Colourful ‘Hoi An Memories’ show

Saturday, 2018-08-25 17:00:04
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A scene of the ‘Hoi An Memories’ show
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NDO – As the country’s largest ever outdoor visual arts performance, with a 3,300 seat theatre and the participation of 500 professional actors, ‘Hoi An Memories’ brings viewers the emotion and special experience of a unique art product imbued with the national identity of Hoi An, a land of rich history and culture.

The image of a girl wearing an Ao dai, a traditional Vietnamese dress, sitting next to a loom opened and crossed the show’s scenes, on the large stage, along with the lighting and the melodious sounds, full of fancy. The image is like a symbol of time being woven, each thread making up the months and days, and the memories. Afterwards, a colourful and musically dazzling night show recalls the memories of Hoi An as a prosperous trading port with a history stretching back over more than 400 years.

Hoi An, a poetic land with many ups and downs throughout history, brings a beautiful memory of the forefathers. It is a land of hard-working, courageous, yet hospitable, open-minded people which grew to became a destination for merchant ships from all over the world, gradually creating the crowded commercial port of Hoi An, which became the second home of many people. This is also a factor that differentiates Hoi An from the cultural harmony of many other nations, such as Japan, China, France, England, Holland, India, Spain and Portuguese.

The fragments of memories of Hoi An under the meticulous arrangement of a top art team and the special performance technology takes us back in time, through five performed scenes, to Hoi An of the old days. The first scene named “Life” praises the vitality of the new land through the fairy footsteps of the charming Vietnamese traditional Ao dai costume on the way of light – the road of time. The second scene, named “The wedding”, recreates the solemn, majestic, jubilant, happy marriage scene of King Che Man and Princess Huyen Tran in the past. It is an impressive performance set against a backdrop of Champa temples, towers and dances. The third scene of the show, named “Lamps and sea”, is a narrative of a faithful wife desperately waiting for her husband, a sailor. He hasn’t come home and she turns into a stone statue. At the end of the story, the man returns, feeling wretched from the fact, he writhes in anguish beside the statue. The story is told on the sparkling and vaporous stage lit up with colourful lanterns. The scene praised the beautiful love story of the Hoi An women, and many Vietnamese women in general. Next, the Hoi An trading port of the 17th century is created on the stage along with merchants from Japan, Holland, Portugal, China, and India. They conduct trade and take part in the local festivals. It is seen as the most prosperous time of Hoi An. During the fifth scene named “Ao Dai”, on the route of time threads that are weaved by the girl beside the loom, girls wearing Ao dai ride bikes to the contemporary scene of Hoi An. Hoi An is a harmonious blend of ancient and modern times. All of its tangible and intangible values have been well preserved till now.

Launched in October, 2017, after a period of performance and with an official relaunch of "version 2.0" from May 16, 2018, the ‘Hoi An Memories’ show, with the elevation of the content of the story, elements of art and Vietnamese cultural identity, were highly appreciated by critics as well as audiences. The show was elaborately invested from the themes and narratives to the unique form of expression; from music and light to visual art, performance; with the participation of well-known names such as historian Duong Trung Quoc, musician Duc Trinh (vice chairman of the Vietnam Composers' Association), People's Artist Quang Vinh, and painter Trinh Quang Vu, along with leading international experts in outdoor visual art.

For the first time, Hoi An welcomed a delegation of 12 international ambassadors to ‘Hoi An Memories’ show on June 29, 2018; Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Sanh Chau said that the show was really impressive, with the professional performance of the artists and elaborate stage design. The story briefly introduced the formation and development of the land, highlighting the early cultural influence of Chinese, Western and Japanese cultures. Because of that multicultural identity, Hoi An has been honored by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. All of the performances reflect the endless beauty of human and natural landscapes, which deserve to be introduced and widely spread to international friends.

According to the Spanish Ambassador to Vietnam Maria Jesus Figa Lopez-Palop, the show is truly amazing. Hoi An's memory is a new showcase of outdoor visual art so few people know. However, as the Ambassador of Spain, “I will help you spread the information to Spanish tourists so that they will discover and enjoy the show when coming to Hoi An. They will be delighted to see the performances, music, passion and professionalism of the actors and especially the Ao dai.”

The show is part of the Hoi An Impression Theme Park of Gami Hoi An Joint Stock Company, which was opened on July 28, 2018. The show is expected to become the pride of the people of Hoi An, contributing a host of new cultural tourism products and entertainment activities which are unique to the land.