The current landscape of creative production not only includes the replication of scripts deemed significant, but also encompasses the development of numerous innovative programs and artworks.

Following the official release of the play “A Cup of Poison” by the Vietnam Theatre Artists’ Association in early October, artists from the Vietnam National Drama Theatre, the Youth Theatre, and the Hanoi Cheo Theatre, along with students from the Hanoi Academy of Theatre and Cinema, have commenced their rehearsal process.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the national stage industry, artists from various units have united for the first time to collaborate on a play. It is a historic occasion, as we reflect on the significance of the first-ever Vietnamese play, “A Cup of Poison,” written by renowned playwright Vu Dinh Long (1896-1960). This groundbreaking production was performed on October 22, 1921, at the Hanoi Opera House, and served as a testament to the captivating talent of Vietnamese playwrights, marking the official birth of Vietnamese drama.

Exploring a Profound Tale: Thong Thu’s Family

In this thought-provoking play, we delve into the captivating story of the affluent Thong Thu family. They find themselves entangled in the vices and allurements of a colonial urban society, bringing to light the perilous consequences of an indulgent and heedless lifestyle.

According to the director, Meritorious Artist Bui Nhu Lai, this reproduction successfully captures the essence and structure of the original script while incorporating contemporary elements. The cast includes renowned and experienced actors such as People’s Artists Viet Thang and Trung Hieu, as well as Meritorious Artists Trinh Mai Nguyen and Hoai Thu. Additionally, the play features the talents of emerging actors Viet Hoa, Duy Anh, and Khuat Quynh Hoa. With such a diverse and talented cast, “A Cup of Poison” promises to captivate audiences and reaffirm its esteemed position in Vietnamese stage productions. The play is scheduled to be publicly unveiled in late October 2021, once the pandemic is under control.

The Vietnam Tuong Theatre will be showcasing a selection of performances to promote the traditional art form of classical drama to a younger audience. These performances include the plays “Trung than” (The Liegeman), “Vo Tam Tu tram cao” (Vo Tam Tu offers beheading indictment), and “Trieu Dinh Long cuu chua” (Trieu Dinh Long saves Lord). Join us during this time to experience the beauty and heritage of Vietnam’s rich cultural history.

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“A captivating scene captured from the renowned play ‘Trung than’. (Photo courtesy: Vietnam Tuong Theatre)”

During their preparation for the 2021 National Drama Festival, the artists of the Youth Theatre are concurrently working on enhancing the production of a musical play called “Cuoc chien virus” (The fight against the virus) specifically designed for children. This play, depicting the struggles of animals amidst a merciless virus, aims to impart valuable lessons on the significance of vaccinations, the strength of unity, and the unwavering determination to combat epidemics.

Thang Long Puppetry Theatre, in addition to catering to young audiences, is currently producing a series called “Our World” for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Meanwhile, the Vietnam Circus Federation has recently recorded a circus play called “Superhero Rescue Squad,” which is being broadcasted under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. This play will be showcased in five performances as part of the tourism stimulation program in Quang Ninh Province, scheduled to take place in November in Ha Long.

The Federation has collaborated with the Vietnam Cai Luong (Vietnamese reformed opera) Theatre to produce the play “Thuong Thien Thanh Mau” (Mother Goddess of Heaven) as part of the project “Huyen su Viet” (Vietnamese legendary history). This production combines the artistic strengths of Cai Luong and circus performances. Both organizations have been diligently working on their respective tasks, with the aim to complete the project once the epidemic is under control. The play is anticipated to premiere in early December 2021.

During the current phase of social distancing, several art troupes are making comprehensive preparations to debut their new works. The Le Ngoc stage is set to premiere the play “Nuoc mat cua me” (Mother’s Tears), while choreographer Tuyet Minh and a team of approximately 150 dancers from across the country are working tirelessly to finalize the dance series “Anh sang tam hon” (The Light of the Soul). This virtual performance, scheduled for October 20, is intended as a heartfelt expression of gratitude towards the frontline heroes in the ongoing battle against the pandemic.

After an extended absence from the public eye, the resurgence of performances brings immense joy to artists. Tong Toan Thang, a People’s Artist and Deputy Director of the Vietnam Circus Federation, emphasizes the need for performing arts to adapt safely to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, establishing a universal set of standards and regulations for allowing audiences back into theaters is of utmost importance.

Specific requirements are in place to control organizers, artists, and viewers. These requirements include limiting the maximum number of audiences, which is based on the available performance space. By following these guidelines, art units can proactively plan and organize performances that prioritize safety.

Furthermore, after enduring the detrimental effects of the pandemic for nearly two years, the art units are facing significant financial strain. In order to sustain their operations, theaters and other artistic institutions are in desperate need of increased attention and support from government agencies. By commissioning compositions, promoting and presenting their works, and ultimately stabilizing the lives of artists, these measures can help ensure the continued vitality of the arts.

In order to address the concerns of the public, it has been advised by several experts that the promotion of theatrical productions through online platforms should be intensified, even after the epidemic is brought under control. Le Minh Tuan, the Deputy Director of the Performing Arts Department, has emphasized the gradual implementation of websites and online broadcasting channels, utilizing technology platforms to offer paid programs and performances. This approach aims to attract audiences of all age groups and expand the reach of the performing arts industry.