Culture Culture

09/11/2019 - 07:28

Students performed tuong, adults were excited

The audience in Hue was both surprised and excited to watch “Thien Quan Hau Mac” by students of Quoc Hoc High School.

Reproducing tuong Hue

Traditional arts, including tuong Hue (classical drama) are dying and at risk of being forgotten. A group of students at Quoc Hoc High School wanted to bring tuong Hue closer to the public. The play “Thien Quang Hau Mac” was the project combining drama and musical, performed by Humans of Quoc Hoc Club and Youth Spirit Production Club.

As interpreted by the organizers, “thien quang" means “the golden dazzling glow of a culture”; “hau mac" means “behind the curtain.” They used “mac” to imply “thien quang” and employed drama to talk about life, society and reality.

Set in Hue in 1947, the time when the imperial capital was under the influence of the Western culture. The play was about the hardship of a theater named Thuan Hoa. It portrayed the pain of true artists when their “spiritual children” were denied by the society and the theatre had to distort itself to meet the need of the audience.

The audience was fascinated by the character Hai, a young man who determined to inherit the tuong group, his deceased father’s lifelong effort; Mai Lan, a beautiful modern girl who rejected tuong by degrading it, preferring Westernization. It was a friend of Hai’s, who devoted himself to preserving the career of his deceased teacher. The climax of the play was the conspiracy behind the tuong masks, the temptations and the vanity.

Every act was performed in a skillful way and took the audience’s heart. What remained in the viewer was the amateur artists’ diligent, serious and creative working. They touched upon the spirit of traditional art and lived the characters’ lives with their real feelings.

It took them nearly one year to come up with the idea, write the script, practice and look for the sponsor. To bring the 150-minute-long play “Thien Quang Hau Mac" to the stage with 10 acts was a tenacious process of training by students of Quoc Hoc High School.

With passion and a sense of responsibility for preserving traditional cultural identities, they had overcome difficulties such as time constraints, tight fund, long lines, too many acts, etc.

It was the senior artists that had backed the students, helping them with how to access the drama and perform confidently on the stage. According to Mr. Dinh Viet, a director and artist of Hue Royal Theater of Art, the students had written a detailed and creative script. They had played the characters in the play with the innocence of students. They had succeeded in performing the play in a smooth way.

“Our wish is to bring tuong Hue back and to make it have a firm position in the heart of the public, especially young people. Through this project, we hope everyone will know about tuong in particular and traditional art in general. They will then come up with new ideas for conservation,” said Pham Nhu Uyen Nhi, Deputy Head of the program.

“Thien Quang Hau Mac" came into being with the mission to bring to the audience a new, closer and deeper look at the national cultural identity and to see the profound values and the enthusiasm of predecessors.

Continuous applause and praise could be heard after the performance. It was certainly a good signal, showing that tuong has still been alive. Their young age, innocence, skillfulness and love for the traditional art made adults admire.

Though performed by high school students, the play brought positive effects. The students are now continuing with the project of “Thien Quang Hau Mac 2” for the period 2019-2020.

 “Thien Quang Hau Mac” presented a new look when combining tuong and modern musical. It helps the young easily access profound humane values.

 

Story: THU HUE

Photo supplied by Quoc Hoc High School

 

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