Nguyen Hien Dinh ‘s Tuong Theatre – The breath from a new life

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With the indifference to our peoples’ spiritual product, few of us recognize the vitality and the attraction of Tuong (Classical Drama Art). The audiences will get laugh, pleasure and also meditation from the performance. As a kind of drama mainly focusing on patriotism with the mode of conventional and stylized expression, Tuong Art is no longer familiar to young audiences. This art is overwhelmed by the development of modern entertainments.

The operation of Tuong theatres nationwide was established as an important effort in the preservation of this kind of classical art. Indeed, since Nguyen Hien Dinh ‘s Tuong Theatre has been spaciously built at No 155, Phan Chu Trinh street, Tuong seems to affirm the unique position in the cultural character of what Quang Nam -Danang citizen are proud.

However, no one thinks of going there watching the performance. Tuong is just the “special food” for foreign visitors. With the indifference to our peoples’ spiritual product, few of us recognize the vitality and the attraction of Tuong (Classical Drama Art). The audiences will get laugh, pleasure and also meditation from the performance.

The Vietnam traditional art programs are regularly held at 19:30 every Wednesday and Saturday night to serve the public and visitors with the ticket price of 50,000 VND. The program is a mix of folk dance songs, music of Champa along with an interesting extract of Tuong play instead of its entirety. Therefore, the show is not only culturally multiform but also very attractive.

“Phuong Co passing the hurdle“, an extract in Tuong play “Hong Son Flame”, is about Phuong Co character who spied on usurpation of sycophantic courtiers in obedience to her father . In the performance, it can be found that Phuong Co shammed madness and played a trick to get past the guards. Her bold action and madness attracts audiences’ attention. Meritorious Artist Nguyen Thi Thuy Hang, who has more than 20 years of performance played Phuong Co by her beautiful voice. She has reached the pinnacle of “voice, beauty, skill, expression”. Ms Nguyen Thi Hien, a staff at Nguyen Hien Dinh ‘s Tuong Theatre said: “Foreign visitors like extracts of Tuong play very much because they show the unique character of culture. Watching Tuong play, foreign visitors like not only the talented performance of artists with the ability of singing, dancing, but also remarkable make-up…”

Staged by choreographer Huu Tu, “The rural sight” is the colorful folk dance imitating rural life. The stories about graceful communication between men and women, about activities in the field full of laughter and joy such as: winnowing rice, fishing by country girls and hunting frogs by boys are showed by enthusiastic artists who resoundingly shouted “ hây dô”. The music is the harmony of drum, flute and 16-chord zither.

The audiences also enjoy Cham music through the melodious sound of Saranai trumpet by artist Ha Huu Hung. The performance of Saranai trumpet and Panarung drum is composed by musician Dinh Phat basing on the rhythm of praying for harvests and sacrifice of Cham people. According to artist Ha Huu Hung, he has learnt Saraina trumpet by himself for 3 year and his career as a saranai trumpet started from the first performnance at APEC Conference.

In addition to periodic traditional art programs, audiences can also enjoy classic Tuong plays on the last Sunday of the month (ticket of 20,000 VND per pax) such as Dao Phi Phung playing on 26/8 night. The unique performances of Champ civilization such as Apsara dance, Cham village ‘s dance and Saranai trumpet solo are held by Nguyen Hien Dinh’s Tuong Theatre and ChamMuseum at 10 AM on 15th and 30th of every month

In fact, the number of audiences is very small excluding the ones introduced by cooperated travel agencies. In spite of this difficulty, artists still well perform with their great passion for art.

About the life of Tuong artists, Meritorious Artist Tran Ngoc Tuan – Vice Director of Nguyen Hien Dinh ‘s Tuong Theatre said: “The theatre have held about 160 performances each years recently. For a unit of traditional art, this number is rather good. However, the turnover is not high, we can only pay artist about 30,000-50,000 VND each performance. Therefore, artist still meet difficulty in their life. Danang Department of Internal Affairs and Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism have proposed an income policy to improve artists’ life. If this proposal is approved, it encourages artists, especially the young, to devote themselves to art in general and traditional art in particular”

Chi Giao

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