Cai luong fest opens

VietNamNet Bridge – The National Cai Luong (reformed opera) Festival 2018 will open on Wednesday in Long An Province.

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Royal story: A scene from Thai Hau Duong Van Nga (Queen Mother Duong Van Nga), a historical play staged by the HCM City-based private Le Hoang Drama Troupe, will compete in the 2018 National Cai Luong Festival in Long An Province. — Photo courtesy of the producer


Organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the annual event has attracted 25 theatres and troupes, including eight private troupes, mostly from HCM City and the provinces of the Mekong Delta region.  

Le Hoang Drama Troupe, one of HCM City’s private theatres, is set to unveil a new style by staging the historical play Thai Hau Duong Van Nga (Queen Mother Duong Van Nga), a production by famous scriptwriters Hoa Phuong and Chi Lang.

Directed by Meritorious Artist Hoa Ha, the play will be offered in a new version to celebrate 100 years of cai luong.

Thai Hau Duong Van Nga portrays the lives and loves of Duong Van Nga, who served as Queen Regent of the Dinh Dynasty after her husband, Dinh Tien Hoang, was assassinated in 979 when her son was only six years old.

She later decided to cede the Dinh Dynasty’s throne to General Le Hoan in 980 to defend the country before the invasion of the Chinese Song Dynasty. Hoan led his army to win the Song invasion in 981.

Hoàn later became the first emperor, named Lê Đại Hành, of the Early Lê Dynasty.

He named Nga as his Empress Dai Thang Minh. Nga was the first queen in Vietnam to marry two emperors. She died in 1000.

Nga’s life and loves appear in many paintings, novels and plays of cheo (traditional opera) and cai luong. 

This year, Le Hoang Drama Troupe’s new version, Thai Hau Duong Van Nga, features Meritorious Artist Phuong Loan and Kim Ngan as Nga, and veteran actors Le Tu, Dien Trung and Hong To.  

“I wanted to make the play’s new version, Thai Hau Duong Van Nga, meet the demands of young audiences,” said 61-year-old Ha, who has more than 40 years in theatre.

Ha asked her staff, including veteran actors Loan and Ngan, to work hard on singing and acting skills to successfully portray the spirit of cai luong. 

Meritorious Artist Kim Tu Long and his troupe, Kim Tu Long Entertainment Limited Company, will present a historical work at the festival. 

The artist has also used young actors for the play Rang Ngoc Con Son (The Shining Pearl of Con Son). 

The work is about the royal secrets of the Nguyen Dynasty, focusing on national hero and poet Nguyen Trai.    

“Our veteran artists are working with younger colleagues to stage a traditional style of cai luong, an old and unique genre of southern theatre that began 100 years ago,” said Long.

Taking on rivals from private theatres, actors from the State-owned theatre The Gioi Tre of HCM City University of Cinematography & Theatre are pinning their hopes on a drama titled To Quoc Noi Cuoi Con Duong (The Homeland)

The play is based on true stories about soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence.   

The producer invested several hundred million dong in costumes and sound and light effects.

Festival organisers said theatres were using music troupes to perform live on stage instead of playing recorded music, which is the norm in cai luong.

Top awards for best play, best director, best scriptwriter, best actor and best actress will be presented.    

"All of our artists have worked hard to offer quality art in an effort to draw theatre lovers back to cai luong, one of the country’s three traditional arts along with tuong (classical drama) of the central region and cheo (traditional opera) of the north,” said Do Ky of Performing Arts Department, a member of the festival’s organising board.

The festival will also include forums and seminars on the art.  

It will open at Long An Cai Luong Theatre on September 5 and close on September 19. 

Source: VNS

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