Mediatheque
HUE TRADITIONAL THEATER: PRIDE AND WORRIMENT
Update: 08/04/2014 11:34:54
Actor Truong Tuan Hai – the manager of Hue Traditional Royal Theater of Arts said that Duyet Thi Duong Theater is the original performing environment so that artists can revive the royal arts including Hue royal theatrical art. Nonetheless, the great artisans who can afford to transmit professions to younger generations are getting older gradually; hence this transmission may not be done in the long term.
A scene in the play “the fire of Hong Son

Unavoidably, Nguyen dynasty is the most highlighted time of the theatrical art. In this period, there appeared many big-scale plays such as Van buu Trinh tuong, Quan Phuong Hien thuy, and so on. The famous play writers of this include Dao Tan, Nguyen Hien Dinh, Nguyen Gia Ngoan, Nguyen Van Dieu, and so on. The anonymous plays like Tam nu do vuong and Son hau have been the most traditionally special. Đào Duy Từ is the most contribive person in the royal theatrical art of Nguyen Lords’ reign, and the father if the play named “Sơn hậu”.

Hue is the only region nationwide that owns both the folk and scholarly music. According to the researchers, Ca Hue may originate from XVIIth till the middle of XVIIIth century – the hayday of Nguyen Lords’ period. In XIXth century, Ca Hue was actually formed with some pieces withdrawn from the Court Music such as Long ngam, Ngu doi thuong, Ngu doi ha, the ten royal continuous pieces; and the contribution of mandarins as well as noblemen in the lyric writing or music composing. As legend goes, Nguyen Phuc Chu Lord composed the “Ai Giang Nam”, the predecessor of the well-known “Nam ai”; and Tu Duc emperor basing on the piece “Khi tuong phung” of Northern Quan Ho Music to create the famous melody “Tu dai canh”, and so forth. Hence, Ca Hue has gradually been formed, developed, perfected and finally separated from its root to be an independent kind of music – the Chamber Music.

Hue theatrical art was shaped and developed in Nguyen royal palace. The Hue Reformed Chamber Music (Ca Kich Hue) was very universal in the mansions of Nguyen dynasty’s mandarins or those of the royalties even though it was borned latterly. Those were the original performing environment of the theatrical art. Ancient Hueans were always proud of these kinds of traditional arts.

Currently, Hue Royal Theatrical Art and Reformed Chamber Music have been rehabilitated and enhanced by Hue Traditional Royal Theater of Arts and Hue Reformed Chamber Music Theater. However, as stated by the authorities, the present public is no longer interested in the traditional theatrical arts; and the first reason of which is that the disappear of their original performing environments. Besides, the documents concerning these kinds of arts has not been many due to the lack of systematic storage. Such a fact has posted many hard headed problems in the traditional theatrical arts preservation and enhancement of Hue.

A scene in the theatrical play “The innermost confidence of an emperor about Thanh Thai emperor

Actor Truong Tuan Hai – the manager of Hue Traditional Royal Theater of Arts said that Duyet Thi Duong Theater is the original performing environment so that artists can revive the royal arts including Hue royal theatrical art. Nonetheless, the great artisans who can afford to transmit professions to younger generations are getting older gradually; hence this transmission may not be done in the long term. Late artisan La Chau, the last royal artisan of Hue royal theatrical play, proved that the his generation loves this art very much, but the younger ones are not much interested in it. This is one of the main reason reducing the descendants of these kinds of arts.

According to artist Nguyen Van Thanh – the chairman of Thua Thien Hue Theater Association, the traditional theatrical art’s artist needs a well-built curriculum with careful trainee recruitment and training. Without doing it, we may cope with a variety of difficulties, the first of which is that for several years the junior high school of Culture and Arts cannot manage to get students for the Traditional Theatrical Arts, especially those for Hue royal Play and dance. Furthermore, we need to build appropriate policies fostering “alive human treasure”, due to which the real artisans may thoroughly willing to transmit occupational techniques to younger generations, and the next artist generations practice their profession so that the quintessence of Hue traditional theatrical arts could not be lost.  

Trong Binh/translated by Y Nhi
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