National Drama Theatre introduces Vietnamese traditional culture to the world

Friday, 2019-04-05 16:48:53
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A scene in the play 'Ngheu, So, Oc, Hen'.
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NDO – A delegation of artists from the Vietnam National Drama Theatre, led by Meritorious Artist Xuan Bac, have gone on a tour to European countries to serve Overseas Vietnamese.

Two unique plays, entitled ‘Ngheu, So, Oc, Hen’ (The Story of the Clam, Oyster, Snail and Mussel) and ‘Ao anh hanh phuc’ (The Illusion of Happiness), have been introduced to the Overseas Vietnamese during the tour. The performances have left many impressions on the audiences and brought about new perspectives on Vietnamese traditional and contemporary stage in the current period.

According to Meritorious Artist Xuan Bac, the Theatre’s Deputy Director in charge, the two plays were carefully selected from the theatre’s programmes. With rational stage designs and the number of actors and actresses, they are suitable for long-distance tours.

Directed by Meritorious Artist Lam Tung, ‘Ngheu, So, Oc, Hen’ was based on an ancient Tuong (classical drama) play. It reproduces the life of people in Vietnamese countryside during the period of declined feudalism, while satirising the class of imperious and deceptive mandarins, village bullies and dishonest villagers through typical characters such as the village mayor, tycoon So, fortune-teller Ngheu, thief Oc and Hen – an immoral woman.

In spite of the traditional stage designs and costumes, the play has become closer to modern audiences thanks to the director’s arrangement and acting of artists from the Vietnam National Drama Theatre. It has not only conveyed the ancients’ messages but also criticises similar bad habits in modern life. With the combination of different types of traditional stage performances such as Cheo (traditional opera), Tuong and Cai Luong (reformed theatre), the play has helped audiences, particularly younger generations of Overseas Vietnamese in Europe, to learn more about traditional Vietnamese arts and cultural identities as well as the living space of villagers in the northern rural areas in the country.

In addition to the exemplary comedy of the national stage, the drama ‘The Illusion of Happiness’, which was written by late writer Trinh Thanh Son and directed by Trinh Mai Nguyen, highlighted new perspectives on Vietnamese modern drama. The play is about the tragedy of characters who dare not overcome preconceptions to protect their love.

During their tours, artists from the Vietnam National Drama Theatre have given exciting and attractive performances to the Overseas Vietnamese community in Europe. Notably, the play ‘Ngheu, So, Oc, Hen’ was introduced to celebrate the recent forum ‘Vietnamese people with great influence worldwide’ in France. The delegation also held many exchanges with Vietnamese expatriates, talking about Vietnamese stage in France, Hungary and the Czech Republic. As expected, the artists will perform in several other European countries before returning to their home country in late April.