Young theatre grads present 15th century historic tragedy

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Young actors take part in courses in performance skills launched by the Hồng Vân Drama Stage, one of HCM City’s leading private theatres. They are trained in drama, comedy, music and dance by veteran artists. Photo courtesy of the Hồng Vân Drama Stage

By Thu Anh

HCM CITY— A play dealing with the tragedy that befell one of Việt Nam’s greatest politicians and poets will be staged by a private troupe this summer.

The plays will star young artistes trained by the Hồng Vân Troupe.

The highlighted work of the series will be Bí Mật Vườn Lệ Chi (Secrets of Lệ Chi Manor), a production on Vietnamese history in the 15th century directed by Trần Bảo Châu.

The play will have 20 young graduates of drama training courses launched by the Hồng Vân Drama Troupe.

Lead roles will be delivered by young talents including Thu Thảo, Hoàng Thi and Xuân Trang.

The play is next to make its debut next month.

Young actors of the Hồng Vân Drama Stage will debut ‘Bí Mật Vườn Lệ Chi’ (Secrets of Lệ Chi Manor), a production on Vietnamese history in the 15th century, this summer holiday after training. Photo courtesy of the theatre

Bí Mật Vườn Lệ Chi revolves around the unjust death of national hero Nguyễn Trãi.

The 120-minute play is set in early 1442 when King Lê Thái Tông decides to visit the Lệ Chi Manor owned by Trãi’s family.

The king meets Trãi’s young wife, Nguyễn Thị Lộ, a native of Thái Bình Province, known for her great learning.

He decides to sleep at the manor. That night he falls ill suddenly and dies.

The court blames Trãi and his wife for the king’s death and accuses them of treason. Trãi and Lộ, and members of three generations of both of their families, are executed.

Twenty years later, King Lê Thánh Tông posthumously pardons Trãi, declaring that the great scholar was innocent.

“Our young artists have tried their best to portray Nguyễn Trãi and his career on stage as realistically as possible,” said People’s Artist Hồng Vân, owner of the Hồng Vân Drama Stage and Phú Nhuân Drama Stage.

“They improved their acting skills by working with older colleagues like Meritorious Artist Hữu Châu, Đình Toàn and Bạch Long during their two-year training. I believe they can take on serious roles now.”

The Hồng Vân Troupe is a private theatre troupe that offers training courses for budding artists.

This year, they are offering two courses starting in August. Students and graduates from art schools, including HCM City Theatre & Cinematography and the University of Culture, are encouraged to apply.

Young theatre actors need further training after school to improve their performance skills and life experience as the number of professional and talented actors has declined in recent years. Photo courtesy of the HCM City Theatre & Cinematography University

The participants first take part in selection rounds conducted by the theatre’s veteran artists before beginning training. They study drama, comedy, music and dance, and are later trained at different performance levels.

Trainees get the opportunity to study directly with professional artists, including the theatre’s owner, comedian and art director Vân, and will also get opportunities to perform in the theatre’s new dramas and comedies after training.

“Further training is still required for our young staff as the number of professional and talented actors in theatre has declined in recent years,” said Vân, who has more than 30 years in the industry.

“Through our courses, young talents – who have limited performance experience and life skills – can get the knowhow on developing their careers,” she said.

Bí Mật Vườn Lệ Chi will be staged at 8pm at the Bến Thành Theatre, 6 Mạc Đĩnh Chi Street, District 1 on Saturdays and Sundays in June and July.— VNS

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