Artist returns to theatre stage after 15 years

March 12, 2023 - 08:21
Artist Trung Dân directed many comedy programmes of southern regional television stations. He is also the author and director of many popular TV series.

HCM City-born actor Trung Dân was loved through many plays on the theatre stage. In television and movies, he played many supporting roles, but his honest and natural acting always left a deep impression on audiences.

Dân, 56, directed many comedy programmes for southern provinces' television stations. He is also the playwright and director of many popular TV series, such as Bìm bịp kêu chiều (Greater coucal sings in the afternoon), and Báu vật (Treasure). He received the Cù Nèo Vàng Award in 2005 for his remarkable contributions to comedy in theatre.

Actor Trung Dân. Photo courtesy of Trung Dân

Inner Sanctum: Theatre boss Huỳnh Anh Tuấn is inviting you to make a comeback on the Idecaf stage. What made you decide to return?

Last year, Huỳnh Anh Tuấn and I had a talk over the phone. Recently, we met to express our thoughts and feelings.

Tuấn already owns the Thanh Niên (Youth) Theatre, so he needs to strengthen the artists' force, and expressed his intention to cooperate with me. On my side, I really miss the stage, and I really want a place where I can perform the southern style of drama that I have put on pause for too long. I was very touched by Tuấn's affection for me, so I was ready to accept.

Inner Sanctum: Can you reveal why and when you were shining at the Idecaf, you decided to leave?

In general, artists are very emotional and sensitive people, so the ups and downs are inevitable. Now, I don't clearly remember why I decided to leave, only that I didn't have a better decision at that time. But I don't want to repeat it because it's in the past.

Inner Sanctum: Will you return to Idecaf as a core artist of the theatre or as just a collaborator?

First, I will return to perform at the Thanh Niên Theatre, but after that, I don't know. I only collaborate on plays and follow the theatre's plan. To be clear, I only appear on stage in plays that I'm in. When I finish performing, I go home, I will not be involved in executive work or anything else.

I love theatre, but I also want to spend time with my family, reading, writing, and taking care of bonsai.

Inner Sanctum: You have strengths in acting, directing and scripting, will Thanh Niên Theatre make full use of your abilities?

I will perform any task that Tuấn asks me to do. He also would like to remake the plays written by me and directed by artist Thanh Thủy, such as Chuyện làng Ung (The story of Ung Village).

I will be very touched if I can meet the audience who once loved these plays, as well as the younger audiences.

In addition, I have prepared a tragic scenario called Lá sầu đâu (Sầu đâu leaves), and two comedies including Cái giếng khơi (The well) and 12 con giáp (The 12 zodiacal animals).

Trung Dân (third from left) and his colleagues in the sitcom 'Ông bố bất đắc dĩ ' (The Reluctant Father). — Photo

Inner Sanctum: There have been many famous artists who established their own stage. Will there be a Trung Dân stage in the future?

I don't know why I have never thought of establishing my own stage. Maybe I'm a man of mild temper, not good at calculating from the details to the general, and managing the emotions of others, and a boss needs those elements.

I like to be a simple performer, then return home to my family after work. A manager has to deal with many challenges, and certain successful people are very good at this. I am not confident in my ability to do this.

Inner Sanctum: Fifteen years away from the stage, seeing all the ups and downs of theatrical circles, have you ever thought that the theatre stage would no longer exist?

During that time, I have witnessed many new stages set up, many old stages close, and many stages operating so quietly that few people knew about them.

Yet, my colleagues continued to perform, and the audiences keep coming to the theatre. I realise that for an artist who has fallen in love with drama, it is hard to get rid of this love, and the audience has never turned their back on drama.

One day, on a stage with only a few dozen spectators watching that play, the artists still performed with their hearts. Other times, for the same play, the audience is full.

I can't answer the question of how to make an audience love drama, I just know that the artist himself is happy when he can perform a good type of drama. I think it is a factor that will make it so that theatre will never die.

Inner Sanctum: In addition to your stage work, you often share historical and cultural stories. What motivates you to study culture and history?

Each person has their own taste. When I was a child, I was influenced by the love of reading from my father. My house had no electricity, and I brought the oil lamp to the bed covered with a mosquito-net to read books. My mother was afraid of burning the mosquito-net, so she scolded me, but I couldn't stop.

At the end of high school, I hesitated to learn at the teacher's college or art college. I selected art, but the habit of learning culture and history through reading remained. Besides this, writing scripts forced me to thoroughly research issues through oral folklore, documents and books. I think artists are bridges to link culture among generations, and not just for entertainment. VNS