New tuong troupe opens in Phu Yen
VietNamNet Bridge – The new and privately owned Nui Nhan Tuong (classical drama) troupe has opened in Phu Yen Province’s Tuy Hoa City.
Tuong artists wear costumes sometimes weighing up to 10 kilos. They must have a strong voice to sing and dance at the same time and express the emotions of each character. — Photo sankhau.vn
Managed by veteran actor Nguyen Hoa, who has more than 40 years of experience in the industry, the troupe offers shows aimed at young people.
The troupe includes 24 veteran and young actors from Phu Yen and the central provinces of Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.
“We want to develop drama for youth, who can improve their knowledge about the country’s history, traditional culture and lifestyle through the art of tuong,” Hoa said.
He said the troupe was also a good chance for young actors to develop their career. “I believe in the future because I see many audiences excited about the art,” he said.
In the coming weeks, the troupe will offer a series of historical plays, including Pham Cong- Cuc Hoa and Thoai Khanh-Chau Tuan, both of which highlight the beauty of Vietnamese women.
The Vietnamese classical drama of tuong originated in the 12th century and has developed from a folk art to a royal art in the 17th century.
The art consists of singing and dancing together with music, which are highly stylised and filled with symbolism.
Its themes include monarchist loyalty and patriotic duty, which define the play’s structure, features, language, music, colour, struggles and the personality of the characters.
The art has three performance styles: tuong pho (plays based on old Chinese stories), tuong do (plays featuring historic Vietnamese events and national heroes) and tuong hai (comedies about the daily life of people).
On stage, the artists sometimes wear costumes weighing up to 10 kilos. They have to have a strong voice to sing and dance at the same time and express the emotions of each character.
Along with traditional arts such as cheo (traditional opera) in the north and cai luong (reformed theatre) in the south, tuong has contributed to the spirit and character of the Vietnamese people.
The art, however, is facing a shortage of young and skilled performers.
Le Chuc, a member of the Viet Nam Theatre’s Association, said that performers in tuong must practise frequently. To perform the movements, artists must use their whole body, from the fingers and elbows to all of the muscles.
Chuc, who is a tuong actor, said: “For dramas, movies or the catwalk, amateurs can practise and perform a little bit, but for tuong, you cannot do it if you have not been properly trained."
”Cultural authorities need to invest in producing talented and young crews if tuong is to truly develop,” he added.
There are only 10 professional tuong theatres across the country.