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The Tale of Kieu on the puppetry stage

“The Fate of Kieu”, an experimental puppetry play inspired by the Vietnamese masterpiece “the Tale of Kieu” has been staged at the Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre, leaving unique impression in audiences.
Great poet Nguyen Du’s famous work “Tale of Kieu” has been the inspiration for many different art forms, including visualizations, drama, the traditional arts, and even in ballet. It has recently been adapted into a stage play performed by puppeteers for the first time. The play was adapted by the merited artist Le Chuc, writer Nguyen Hieu and directed people artist Nguyen Tien Dung.

The performance uses mainly puppets. 

Preparing for the performance.

The fate of Kieu is reflected clearly through puppets on the stage. 
In the play, the parts reflect the years Kieu had to suffer a continuous misery and misfortune through puppetry performances in a different space with lights, and traditional and contemporary music. Some characters whose figures and personality made audiences resent them, became funny in several scenes. 
At the 2019 International Experimental Stage Festival, the play won important awards, including a gold medal for the best play, the best director prize, the best visual artist award and two gold medals and five silvers for best actors and actresses.

The play was successful thanks to the contribution of many people, including the director, puppeteers, musician and designer. In puppetry, creating a suitable puppet for each character is an important phase which helps decide the soul of the performance. Artist Le Dinh Nguyen created the puppets for “the Fate of  Kieu” play. 

Puppets in the play are shaped by artist Le Dinh Nguyen.

The bargain scene between Ma Giam Sinh and Tu Ba.

Kieu meets Tu Hai. 

The scene “Tu Hai penalizes scoundrels that once buried Thuy Kieu's life”. 

The puppets look soulful, bringing different shades to the play. 

Hoan Thu's jealousy is reintroduced on the puppetry stage. 

The director edited and staged the show according to the language of the staging, which did not follow the chronological order of the Tale of Kieu. He selected a few culminating events in Thuy Kieu's life. From the calumniation of the silk seller, Vuong Ong's family fell into dire circumstances. Thuy Kieu had to serve twice in a brothel, twice as a servant, and had hardships for 15 years.

There were two fictional characters, such as Nguyen Du evoked in brush puppet and Dam Tien in a dan ty ba (plucked string instrument) that is a unique experiment of play and puppetry. Layers of the play gave many feelings to the audience. The play used mainly mask-puppets to reflect impressive characters. Thanks to the skillful hands of artist Le Dinh Nguyen, the soulful puppets brought essential shades to the play.

The puppetry play was successful also thanks to its soundtrack. People’s artist Nguyen Tien Dung used unique works by composers Nguyen Vinh Tien and Tran Duc Minh. In many scenes, the music contributed to making the play uplifting. In addition, the stage design was very impressive with the appearance of the silk ribbons that symbolized the lifetimes of Kieu.
Through the play, the Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre wants to touch upon contemporary social issues. The play has also created a new approach to performing the rich classical literature treasures of the country.

By Cong Dat - Translated by Nguyen Tuoi

Duyet Thi Duong Royal Theater

Duyet Thi Duong Royal Theater

Nestled within the Imperial City of Hue, Duyet Thi Duong Royal Theater beckons visitors to immerse themselves in a unique cultural experience, delving into the history and architecture of the Nguyen Dynasty while enjoying unforgettable performances of court music.