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New art project combines circus and traditional music

Circus and cai luong (reformed theatre) artists will combine to perform together for the first time in a recently launched project.

Illustrative image. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Circus Federation

The project will be carried out by Vietnam Cai Luong Theatre and Vietnam Circus Federation from 2020 to 2023.

"This co-operation aims to ensure interesting art creation that lures audiences to the traditional stage," said People Artist Trieu Trung Kien, director of Cai Luong Theatre.

"The stage lacks an audience so the theatres are looking to make a breakthrough to attract and entice the audience. That is the reason two leading circus and cai luong theatres will co-operate for a unique performance."

Under the project, the shows will be named after four legendary deities, namely Tan Vien Son Thanh Mountain Deity, Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Chu Dong Tu and Goddess Lieu Hanh.

Tan Vien Son Thanh and Phu Dong Thien Vuong represent the desire to conquer natural disasters and the strength of the Vietnamese people fighting a foreign invasion.

Chu Dong Tu symbolises loyalty and love whilst Goddess Lieu Hanh represents virtue, wisdom and prosperity.

First, the artists choose to stage Chử Đồng Tử with the script by author Le The Song.

Despite the differences between the two performance styles, organisers are confident the artists can pull off some great shows.

"Tha artists will feel free to perform with their creativity," said People's Artist Tong Toan Thang, deputy-director of Vietnam Circus Federation.

"I think that this combination will work. The most important thing is the director. He needs to know how to put the actors in the right position to help them shine."

Chử Đồng Tử is scheduled to debut in September.

Cai luong blends southern Vietnamese folk songs with modern spoken drama. It has more than 100 years of history, but today performances struggle to draw a crowd.

Last year, Cai Luong Theatre produced a show entitled Ngàn Năm Mây Trắng (Thousand-Year Cloud) which combined four traditional arts.

The show featured cải lương, chèo (traditional opera), xẩm (singing by blind busker) and Hue’s hát văn (folk ceremonial singing) performances.

The 90 minute-show included 60 artists from the Vietnam Cai Luong Theatre, Vietnam Cheo (Traditional Opera) Theatre and the Radio Voice of Vietnam Theatre’s Traditional Orchestra.
Directed by Kien, the show won the Silver Medal at the 4th Hanoi International Experimental Festival. VNS

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