Thursday, 05/04/2018 17:25

Private troupes take stage at nat’l drama festival

Sprawling cast: Talented actress Trinh Kim Chi performs in Chau Ve Hop Pho (Reunion), a 60-minute play on the Mau Than Offensive in the spring of 1968. The play includes 70 actors, with young talents from Hong Van Drama Troupe, one of HCM City’s leading private drama troupes. Photo courtesy of the producer.
Viet Nam News

by Thu Anh

Veteran and young actors of private troupes in HCM City are preparing for participation in the National Professional Drama Festival 2018, which will be launched by the culture ministry’s Department of Performing Arts in the city next month. 

Hong Van Drama Troupe, one of HCM City’s leading private drama troupes, will stage Chau Ve Hop Pho (Reunion), a play on the Mau Than Offensive in the spring of 1968.

The 60-minute play features South Vietnamese liberation soldiers and their stories during and after the campaign, which occurred during the American War. 

It portrays Chau and his wife, Pho, both Sai Gon residents, who awaken to revolutionary ideas. Chau moves to the north to join the  Viet Nam People’s Army, and Pho works as a secret agent in Sai Gon.   

Both meet in the battle of Sai Gon in January, when the South Viet Nam liberation forces attacked the US Embassy.

“My play tells true stories about the war,” said director Meritorious Artist Tran Minh Ngoc.

Ngoc, who has more than 50 years in the industry, asked his young actors to research books, documents and films on the offensive by both Vietnamese and foreign filmmakers.

“I wanted my production to be lively and to help young audiences learn as much about the country’s history and what Vietnamese generations fought for.”

“I hope young audiences will learn valuable things about war and peace after watching,” said the 80-year-old. 

The play, involving more than 70 actors, will be staged for free for students in 20 universities and colleges after the festival.

The TKC Drama Club will send its new play on young volunteers to compete at the festival.

Mot Thoi De Nho (A Time to Remember) portrays the lives of members of HCM City Young Volunteer Force who worked in remote areas in southern provinces during the 1980s.

"We wanted to spotlight the brave volunteers’ remarkable work for building our homeland after war,” said the play’s female director Trinh Kim Chi, owner of the troupe.   

Chi spent VND120 million (US$6,000) to create costumes and dazzling sound and light effects.

To highlight the play’s theme, she used revolutionary songs such as Co Gai Mo Duong (Young Female Volunteers Maintain the Roads), Em La Thanh Nien Xung Phong (Young Volunteer) and Em O Nong Truong Em Ra Bien Gioi (Working at a Farm, Going to the Border), written by famous musicians Xuan Giao, Quynh Hop and Trinh Cong Son, respectively.

The director also invited Le Thi Mai, former member of the force, to help her staff improve their acting skills.

“I was very happy to help young actors. I hope audiences will learn more about our work,” said Mai, who volunteered to work in Kien Giang and Ca Mau provinces in 1976 when she was 21 years old.

Mai and her colleagues attended the play’s premiere at District 6’s Cultural Centre on December.  

Mot Thoi De Nho is staged on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Another troupe, The Gioi Tre (World of Youth) Drama Troupe, is more involved in contemporary art. 

The troupe’s young actors are working on Cuop Bien (Pirates), an experimental production by young director Ngoc Hung. The show features topics about urban women and social problems.

Director Hung has used both Eastern and Western styles to depict the play’s theme.

“Though my play is about a well-worn topic, love, it will bring new messages and include new concepts for the theatre,” said Hung, adding that he knew how to dazzle audiences during and after performances.

Hung, also a reporter, has written and directed more than 20 plays on different topics.

Most of his works are stories about urban youth.

One of his well-known plays, Chuyen Tinh Bangkok (Love Story in Bangkok), has been performed 200 times since its initial show in 2014.

Thanks to Hung’s contribution, the The Gioi Tre Drama Troupe is one of the city’s leading private drama troupes, and is also a place for young actors to improve their skills at school.

The troupe offers quality shows at only VND30-50,000 (US$0.7) per ticket to attract young audiences.

IDECAF, the region’s leading private drama troupe, will not attend this year’s festival.

It has opened its third theatre at 5 Tran Cao Van Street in District 1.

“We do not have enough time to prepare for the festival,” said Huynh Anh Tuan, the troupe’s owner.

Many theatregoers say they are eagerly awaiting the quality performances at the festival.

The National Professional Drama Festival begins on April 11. VNS




Serious work: The TKC Drama Club will send its new play, Mot Thoi De Nho (A Time to Remember), to compete at the National Professional Drama Festival 2018 in HCM City this month. The work portrays the lives of members of HCM City Young Volunteer Force who worked in remote areas in southern provinces during the 1980s. Photo courtesy of the theatre
Rising stars: Young actors of the The Gioi Tre (World of Youth) theatre troupe. Photo courtesy of the producer

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