Hanoi festival highlights Luu Quang Vu’s plays

Luu Quang Vu is one of the most prominent figures of Vietnam’s contemporary drama scene. A festival last month in Hanoi featured his 13 plays, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the death of the famed playwright. The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) reports.
Hanoians were treated to a special theatrical event, the festival of plays by talented playwright Luu Quang Vu in early September. The festival, which commemorated the 25th anniversary of the death of Vu, featured his 13 plays. Vu’s works now remain relevant to the present days and still appealing to the audiences.

The festival, organised by the Vietnam Stage Artists Association, took place from September 9 to 16 in Hanoi, involving nine art troupes, including the Vietnam Drama Theatre, The Youth Theatre, the Hanoi Cheo (traditional opera) Theatre and Hai Phong Cheo Theatre.

The best-known plays performed included “Hon Truong Ba Da Hang Thit” (Truong Ba’s Soul in a Butcher’s Body), “Trai Tim Trong Trang” (Pure Heart), “Ong Khong Phai La Bo Toi” (You Are Not My Dad), and “Mua Ha Cuoi Cung” (The Last Summer).

The newly-arranged performances, which combined cinematic and language techniques, greatly impressed the audience.

Written in the 1970s and 1980s, Vu’s plays tell stories about real life, containing lessons about honesty, courage, struggle and shunning the bad and the wrong ideas, which are still vitally relevant now.
Truong Nhuan, Director of the Youth Theatre, told VOV: “Luu Quang Vu was one of the most prominent figures of Vietnam’s contemporary drama scene. He has not yet been replaced in his role as the nation’s most important contemporary dramatist.”

The week-long festival saw crowds of audiences with major venues in Hanoi such as Workers’ Theatre, Dai Nam and Youth theaters all being fully occupied. Audiences of different ages experienced a range of different tones and moods.

The play “Truong Ba’s Soul in a Butcher’s Body” reflects the struggle between the soul and the body, between the lusts and the ideals in order for a person to become him/herself.
Family relations, changes in social norms, moral degradation and the lust for money are all themes of the play “You Are Not My Dad”.

Nhuan was much appreciative of Vu’s works: “Many professional theatres and troupes continue to stage Vu’s plays, demonstrating that his works unleashed the breath of life and connected with the public. His works bear humane characteristics and aggressively rage against the evil and wrong and yearn for social fairness.”

Killed in a traffic accident aged 41, when his talent had reached its maturity, Vu left a huge legacy of 50 scripts. They were of various genres and “Truong Ba’s Soul in a Butcher’s Body” became an eternal part of Vietnam’s theatrical history.

People’s Artist Doan Chau, former Director of the Vietnam Drama Theater, a friend and colleague of playwright Vu, told VOV:”We performed ‘Truong Ba’s Soul in a Butcher’s Body’ in a drama festival in Moscow in 1986. After watching it, a German critic said: ‘This is a bomb in the middle of the festival.’ It has stirred an explosion in Vietnam’s dramatic theatres.

“Later on, the play was staged in 30 states across the US and won acclaim from American audiences, most of whom were young people and students. So I think ‘Truong Ba’s Soul in a Butcher’s Body’ is a piece of work by Vu that will last forever.”

The Hanoi festival once again highlighted the stature of Luu Quang Vu, who helped elevate Vietnam’s drama to a peak that some contemporary artists can only dream of.-VNA

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