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Performing traditional theater in Hanoi

Posted at: SATurday - 02/01/2016 18:35 - Viewed: 1357
Cai Luong artists Minh Canh & Canh Tran

Cai Luong artists Minh Canh & Canh Tran

Traditional theaters play an important role in Vietnamese culture. Despite the rapid development of contemporary art genres and the entertainment industry in Vietnam, traditional theaters continue to inspire both Vietnamese and foreign audience.
In Hanoi, traditional theater performances provide spectators a glimpse of Vietnamese culture and fuel the artists’ passion for folk styles.

Over the past four years, artists at the Cheo Theater in Kim Ma street have performed various types of traditional art pieces including classical Cheo plays and folk singing including Xam or street singing, Chau Van or ceremonial singing and Cua dinh or communal singing. Their spectators are both Vietnamese and foreigners. 

Emeritus Artist Thanh Ngoan, Director of the Vietnam Cheo Theater, said, “Every Friday night, we have five performances at our theater. Artists from two art troupes at our theater take turns performing. The programs for Vietnamese audiences are between one and one and a half hours and those for foreigners are between 30 and 45 minutes”.

A Cheo play featuring typical characteristics of Cheo traditional theater is a crucial part of all of the programs.

Performance at Kim Ma Theart

In order to further promote Cheo theater to Vietnamese and foreign audience, Cheo plays have been translated into English, French and Japanese. 

Emeritus Artist Thanh Ngoan shared, “We translated Cheo plays and briefly introduce the origin of Cheo theater in foreign languages are at the start of each performance. We also introduce each play to enable foreign audiences to understand the content. Each spectator has their own impression of the Cheo folk art genre through the songs, dances and gestures of Cheo artists. After the play, we spend 15 minutes interacting with the audience”.

In Hanoi Old Quarter, performances of various theater genres of different regions in Vietnam attract a large audience every Saturday night. 

A program introducing the cultures of the southern provinces has been applauded by both Vietnamese and foreign audiences.

Performance of traditional theater in Hanoi Old Quarter

Tran Quang Hung, Director of the Hanoi Cai Luong (Reformed Opera) Theater, noted, “We perform the famous play Cai Luong - Da co hoai lang or Missing husband whilst hearing drumbeat at midnight. We also introduce a number of tunes reflecting the cultures of the Red River Delta, the southern region and the central highlands. Songs and dances embracing the cultural identities of different regions in Vietnam are also performed in the 60-minute program”.

The Hanoi Cai Luong Theater also translated Cai Luong plays and songs into various languages to help foreign audiences understand them. At the end of each performance, spectators are invited to the stage to perform and talk with the artists. 

Mr. Hung stressed, “Bamboo dancing is the last part of our performance in which we invite the audience to join. We take photos with the spectators and send the photos via emails. They are very happy to get the photos”.

Performances of traditional theater around Hanoi have been well received by Vietnamese and foreign spectators. These performances increase their understanding of the Vietnamese culture and people.

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