Culture Culture

11/03/2020 - 08:35

Retaining passion for the traditional theater

Despite the difficulties that traditional theatre in Hue is facing, the artists still have the fire in the belly, which is evident in their publicly-welcomed plays.

Artists of the traditional theater do not mind the limited attendance of the audience. They did their best to introduce the traditional theater to the public

The imprints

The play “Pathway to the Gold Week” performed by Hue Traditional Art Theater (scripted by Nguyen Phuoc Hai Trung and directed by Meritorious Artist La Thanh Hung) brought the audience back to the historical year of 1945. It was a beautiful memory of the power of people’s hearts, especially the decisions that manifested President Ho Chi Minh’s great vision in preserving the nation’s cultural assets.

In 1945, after the end of the Golden Week, many members of the Campaign Committee consulted Uncle Ho about melting more than 2,700 gold artifacts from the Nguyen Dynasty. Uncle Ho did not agree despite the economic difficulties of the country at that time. According to him, those were the relics left for future generations to better understand the culture of the country.

This historical play also showed successfully King Bao Dai’s concerns and inner struggles prior to the historical moment. He finally chose to cede Viet Minh, saying: “It is better to be a citizen of an independent country than to be king of a slave country.”

“Pathway to the Gold Week” won many awards at the 2018 Festival of Professional Theatrical Arts, Bai-choi (Vietnamese Bingo) and Folk Songs: a silver medal for the whole play, two gold medals for the parts of King Bao Dai and Queen Nam Phuong, a silver medal for the part of the Dowager Queen Tu Cung, and a special award for the part of President Ho.

The Meritorious Artist La Thanh Hung said it was a great effort to transform the scripts for a modern play into a play of traditional theater, which requires ancient and folk characteristics. Moreover, the play had a non-fictional historical plot, which has no dramatic conflict.

At the 2019 Festival of Professional Theatrical Arts, Bai-choi (Vietnamese Bingo) and Folk Songs, the play “The Terracotta Pot” by Hue Theater of Performing Arts also won the silver medal. The artists in this play also won two gold medals (for Hoang Ha and Hoai Nhi, playing the parts of Thach Sung and Mit, respectively) and three silver medals.

“The Terracotta Pot” – a play based on the folktale “Thach Sung” – was scripted and transformed into Hue theatrical drama by Xuan Duc. It criticized Thach Sung’s greed and snob, which later made him a loser. The play implied a lesson about lifestyle.

Hoang Ha, who vividly performed the part of Thach Sung, said that he was attracted by the character as soon as he read the scripts. To successfully perform the part, Hoang Ha spent two months practicing, including the facial expressions and gestures. He was satisfied that his efforts were rewarded with the gold medal.

“The Terracotta Pot” – a play of love and humanity

Retaining the passion

For the past few years, Thua Thien Hue Performing Arts have made strong impressions at the national festivals of arts by many award-winning plays. Compared with the prior number of one nominated play a year, Hue Theater of Performing Arts has recently had a few plays nominated for the National Festival of Theater.

More and more artists are involved in theatrical activities and the younger generation of artists becomes more enthusiastic because they have more opportunities for professional development. Many of them have been successful and well-known.

Mr. Nguyen Van Thanh, the President of Theater Artist Association, said that artists still keep the fire in the belly despite the difficulties facing the traditional theater. As they are strongly tied to the theater, they are engrossed with practice and creativity to have high-quality plays to serve the public. Thanks to their enthusiasm, Thua Thien Hue theatrical arts have been successful.

In the spirit of socialization of theater, the provincial Theater Association has attempted to stage the plays Tro Doi (Life Game) and Vuot Song (Overcoming the waves) to participate the Festival of Professional Theatrical Arts, contributing to the preservation and promotion of Hue traditional arts.

When the Association presented the idea of socialization of staging the play, all the members supported and contributed, spiritually and materially. One wrote the scripts, another directed and others accepted to play the parts of the characters. The practice took place mainly in the evening, but everyone was enthusiastic.

Mr. Thanh said that the Association would seek the supports from organizations and agencies of arts to continue to restore and develop shows so that the members could have a place to engage in the activities and exchange the creativity on the voluntary basis.

Artist life is still difficult in terms of salary and allowances, but according to Meritorious Artist Nguyen Dinh Dung, Vice-director of Hue Theater of Performing Arts, once the artists play the parts in the play, they live for their career passion and temporarily forget about the worries of their ordinary life.

Story and photos: TRANG HIEN