A new documentary film on tuong or hat boi (classical drama) produced by Vietnam Television will be released in Hanoi, Can Tho and HCM City this month as part of the station’s efforts to introduce Vietnamese culture and theatre to audiences.
|A scene in Đoạn Trường Vinh Hoa (Glory Road), a documentary featuring artists of the Phuong Anh Troupe, a private, travelling tuong troupe from Binh Thuy District in Can Tho City. The troupe’s artists are helping to preserve tuong, a traditional genre of Vietnamese theatre which began in the 17th century. — Photo courtesy of the producer|
The film, Đoạn Trường Vinh Hoa (Glory Road), features artists from the Phuong Anh Troupe, a private, travelling tuong troupe from Binh Thuy District in Can Tho City.
It highlights veteran actress Nguyen Thi Anh, the troupe’s owner, who is the third generation of her family involved in the classical drama art.
Anh and her actors travel around the region to offer interactive performances. They visit many villages of Can Tho and neighbouring provinces, including Hau Giang, An Giang, Vinh Long and Dong Thap, to offer free training in music, sing and dance to youth to introduce future generations to their art.
The film’s young director Le My Cuong and his film crew spent several weeks living and working with actors from the Phuong Anh Troupe during shooting. They captured beautiful images featuring actors on stage and in daily life.
Đoạn Trường Vinh Hoa provides audiences with the knowledge of tuong, a symbolic form of Vietnamese theatre that originated in the central region and expanded in southern Vietnam, particularly in Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta provinces.
Performances about the hopes and dreams of southern people are also featured.
The film will be released at 7pm at the French Cultural Centre in Hanoi, IDECAF in HCM City, and in cinemas in Can Tho on October 18 and 28, and November 1.
It will air on VTV1 next month.
"Our troupe’s performances offer a true and unique style of tuong. Our audiences can also learn to sing and dance traditional tunes after each show," said the troupe’s head Anh.
Anh said her troupe was keen on exposing youth to tuong, which is part of their heritage that is hundreds of years old.
“Tuong developed from a folk art into a royal art in the 17th century. Its themes include monarchist loyalty and patriotism which help define the play’s structure, language, music, struggles and characters' personalities.”
"I saw the love for hat boi from the local people after all of my shows," the 65-year-old said.
Anh began singing on the stage at the age of 10 after learning the art from her parents who were famous in the region during the 1960s.
She worked for the Phuoc Tan Hat Boi Troupe of Can Tho, playing several leading roles in famous historical plays.
In 1980, Anh moved to Dong Thap Province and opened her own troupe called Dong Thap-Homeland which attracted dozens of skilled artists. Five years later, she closed the troupe after facing financial difficulties.
In 2004, she returned to her homeland, Can Tho, and reopened the Phuong Anh Troupe.
"Anh is one of the region's very few professional performers who have kept the art original on stage. Thanks to her troupe, tuong will remain alive," said Phan Thu Hoa, a resident of Can Tho City. VNS
The Government must have a special regime for traditional art forms and no longer ask for certain qualifications when it recruits artists in the field of traditional arts, experts have said.
Renewing hat boi (classical Vietnamese drama) with technology has increased interest in the art among young people as well as tourists.