Vietnamese drama artists, fans bewitched by Chinese plays


On Sunday night here in the Vietnamese capital, the Vietnamese adaption of "The Wilderness" made debut on the stage with a new name "Kim Tu".

XinhuaUpdated: July 24, 2018

Whenever curtains went down on the stage after each episode of "The Wilderness," one of the most famous plays by Chinese playwright Cao Yu and performed by Vietnamese artists, the audience would clap their hands enthusiatically.

Artists perform in the play "Kim Tu" in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, July 21, 2018. On Sunday night here in the Vietnamese capital, the Vietnamese adaption of "The Wilderness" made debut on the stage with a new name "Kim Tu". [Photo/Xinhua]

Cao Yu (1910-1996), one of the greatest playwrights of China, is best-known for such works as "Thunderstorm" (1933), "Sunrise" (1936), "The Wilderness" (1937) and "Peking Man" (1940).

On Sunday night here in the Vietnamese capital, the Vietnamese adaption of "The Wilderness" made debut on the stage with a new name "Kim Tu" (Jinzi -- the leading female character in the play), with the presence of officials from the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam, and audience from all walks of life.

"This is the first time Vietnamese people have known the Vietnamese version of 'The Wilderness' by Cao Yu. Being professional drama artists, we cannot miss such a great work by Chinese playwright Cao Yu. We want to show that great work on our Vietnamese stage," Nguyen The Vinh, former director of the Vietnam National Drama Theater, told Xinhua after the play ended.

"We want the Vietnamese people to know about another famous play by Chinese famous playwright Cao Yu," Vinh said, noting that among the three most well-known plays by Cao Yu, namely "Thunderstorm," "Sunrise" and "The Wilderness," local audience have now enjoyed two adaptions.

"Vietnamese people know 'Thunderstorm' some 30 years ago when the Vietnam Youth Theater made the Vietnamese version of it with the same name," he explained.

Works by Cao Yu in general and "The Wilderness" in particular have drawn great attention of both Vietnamese artists and audience due to their profound and humane content and stage performance.

"For me, the play is very meaningful. Watching the play, viewers can know how to live better, how to behave better in their families, sacrifice more and become less selfish," Lam Cuong, actor of the Vietnam National Drama Theater, who played Jiao Daxing in "Kim Tu" ("The Wilderness"), told Xinhua on Sunday.

One of Cuong's colleagues, actress Thu Ha, told Xinhua that she is deeply impressed by the family matters and ways of living raised by Cao Yu decades ago, but they remain relevant and meaningful in the present day.

Ha and Cuong's remarks were echoed by "Kim Tu"'s director, Chua Soo Pong, a stage director from Singapore.

"The play of Cao Yu highlights the severe fight in people's mind and heart, so the audience can drawn valuable lessons for them," the Singaporean director told Xinhua in Chinese on Sunday.

"With the Vietnamese adaption, we have added some Vietnamese elements in the clothing and dialogue, as well as focusing on the self-struggling and emotional contradictions of characters," stated the director.

Chua Soo Pong came to Vietnam and met Vietnamese famous actress Le Ngoc, founder of the Le Ngoc Drama Club, and they jointly developed the adaption of "The Wilderness."

"When I made Thunderstorm, I was determined that I had to make the Vietnamese version of The Wildness at any cost ... When meeting Dr. Chua Soo Pong, he advised me to make a great play which is influential. So I decided to make this play (Kim Tu)," Le Ngoc, who played the mother of Jiao Daxing, told Xinhua on Sunday.

Efforts of the artists have borne fruits. After rehearsals and the first official show, many viewers remained in the theater to offer them flowers, talk to them and take photos.

"Before watching this play tonight, I had no information about it. But after watching it, I was really impressed. This is a play performed by Vietnamese people but it maintains many Chinese characteristics," Nguyen The My, a specialist at Hanoi-based medical equipment company Vinamedical, told Xinhua after the show.

"This play helps the Vietnamese people, including youths have a new view about the Chinese culture. In the past, we mainly knew the Chinese culture through movies and songs. So this new view should be further developed," he added.

Like him, many Vietnamese artists and audiences told Xinhua that Vietnam and China should beef up cultural exchanges and cooperation, especially in performing arts.

"To contribute to the cultural exchanges between Vietnam and China, we will bring this adaption to the China-ASEAN Drama Festival in China. And we also plan to bring this play to the Cao Yu International Theater Festival in China next year," said Nguyen The Vinh.

Regarding the drama festival in China, Le Ngoc said she has attended it five times and will make it sixth in September.

"I am deeply interested in the Chinese culture, especially television films. I have watched most of the Chinese television films, especially historical ones. I have been determined to make this play to serve the Vietnamese audience and I will bring this play to the world to spread its impact to the world," the actress said.

Nguyen The My suggested that delegations of artists of Vietnam and China should visit the respective country to perform works of both guest country and host country.

"Even artists of the two countries can jointly perform in the same play. I think this is a marvelous form of cooperation. After such performances and other cultural exchanges, the friendship between the people will be strengthened a lot," My said.

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