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Tuong artists to perform at China-ASEAN Theatre Festival and Forum

 Artists from the Vietnam Tuong Theatre will perform at the China-ASEAN Theatre Festival and Forum, which opens in Nanning in China’s Guangxi province on November 27.

They will introduce tuong or hat boi (classical drama), a unique Vietnamese art that developed from a folk art into a royal art in the 17th century.
They will stage Thoai Khanh – Chau Tuan (Husband and Wife), a famous play featuring love and piety based on folk stories from the central provinces. It was first released in 1957 and has been restaged many times by artists from leading theatres in the country.

“We hope foreign audiences will learn about Vietnam's history, culture and lifestyle from the play,” said Pham Ngoc Tuan, director of the Vietnam Tuong Theatre.

“The China–ASEAN Theatre Festival and Forum is a chance for our actors, particularly young talents, to perform and share skills and experiences.”

Tuong consists of singing and dancing accompanied by music, and is highly stylised and filled with symbolism. Its themes include monarchist loyalty and patriotism which help define the play’s structure, language, music, struggles, and characters' personalities.

Artists often wear heavy costumes weighing up to 10 kilos. They use their body, from the fingers to the elbows to all of the muscles, to move on stage. They sing and dance at the same time while expressing the emotions of the characters.

Famous plays, such as Tran Binh Trong Tuan Tiet (National Hero Tran Binh Trong), Ho Nguyet Co Hoa Cao (Nguyet Co Turning into a Fox) and San Hau (The Reign), feature historical events and national heroes.

Skilled performers, such as People’s Artist Dinh Bang Phi and Meritorious Artist Huu Danh, who have decades of experience, are still working hard to honour tuong and keep traditional Vietnamese theatre alive.

In recent years, cultural authorities have offered new policies and projects to help tuong artists expand their art.

Vietnam first participated in the annual China-ASEAN Theatre Festival and Forum in 2013 and introduced outstanding performances in tuong, cai luong (reformed opera) and cheo (traditional opera) and Vietnamese drama.

This year, the festival has attracted several leading art troupes from ASEAN countries and China. The event will close on December 2./.