Vietnamese theatre in 2016: good signal of changes

Tuesday, 2017-01-03 17:29:09
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A scene in the play 'Hamlet'
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NDO – Trying to attract more audiences, experimenting with new plays and genres, applying many creations in technology and arts in plays, and engaging with foreign theatres, are among orientations that Vietnamese theatrical units implemented in 2016, creating strong signals of the benefits of international cooperation.

One of these pioneering and proactive theatres that found ways to touch the audience's hearts was the Youth Theatre. In 2016, it enhanced co-operation with foreign theatres, including Japan and Republic of Korea (RoK). In addition to sending its actors, actresses and technicians to attend training and refresher courses abroad, the theatre and its partners in Japan and the RoK jointly arranged plays in three different genres of drama, music and experimental theatre.

Director of the Youth Theatre Truong Nhuan said that through co-operative projects, the unit had chances to approach new technical and technological achievements and new stage trends as well as exchange with artists from different countries and receive benefits in professional training of actors, actresses and technicians.

The Youth Theatre has been also constantly creative in rearranging plays which were successful in association with its reputation, including ‘The last lie’ that was performed for the first time on the theatre’s stage 30 years ago. According to the theatre’s Deputy Director Meritorious Artist Chi Trung, the play embraced the breath of life in the new era, so it attracted a large number of young audiences.

Vietnam National Drama Theatre, the big brother of Vietnamese theatre, has determined to create breakthroughs to develop a series of new projects. Director and People’s Artist Pham Anh Tu had a busy year devoting his heart, mind and enthusiasm to two successful plays entitled ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Kieu’. He skillfully blew the breath of modern life as well as integrating the Xuan Pha folk performance (from Thanh Hoa province) into ‘Hamlet’ – a classic European story. The play received positive reponse from audiences and foreign counterparts at the 2016 International Experiment Theatre Festival, particularly at its tour in Singapore.

In ‘Kieu’, which was adapted from the Vietnamese classic literary work entitled ‘Truyen Kieu' (The Tale of Kieu) by poet Nguyen Du, director Anh Tu chose the appropriate excerpts while using operetta and improvements in designing the stage. In terms of content, he highlighted the new values of ‘The Tale of Kieu’ such as mentioning the inconsiderable honesty in Tu Ba's (the procurer) heart of hearts. He said: “The Tale of Kieu is vastly popular in the life of Vietnamese people and also famous in the world, which puts pressure on artists, including me, in creation. I bravely overcame the pressure to create experiments and changes and hope that audiences will warmly welcome the play”.

In addition to continuously creating new and attractive plays, the theatres established their own numerous channels to exchange as well as understand audience demand, such as the social networking pages of the Youth Theatre, Vietnam National Drama Theatre, Hanoi Drama Theatre and Hanoi Cheo (traditional opera) Theatre. The theatres not only update their schedules, new plays and ticket prices but also post numerous images, information on the sidelines of the stage and help audiences talk and chat with their favourite actors and actresses on the pages. Clubs for theatrical audiences also actively contributed to promoting the exchange between artists and directors and audiences.

Evaluating these changes, on the occasion of the 2016 International Experiment Theatre Festival, People’s Artist Le Tien Tho said that in the current market economy, the theatrical sector has to face numerous difficulties, such as competing with many entertainment forms; and several theatres implemented positive changes.

The theatrical festivals and competitions in the past year attracted a large number of audiences. The theatre auditorium with full seats and resounding applause of audiences showed their sincere affection for this arts genre, creating a strong driving force for theatres to develop.

However, management agencies should set out measures and mechanisms to support the theatre sector to overcome all difficulties and to gain more successes.