|Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường (Bandit Bạch Hải Đường), a cải lương (reformed opera) by well-known scriptwriter Nguyễn Huỳnh, will be restaged in a new version 61 years after its premiere. — Photo courtesy of the producer
HCM CITY — The cải lương (reformed opera) play Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường (Bandit Bạch Hải Đường), a production by well-known scriptwriter Nguyễn Huỳnh, will be restaged in a new version 61 years after its premiere.
The 120-minute play portrays Bạch Hải Đường, a poor farmer living in a southern province who is forced to be a bandit to support his family.
It features the themes of love and unfaithfulness.
People’s Artist and theatre director Trần Ngọc Giàu worked to rewrite the play in a new version to attract young people.
Giàu invited Meritorious Artist Trọng Phúc to play the bandit Đường and People’s Artist Thanh Ngân his wife.
He invited young talent Nguyễn Văn Khởi, winner of the Chuông Vàng Vọng Cổ (Golden Bell) 2017, an annual national cải lương contest by Hồ Chí Minh Television, to play a supporting role.
“Our new version is targeted to young audiences, but we will still offer a pure cải lương style,” said Giàu, who has more than 35 years of experience in the art.
Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường was first staged by the Hoài Dương-Hoài Mỹ Theatre Troupe in 1959 in Sài Gòn (now HCM City). It attracted cải lương stars Hùng Cường and Ngọc Giàu, who are recognised as canonical figures of the art form.
Its themes about love and betrayal have left a deep impression on audiences. The play has been staged many times by leading cải lương and drama theatres in the region.
Giàu and his actors have worked several hours a day to offer the new version of Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường that will include traditional tunes that were sung when cải lương began in Mỹ Tho in Tiền Giang Province in the 1920s.
“Through the new version of Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường, we will show off our love of cải lương and desire to introduce the art to young people,” said People’s Artist Ngân, who plays Đường’s wife.
Tướng Cướp Bạch Hải Đường will be restaged on June 27 at the Trần Hữu Trang Theatre at 136 Trần Hưng Đạo Street in District 1. — VNS