Many artists hope the epidemic to soon be under control so they can give performance again (Photo taken before the outbreak of COVID-19)
That is the reality of many professional and amateur artists since performing arts activities have been restricted due to the impact of COVID-19.
Another outbreak of COVID-19 has forced artists in the province to once again fall into what they joked "unemployment". The plans to perform and participate in festival events had been scheduled many months previously, but are now postponed indefinitely.
Coping with the situation
As night falls, the Huong River is quiet. The "Nam Ai, Nam Binh" tune of Hue Singing no longer fills the air like it used to do before the epidemic. The dragon boats line up along the riverbank.
“All activities have stopped. The Hue Singing artists’ lives have become very difficult. Many people have to do all kinds of odd jobs to make ends meet,” sighed one boat owner.
Instead of ao dai, turban, and elegant makeup to perform, many artists who sing Hue classic tunes on dragon boats on the Huong River now have to stay at home to practice them, as a way to find joy in the "unemployment" days.
“At this time every year, visitors flocked to Hue and we worked continuously, but this year, it is the complete opposite. There are no guests, and all activities are postponed. This greatly affects our income as well as our passion for performing," shared Ms. Bich Thuan, a Hue Singing artist.
However, according to Ms. Thuan, not only artists, but all occupations in society are affected. Therefore, in addition to identifying the situation, taking up some other jobs to earn a living, they must strictly comply with the regulations on epidemic prevention.
“At this time, health is still the priority. I pray that the whole country is safe against the epidemic. Everyone's health comes first," said Ms. Thuan optimistically.
Artist V. - with 25 years of experience working at the Hue Royal Traditional Art Theater (of Hue Monuments Conservation Center) said that the artist's work has never been so difficult before. Planned performances and festivals of the theater as well as his individual shows were forced to be postponed at the last minute due to the epidemic.
Mr. V. said, the specificity of the place where he works is that the performances are often shown for tourists visiting Hue heritage. The epidemic occurring at the end of April, accompanied by the restriction of gathering in large numbers, has caused the heritage site to close. Visitors can not come to visit and the performance schedule remains "frozen".
Previously, there were many big events, such as Hue Festival 2020, Hue Traditional Craft Festival 2021, etc., which were also postponed. It is unknown when they will be held, although Mr. V. and many other artists have spent a lot of time practicing.
“In addition, a number of personal shows were also canceled. Aside from the fixed salary, our other sources of income are seriously affected,” said Mr. V.
Missing the spotlight and the audience
In addition to doing other jobs, many artists confided that, during the epidemic, they missed the spotlight and the audience. They longed to be standing on the stage to perform and give the audience moments of sublimation with art. Only when they are standing on the stage, can they truly be real artists. Only then can they indulge themselves in passion and spread that passion to everyone who enjoys art.
"But because of the epidemic, we had to put everything aside," said the director and artist Phan Vinh Quy - Director of PQ Events One Member Limited Liability Company. Mr. Quy said that, unlike some artists on the payroll of governmental units, there are many independent performers in the province working for private companies without fixed monthly salary. Thus, they all have to find other jobs in the midst of the epidemic.
“Some people sell insurance, some people ride Grab bike, others sell ornamental plants, and some work as real estate brokers… to make ends meet. However, as this is the difficulty of the whole society, they all accept it," Quy said.
"We have to try harder to stick to our profession. We have more time to think and write better scripts in the hope that when the epidemic ends, we can once again perform for the audience," Mr. Quy shared.
Like Mr. Quy, other professional and amateur artists pray that the epidemic situation will soon be under control as they are struggling to find other sources of income. Only when the epidemic ends can the cultural events, festivals and art shows be organized again and they could return to the stage and live with their passion.
Story and photo: Nhat Minh