28.01.2021, 01:18

Famous cải lương play from the 1980s to be restaged for Tết


Famous cải lương play from the 1980s to be restaged for Tết
A poster for Nang Xe Đa (Xe Đa), a cải lương (reformed opera) play staged by actors of the Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre in HCM City. (Photo courtesy of the theatre) 

Thu Anh 

HCM CITY— Meritorious Artist and cải lương star Phượng Loan and her colleagues from the HCM City-based Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre, one of the region’s leading traditional art troupes, will stage a famous play from the 1980s by the late playwright and poet Lưu Quang Vũ of Ha Noi. 

Loan plays Xe Đa, a beautiful and courageous woman, in Nang Xe Đa, a tragedy about love, jealousy and betrayal.  

The play depicts the love between Xe Đa and her husband, Prince Pơliem, who destroys his love and marriage with his extreme jealousy. 

Loan’s colleagues, Meritorious Artist Le Hồng Thắm and Cao Thuy Vi, also perform as young Xe Đa.  

Young actor Võ Minh Lam plays Prince Pơliem. 


Veteran and young actors of HCM City’s Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre will perform in the new version of the famous play Nang Xe Đa (Xe Đa), a production about love and betrayal. Performances will be held every night during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday which begins on February 12. (Photo courtesy of the theatre)

 The original version of Nang Xe Đa was written for cheo (traditional opera), a form of Vietnamese theatre in the North. The play helped its creator, scriptwriter Vũ, to become a phenomenon in the industry after its release in Ha Noi in 1982. Vũ worked with his father, author Lưu Quang Thuận, to write the play.

Vũ was born in 1948 in the northern province of Phu Thọ. At the age of 20, his first poems were co-printed with famous poet Bằng Viet. 

Vũ composed 53 short and long plays, hundreds of poems, short stories, and articles about stage art. His dramatic plays include Sống Mãi Tuổi 17 (Forever 17), Hồn Trương Ba, Da Hang Thịt (Trương Ba’s Soul, Butcher’s Body) and Lời Thề Thu 9 (The Ninth Pledge).

His works are considered timeless. His plays have been adapted for a range of art forms, including cheo, cải lương (reformed opera), water puppetry and drama. 

He was awarded the Hồ Chí Minh Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes in art and literature in Viet Nam, for his play Lời Thề Thu 9 in 2000.

In 1982, Nang Xe Đa was rewritten for cải lương by Ha Van of HCM City. Two years later, the play was first staged in a cải lương (reformed opera) version in HCM City, featuring young star Thanh Vi of Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre. The play had 1,800 performances in the city and southern provinces. 

“In my cải lương version in 2021, Nang Xe Đa will introduce the art in both old and new styles,” said the play’s director Hoa Hạ, who has worked in theatre for 25 years. 

“Our actors will offer true cải lương, a traditional genre of southern theatre which began in the early 1920s in the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta region, with modern technicques of performance.” 

“We will try our best to introduce the art closer to young people,” Hạ said in an interview with Người Lao Đong (Labourer) newspaper before the premiere on Saturday. 

Hạ hired young talents such as Lam, Quốc Thanh and Cẩm Ngọc because he wanted to “refresh the play".

“Our new shows will target young audiences. We want to encourage audiences to learn more about Vietnamese history and culture through theatre,” said the theatre’s director Phan Quốc Kiet. “We began to hire staff and investment for these special shows last year.” 

Nang Xe Đa will debut at 8pm on January 30 at Bến Thanh Theatre in District 1. It will be performed every night during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, which begins on February 12.—VNS






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