Commemorative show honours playwright
Hon Truong Ba Da Hang Thit (Truong Ba’s Soul in a Butcher’s Body) will be performed by the Viet Nam Drama Theatre and Youth Theatre at a festival in Ha Noi next month to mark the occasion.
The Viet Nam Drama Theatre is rehearsing the play under director Tu Mai while the Youth Theatre’s director Lan Huong is approaching the performance in an experimental manner.
The play was written by Vu in 1981.
By satirising the old-day authority, Vu gives the classic Vietnamese story a contemporary twist and a modern classic of Vietnamese theatre.
The play was first performed by the Viet Nam Stage Theatre in the 1990s under the direction of Nguyen Dinh Nghi. The production earned a gold medal for theatre at the National Stage Festival.
It was also the first Vietnamese theatre production to debut at the Moscow International Theatre Festival, and was later staged in the US.
Director Tu Mai and the actors are committed to exploring their new roles, but are also worried because of the success of the original play.
Lan Huong wants to introduce an experimental stage production to audiences who have seen the play before.
Huong uses traditional dance from tuong (classical drama) in the new version.
“I always combine traditional art with modern art,” said Huong.
The Youth Theatre will also rework another of Vu’s plays, Mua Ha Cuoi Cung (The Last Summer). The play was warmly welcomed by audiences and critics due to its educational theme at the time.
The play is directed by Chi Trung who used to play the main role in the original version.
The festival will be held in August by the Viet Nam Stage Artists Association in collaboration with the Ha Noi Cheo Theatre (traditional opera), Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre (reformed opera) and Hai Phong Cheo Theatre.
A seminar on the life and achievements of Vu would be held at the festival, according to Le Tien Tho, chairman of the Viet Nam Stage Artists Association.
Vu (1948-88) was one of the most famous and talented Vietnamese playwrights ever to have lived. He wrote more than 50 plays, many of which are regarded as masterpieces.
During the time before the renewal period which began in mid-1980, these compositions had a great influence on Vietnamese people for their profound values.
He is also well-known as a great poet, with most of his work focusing on romantic and real themes. He was killed in a traffic accident along with his wife and their son when he was just 40 years old. — VNS