

The work, based on a very old legend in the north of Việt Nam, tells the love story of Princess Tiên Dung and her husband, Chử Đồng Tử, a fisherman.  

The Princess, the third daughter of King Hùng Vương, travels in a boat to visit Chu Xá, a small fishing village in Hưng Yên Province. She takes a bath in the river where Tử is diving for fish. Both suddenly meet while they are naked.

Tử’s family is the poorest and owns only a pair of trousers. He does not wear any clothing so he can keep his trousers dry while he is fishing.

After hearing his story, the Princess realises their meeting was destined and decides to marry Tử. They later live together at Chu Xá Village and help villagers have better life.

Today, villagers in Chu Xá organise the Chử Đồng Tử Festival on the 10th day of the second lunar month. The festival celebrates love and is seen as a Valentine’s Day.

Three plays about three saints with Vietnamese beliefs, Tản Viên Sơn Thánh of Ba Vì Commune, Phù Đổng Thiên Vương of Gia Lâm Commune in Hà Nội, and Princess Liễu Hạnh of Nam Định Province, will also be staged by veteran and young performers from Hà Nội, HCM City and southern provinces.        

Performers from the Việt Nam Circus Federation will appear in the four plays. 

“Our project, Huyền Sử Việt, offers cải lương plays using unique tunes of the art since its beginnings in Mỹ Tho in Tiền Giang Province in the 1920s,” said a representative of the project’s producers.

“We have invited skilled artists from leading theatres, Việt Nam Television (VTV) and Hồ Chí Minh Television (HTV) to write, direct and produce shows for the project,” he added.         

The plays will be broadcast live on VTV and HTV channels.

More plays about historical events during the Trần, Đinh and Lý dynasties will be staged during the project’s second period. — VNS


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