HCM City theatres work to preserve cai luong
Leading theatres and art troupes in Ho Chi Minh City are working to preserve cai luong (reformed opera) by using young actors in their new productions.
Young actors Thai Vinh (L) and Binh Tinh perform in Loan Chien Phung Hoang Cung (War of Thrones), a cai luong play staged by Le Hoang Drama Troupe, one of the HCM City’s private traditional art theatres. (Photo courtesy of the producer)
Le Hoang Drama Troupe, a private art troupe, offers a series of new plays featuring historical events and characters in a modern style staged by young actors.
One of the troupe’s featured plays is Loan Chien Phung Hoang Cung (War of Thrones), a production featuring historical events and characters.
The play has attracted young talents such as Thai Vinh, Binh Tinh and Dang Khoa who were trained at art schools and by their parents who are cai luong stars.
The work, which is being performed every weekend, has attracted many young audiences.
“Loan Chien Phung Hoang Cung is a very old story but has new ideas in the script. The play’s young actors offer modern performances in both singing and dancing,” Le Hoang, the troupe’s owner and theatre director, said.
“We have worked hard to use new styles, including pop music, in cai luong to renew the traditional theatre and lure new audiences,” he added.
Hoang also spent several million dong on music and costumes.
Hoang and his partners have spent a lot of money to run Le Hoang Drama Troupe because they want to preserve cai luong “by offering quality plays that use both Western and Eastern styles”.
“Cai luong should be changed to meet the tastes of youth today,” he added.
In another play, Ngai Vang Va Toi Ac (The Throne and The Crime), a new production on love and betrayal, young actors appear along with their teachers like veteran artists Meritorious Artist Tu Suong.
“We have learned a lot from the veteran artists who are devoted to keeping cai luong alive,” said young actor Vo Minh Lam, winner of the 2012 Tran Huu Trang Award for best cai luong artist, presented by Tran Huu Trang Theatre, one of the region’s leading traditional art troupes.
Loan Chien Phung Hoang Cung has been performed several times since their initial show in January.
Ngai Vang Va Toi Ac will be staged this week and is expected to earn big profits.
“We have worked hard for five years to offer quality shows in new performance styles to preserve and develop our art,” said People’s Artist Tran Ngoc Giau, Director of Tran Huu Trang Theatre.
According to Giau, his theatre is working with TV and radio stations to produce shows and plays using young actors, including those from art troupes in southern provinces.
“TV music game shows attract many young people. So we have invited cai luong actors to perform in these shows as an effort to promote the art,” he said.
HCM City Television produced the theatre’s latest play, Ma Hong Soi Kiem Bac (Beauty and Hero). The play uses soundtracks by composers Thai An and Thanh Tung, who have mixed pop and bolero with cai luong.
“My play was directed by People’s Artist Thanh Tong, a guru of cai luong. To make the play fresh, my staff and I created new elements,” said the play’s director Kim Tu Long.
Long has also worked hard to train younger colleagues. Many of his students, including Thai Vinh, Thuy My and Trinh Trinh, have been hired by leading theatres and have won top prizes at national competitions and festivals.
"Through our art, we wanted to preserve the country’s spirit. We hope our children grow up with love and respect for the traditional arts," said the 52-year-old artist.
New plays by Le Hoang Drama Troupe and Tran Huu Trang Theatre are being staged at 144 Dinh Tien Hoang street in Binh Thanh district and 136 Tran Hung Dao street in District 1.
Tickets are available at the theatres’ box offices./.