return icon Vietnamnet.vn

French director Christophe Thiry: ‘Tale of Kieu’ allows me to travel through different cultures

Vietnamese masterpiece ‘The Tale of Kieu’ was adapted into a musical theatre production for the first time by French artists, and was staged in Hanoi in late September. 

Entitled ‘Kim Van Kieu’, the show told ‘The Tale of Kieu’ in a new way without being disloyal to the original.

On the occasion, the show’s director Christophe Thiry granted an interview to Ha Noi Moi (New Hanoi) Weekly Newspaper to talk more about the show.

 

{keywords}
Director Christophe Thiry

 

Can you please tell us about the motivation to adapt the Vietnamese epic ‘Tale of Kieu’ into a musical theatre production?

French director Christophe Thiry: I have a Vietnamese friend who is living in Paris. He often comes to L'Attrape Théâtre to enjoy our theatrical shows. He presented me with a French version of ‘The Tale of Kieu’, which was translated by Nguyen Van Vinh and Nguyen Khac Vien. I was impressed so much by this work that I decided to bring the story to the stage. For me, this was a big and bold decision as I have little knowledge about Vietnamese culture and I hadn’t even visited Vietnam before.

Like many others projects I have worked on, the first thing to do was to thoroughly and seriously research about the story, from its author to the social context when it was written. The more I studied ‘The tale of Kieu’, the more interested in it I become. It is a fascinating story which covers so many cultures that I feel like I can travel through many Asian countries when I read it.

Your show marks the first time for ‘The Tale of Kieu’ have been adapted into the musical theatre. As the work was written centuries ago, did you face any difficulty during the production of the show?

As ‘Kim Van Kieu’ is a theatrical performance, I combined different art genres such as dance, opera and singing. I also worked with two Vietnamese musicians, Mai Thanh Son and Mai Thanh Nam, with a hope to blend Vietnamese contemporary culture into the show. In addition, I also blended Vietnamese and Western cultures by featuring Vietnamese and Western musical instruments on the stage together, such as violin, guitar, Vietnamese drum and ‘dan nguyet’ (Vietnamese two chord guitar).

I also faced certain difficulty in adapting the transcript from the original into musical show, which took us almost one year to complete.

While talking about ‘The Tale of Kieu’, Vietnamese people will think of a play featuring old-styled costumes, but your show presented a fresh and modern approach to it. Can you tell us more about this?

 

{keywords}

Vietnamese and Western musical instruments are featured on the stage together to blend Vietnamese contemporary culture into the show (Photo: tuoitre.vn)

 

 

I left the stage empty without any props but several musical instruments. I want the performers to show their best and develop their creativity. They had to travel through different space and time using their imagination. The audience will understand the story through two narrators. This is how I created a harmony between the old and modern cultural spaces. I want to help my audience to understand and get a touch into Vietnamese culture while enjoying a Vietnamese masterpiece.

Earlier, ‘Kim Van Kieu’ debuted successfully in Paris with five shows in June, 2017. In your opinion, what helped Paris audiences to understand such a story, which was set in the 16th century in Vietnam, a far-away country from them?

Obviously, there are clear cultural differences. From our cultural background, it is difficult for us to understand many details in Kieu’s life and successive incidents she encountered in her life, many of them being unbearable. My artists even got confused about the situation why Kieu had to sell herself into a marriage with a middle-aged man to save her father and younger brother from prison. However, my performers filled the gap in cultural difference in order to convey the author’s meditations and philosophical values of the Vietnamese work.

In my musical play, there is not only one but three artists playing the role of Kieu, who represent pure souls and beauty but have to encounter many tragedies in life. ‘The Tale of Kieu’ is a symbolic story, a door opening a whole new culture which helps us to meditate upon our lives.

Nhan Dan/Hanoimoi

 

Project inspires artists to retell Tale of Kieu

Project inspires artists to retell Tale of Kieu

Four theatre productions based on Vietnamese literary masterpiece Truyện Kiều (The Tale of Kiều) will debut at the Vietnam Youth Theatre on October 12-13 under a project launched by the Goethe Institute in Hanoi.

French artists to perform 'Tale of Kieu'

French artists to perform 'Tale of Kieu'

Vietnamese epic The Tale of Kieu will be performed by French artists for the first time in Hanoi tomorrow.

 

MORE NEWS

Lifebuoys available on rivers to prevent drowing

Tens of red and white lifebuoys have recently been hung on Long Bien Bridge crossing the Red River, Hanoi by a group of volunteers in the hope of saving drowning victims.

Urgent action needed on primate protection

A report by ENV showed that only 30% of total poaching violations in Vietnam were discovered, while 70% were unknown, meaning that the number of the langurs hunted in the forest was unclear.

Dried-frog products bring good income for farmers in An Giang

The road to the “dried-frog village” in Vinh Trung commune in Tinh Bien district in An Giang province gets especially busy beginning at 3 pm, when men set out to catch tree frogs.

31ST SEA GAMES: UPDATES MAY 22

SEA Games 31: Vietnamese judo team see gold number tripling target

Students at forum complain about academic, parental pressure

A forum titled ‘Dieu em muon noi’ (the things I want to say) was organized on May 17 at Giang Vo Secondary School in Hanoi, where students shared their thoughts about life and study after two years of being impacted by Covid-19.

SEA Games 31: Vietnam win over Thailand to take gold in women’s football

The Vietnamese women’s football team had a 1-0 win over the Thai rivals to take the gold medal in the final match on May 21 at Cam Pha Gymnasium, Quang Ninh province, at the on-going SEA Games 31.

VN manages to control public debt

Viet Nam managed to control public debt within a safe level with gradually slowing year-on-year increases. However, according to the Ministry of Finance, the economy was severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in the past three years.

Hanoi needs to combine green growth with urban development

The capital Hanoi is focusing on urban development towards green and sustainable growth and building a smart and modern city.

Phu Yen man makes unique plates from sea grape leaves

Nguyen Van Tuyen, a 38-year-old man from Phu Yen, has successfully designed and produced environmentally-friendly plates made from the leaves of sea grape, a tropical tree.

Bad vendors put e-commerce at risk

Smuggled, counterfeit and low-quality products have begun to spread rapidly on e-commerce platforms as the absence of physical product touch in online shopping puts buyers at a disadvantage.

Thai Nguyen listed among top 6 best places globally to enjoy tea

Marking International Tea Day, travel website Booking.com has unveiled a list of the top six must-visit destinations around the world for travelers to dive into the historical and cultural values of tea, with Thai Nguyen featured in the list.

SEA Games men’s football final tickets stir black market

Tickets for the final of the men’s football at the ongoing SEA Games 31 are being offered for sale at shockingly high prices of up to VND8 million (USD348) each.

31ST SEA GAMES: UPDATES MAY 21

SEA Games 31: Thai weightlifter conquers men’s 67kg class

Doll collection created in honour of Mother Goddess worshipping

Inspired by Mother Goddess worshipping - a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage - designer Van Anh Scarlet created a collection of figurative dolls based on the ritual, called the “Painting of the Four Palaces”.

Try some typical Muong grub

The Mường ethnic people living in Hòa Bình, Thanh Hóa or Phú Thọ share the same origin and almost the same way of living in harmony with nature.
back_to_top