Cải lương star Kim Tử Long performs in his fifth and largest live show Thánh Đường Sân Khấu (Sanctum of Cải Lương) in HCM City in October. Photo courtesy of the artist
By Phương Mai
HCM CITY -- HCM City’s theatres and theatrical producers are preparing for new projects in an aim to attract audiences back to the theatre when the COVID-19 epidemic ends.
The city Department of Culture and Sports in collaboration with the Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương (reformed opera) Theatre is making plans for the annual Trần Hữu Trang Awards.
The award, which was first organised in 1991, is the most prestigious prize in cải lương. It honoured cải lương stars like Kim Tử Long, Vũ Linh, Thanh Hằng and Thoại Mỹ.
This year’s awards is planned to open next month, attracting veteran performers like Meritorious Artists Lê Tứ and Quế Trân as coaches.
Phan Quốc Kiệt, the theatre’s director, said: “Besides Trần Hữu Trang Awards, the theatre is preparing to produce two new plays to serve audiences.”
The theatre will work with regional private cải lương troupes owned by artists Vũ Luân, Chí Linh – Vân Hà, People’s Artist Thanh Ngân and Meritorious Artist Thoại Mỹ to offer free shows to audiences after the epidemic ends.
The theatre has also invited experienced scriptwriter Hoàng Song Việt to help to revive series Thắp Sáng Niềm Tin (Light of Hope) series.
The series was launched in 2004 to create opportunities for young performers to demonstrate their talent in new plays reflecting contemporary issues.
Kiệt said: “During the break-time due to COVID-19 outbreak, the theatre plans to reorganise the personnel and management department so the work will go smoothly.”
Meritorious Artist and theatrical director Hoa Hạ is working on two historical cải lương plays Lạc Phủ (Missing Palace) and Hồ Quý Ly, who was the founding emperor of Hồ Dynasty reigned from 1400 – 1401.
“While theatres in the city have temporarily closed due to COVID-19 outbreak, I have used my leisure time to research documents and prepare for my new plays,” said Hạ.
Hạ has a degree in theatrical directing at the HCM City University of Cinematography and Theatre in 1981.
She has worked for the Bông Hồng Troupe and performed in plays such as Cô Gái Ngồi Khóc Trên Cây Gãy (A Girl Cries under a Broken Tree) and Tiếng Nổ Lúc O Giờ (Blow at 12am).
In 1987, Hạ directed drama play Lôi Vũ (Thunderstorm) for the city-based 5B Theatre, and quickly became one of leading theatrical directors in the south.
She has directed several cải lương plays on historical and contemporary social issues like Thái Hậu Dương Vân Nga (Mother Queen Dương Vân Nga), Chiếc Áo Thiên Nga (Swan-Feather Coat), and Cô Đào Hát (The Songstress).
Cải lương star Kim Tử Long is preparing to bring his fifth and largest live show Thánh Đường Sân Khấu (Sanctum of Cải Lương) to Trưng Vương Theatre in Đà Nẵng later this month.
The show will include 20 extracts from popular plays, such as Gió Lạnh Biên Thùy (Wind Blows through the Border), Đoạn Tình Buồn (Sad Love) and Câu Thơ Yên Ngựa (Poetry and Saddle).
Long’s new historical play Lưu Kim Đính (Heroine Lưu Kim Đính) will be performed during the show.
The performance will attract more than 30 other performers, including talented actors Trường Sơn, Phượng Hằng, Phương Hồng Thủy and Vietnamese-American Ngọc Huyền. His wife, actress Trinh Trinh, will also be featured.
Long, 54, said: “I expect my shows will be on schedule and will bring cải lương closer to audiences in Đà Nẵng.”
Long’s live show Thánh Đường Sân Khấu in October in Hà Nội and HCM City received a warm welcome from both critics and audiences. – VNS