During social distancing, artist Trần Lực regularly posts funny status updates and humorous pictures on his Facebook page to entertain his friends, colleagues and fans as well as helping them cope with stress and anxiety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nhân Dân Cuối Tuần (People's Weekend) reporter Bình Nguyên Trang spoke to Trần Lực after he was shortlisted for People's Artist title which will be announced at the end of this year.
How do you feel during these social distancing days?
The greatest happiness for an artist is to be creative and to do his favourite things that he is passionate about.
For me, I'm the happiest when I'm filming or directing artists performing on the stage and even teaching at Hà Nội Academy of Theatre and Cinema.
But now all of us have to stay at home to maintain social distancing. Of course, it is a bit sad.
So what do you do in order to avoid boredom?
I have to find things to do because sitting still is boring. After all, wherever we are we still have to work, one way or another.
I entertain myself by learning clarinet. I practise for about two hours every day. I study myself. I explore the clarinet, communicate with it, think about it, read everything related to it. I feel its sound and its melody. It's amazing,
But it is basic only. After social distancing, I will study with a teacher. Plus, I spend an hour every day to practise my English and learn new lessons. I bought an English training app for my phone to help me.
I review my work and projects which are in progress. I also cook for my family and spend time to care my children and my very old father.
I don't want to waste much time and I try to not let boredom to occupy me. Life is very short and each of us only has a certain amount of time so we should spend time on meaningful work.
Talking about your theatre Lucteam, what will the theatre bring to audience after social distancing?
In the past two years, Lucteam has produced five different plays which have been well received by the audience. Everything that was going well but then had to stop because of the pandemic.
One of Lucteam's productions is Bạch Đàn Liễu (Eucalyptus) has just been finished and was going to be released. But it was stopped because of COVID-19.
With the current situation, there’s nothing we can do about it. However, I am thinking of ways the Lucteam theatre can be an online theatre.
Many people think that it is not advisable to make an online theatre because of its typical characteristics. And it is difficult to convey the beauty of stage.
But I think it can be done. The point is how to do it and what is the best way to do it.
In my profession, I'm pursuing expressionist theatre that utilises theatrical elements and scenery with exaggeration and distortion to deliver strong feelings and ideas to audiences.
It will require professional skills to stream the stage online.
Lucteam theatre has its own YouTube channel and after social distancing we will work again and carry out streaming our stage.
We will have our own way to stream the performance and we are ready to compete with other art genres on the internet.
Your mother was a famed traditional chèo (popular opera) performer but you are known as film star. Why didn’t you follow in her footsteps?
The stage is in my blood. When I was very small, my mother often carried me to the theatre. Her colleagues took care of me behind the scenes while she performed on stage.
Her acting Thị Kính character – one of the most popular of chèo – is so deeply embedded in my mind.
Since I was little, I have had the feeling of the stage and how it feels behind the scenes.
I learned by heart different extracts of chèo and I gathered my friends to act. I belong to the theatre but strangely I was drawn to film. Honestly, during my film career I always though about the theatre and nurtured my dream to do something with the theatre.
You are shortlisted for a People's Artist title. Do you think you should have had this award before?
My work is my love and my passion. It is my breath and I don't think much about awards.
I was given Meritorious Artist title thanks to my awards in film. For a long time, I don't have any award which is among important criteria for the title consideration.
Last year, the production Bạch Đàn Liễu earned me two golden prizes at the Hà Nội Theatre Festival. If I am given title People's Artist, I will be pleased. The title will help my students to know about my efforts and my devotion to the profession.
However, the most important thing to me is how the audience sees me. — VNS
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