Culture Festival

20/04/2018 - 08:38

The stage is also life

What the author, director and producers of the program "Echoes from the Perfume River" wish is to bring the real stories of the people of the river onto the stage. This is one of the programs in Hue Festival 2018 by the Voice of Vietnam in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Sports. It will take place on the evening of April 29, at the junction of Gia Hoi River and Trinh Cong Son Street.

The sketch of the "Echoes from the Perfume River" program stage. Photo provided by writer Nguyen Quang Vinh

The cycle of life

"Echoes from the Perfume River" is a story about the lives of the local people living on the river, with true Hue characteristics. The life cycle of the fishermen begins when they are born, grow up, fall in love, marry and give birth to their children, and together build a prosperous and happy family life. When they grow up, they are taught their family’s fishing trade. When they become old, their souls return to Buddha and new lives are formed. Together they build and preserve Hue.

On the stage, the life of the river folks is described realistically. Audiences will see the familiar natural scenes, and hear the sound in the daily activities of Hue’s working class. It is the sound of the oars, the sound of singing, the sound of fishing nets, the noise of the lagoon market, the playful kids, the lullabies, the mesmerizing bamboo flute sound, the pagoda bell, the Buddhist chanting and so on.

Many types of musical art are combined with sound and lighting effects on the romantic Perfume River to introduce Thua Thien Hue’s rich history and special culture to domestic and international tourists.

Writer Nguyen Quang Vinh, script writer and director of the program "Echoes from the Perfume River," said: "Hue music has been selected, edited, staged and attached to the act of creating an image of Hue, which is very familiar in terms of the melody but strange in regard to appearance. It is rich with Hue’s identity but is also melancholy with the breath of the river, the breath of the land, the sky, the clouds, the wind, etc., thanks to the composer's new work in the manner of storytelling."

Aside from Hue folk music and music about Hue, there will be new songs and new voices carrying Hue’s identity, at times high and flying, at times deep and thoughtful, like the breath, the thoughts and the rise of Hue and of the people of Hue. There will also be modern music to send messages to visitors far and near that Hue is always Hue, but it is always new; it is the common heritage of all human beings, both distinctive and close, and both traditional and modern.

Construction of the stage for the “Echoes from the Perfume River” program is under way. Photo: Minh Hien

Bringing life onto stage

Writer Nguyen Quang Vinh said: "Previous Hue Festivals had highlighted most of the cultural quintessence of Hue. However, a part from the real life of Hue people has not been touched. With this program, I would like to send my gratitude to the people of Hue and would like to show visitors that, behind the glamour of the Citadel, behind a romantic Hue, there is a hard-working Hue. These people have been quietly building and preserving Hue to this day.”

The show has no narrator, from the first to the last second. With the desire to produce a program like real life, writer Nguyen Quang Vinh used all local Hue artists and actors.

Of the 200 extras, including men, women, children, the elderly, in addition to students and pupils, are the “real” fishing folks. It is so real that the lady selling beef noodles, the auntie selling sweet soup, the man making fish nets or the fishermen actually portray on stage what they do in real life.

The stage is designed floating on the water, at the junction of Gia Hoi River - Trinh Cong Son Street. Audiences will see the images of Thien Mu Pagoda, Vy Da village with the green areca palms, banyan trees, landing stage, fish market, fishing boats, and so on. The familiar farming tools and fishing tools are transformed into art through the performances that are real but stylized.

If the middle of the stage is the real work scene, the outer circle will be the elevated images of the working culture turned into art with the raw actions and performances.

Writer Nguyen Quang Vinh said: "The program requires high quality, but it is not a professional art show. It must be performed in a way so that Hue people can relate to. Bringing real life to the stage is the attraction that will entice the audience. Audiences will realize things they witness every day can be very poetic when turned into a program set on the stage. They can see themselves, relive their childhood and return to their village. From there, they will appreciate their normal life more."

With "Echoes from the Perfume River," the producers wish to offer new spiritual food at Hue Festival this year. Mr. Ngo Van Hoa, a fisherman in Vy Da Ward, eagerly said: "It is unbelievable that our simple life on the river will be put on the art stage of Hue Festival. I am very happy and excited to see the show."

By Minh Hien