Director Vu Minh: We bring to the stage children’s dreams

Friday, 2018-06-01 17:48:10
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Director Vu Minh (centre) and his colleagues from Idecaf Theatre (Photo:
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NDO – Dubbed as the “Master of children’s plays”, stage director Vu Minh is renowned for his successful role as a scriptwriter and director of more than 20 plays, including ‘The Prince of Egypt’, ‘Son Tinh – Thuy Tinh’, ‘The Jungle Boy’, and ‘Tran Quoc Toan’.

In his interview with Nhan Dan (People) Weekly newspaper, Minh shared his trade secrets to his success on stage.

Question: The Indecaf Theatre has just announced its 31st ‘Once Upon A Time’ programme featuring a new play for children with the longest-ever name ‘Ali Baba and All of the Forty Thieves, and Aladdin and the Magic Lamp Also’. The play has an investment of up to VND 650 million, nearly double last year’s programme. Does it put any pressure on you as a director of the programme?

Director Vu Minh: I and my team believe that the new play will receive great support and appreciation from children and their parents. I can see that we have a serious lack of entertainment programme for children, particularly stage plays. The ‘Once Upon A Time’ programme was born to not only entertain children but also provide them with good lessons in life.

The only pressure I have to cope with is what to do for the next year so that the latter will be better than the previous ones. We always ask ourselves that question, thus we already have plan for the next year.

We have an advantage because of the prestige and appreciation that the programme has created on the audience over the previous editions. We believe that nearly half of the theatregoers from last year’s season will return to Idecaf to enjoy this year’s play. It also encouraged us to do our best. That is the reason why this year’s play drew double the amount of investment as compared with the last one.

Most of plays featured in the ‘Once Upon A Time’ programme are adapted from fairy tales. Is it the common formula for the success of Idecaf-produced plays for children?

Yes it is. The name of the programme, ‘Once Upton A Time’, explores fairy tales in Vietnam and from around the world. Every year, we make some changes to the plot and acting style.

Two years ago, we developed a play based on a story which was totally written by our imagination. But this year, we decided to revive popular and most-favourite children’s stories, including Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, and Sleeping Beauty.

A scene from the ‘Ali Baba and All of the Forty Thieves, and Aladdin and the Magic Lamp Also’ play (Photo:

Can you share us your secret for the success of your plays?

I have no secret at all. You should put your self in children’s shoes to explore what they like and what they want. For children, we should not tell them with dry words or rods, simple and understandable lessons will work instead.

You have been dubbed as the ‘Witch of children’s plays”, what do you think about this?

The nickname was affectionately given to me by the press and the audience. I’m happy to be called by that name, but it also puts me under pressure in terms of how to renew the plays and make them different from the ones I had produced before. I have to go ahead with renovations so that things will not be repeated year on year.

Is it true that you have found a way to entertain the audience’s taste?

I don’t do things that way. It is difficult to follow the changing and diverse taste of the audience. I just put all my heart into my work and strive to do everything to the best of my ability. However, it is also important to understand what parents and children really need.

You have a huge age gap with children. How much do you understand children, in your opinion?

Although children’s thinking may change in different periods of time, they are always dreamy and imaginative. Every child likes to imagine and dream and their dreams are always colourful. And we just bring their dreams onto the stage.

Thank you so much for your interview!

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