The play follows Vietnam’s journey from the Hai Ba Trung uprising against the Chinese Han domination nearly two centuries ago to the death of President Ho Chi Minh in 1969.

Although The Man in Rubber Sandals was previously performed in Algeria and France, it has never before graced the stages of Vietnam. This momentous occasion marks a significant milestone as Yacine’s work finally reaches the country that inspired it.

Yacine (1929-89) was one of the most popular writers in Algeria. He was a novelist, poet and playwright. In 1967, he came to Vietnam and greatly admired the Vietnamese struggle against the Americans.

“After the independence of Algeria, Yacine demonstrated his universal struggle through a three-year stay in Vietnam from 1967 to 1970,” said Algerian ambassador to Vietnam Boubazine Abdelhamid.

“This stay in Vietnam is essential for his conception of the struggle of nationalities within an anti-colonial revolution.”

Completed in 1970, the play is a master poetic work of more than 300 pages, eight acts, with around 150 characters and 1,800 dialogues featuring the historical process of Vietnam from the Hai Ba Trung uprising (between AD40-43) to the death of President Ho Chi Minh in 1969.

The script was edited and shorted by Le Manh Hung, PhD in Art, who is also one of the play’s directors.

“Directing and performing the play is a big challenge,” Hung said. “I thought a lot before agreeing to direct the drama. I respect Yacine’s sentiment toward Vietnamese people.

“I edited the script to highlight Yacine’s view on the Vietnamese struggle to gain national independence.”

Hùng was invited to join the project by the theatre’s director Xuan Bac.

“I have never worked with such a long drama,” said the director and established actor. “We are eager but overwhelmed by the play. Generally, it is not only a work to focus on President Ho Chi Minh but also an epic depicting the Vietnamese country and people through historical periods.”

Veteran artists, including Trinh Mai Nguyen, Hoang Lam Tung and Khuat Quynh Hoa, will perform the drama. Le Quang Dao and Nguyen Minh Hai play President Ho Chi Minh in different stages of his life.

Dao recently also had success with the role of President Ho Chi Minh in a series of short plays in the theatre, while Hai looks much like the late president, and is from the central province of Nghe An, the nativeland of the president.

The production is one of a series to celebrate the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Algeria (1962-2022).

The Man in Rubber Sandals is in a national tour performance scheduled for the theatre. It is expected to perform in Algeria, according to the theatre director Xuan Bac.