A special “tuong” or classical drama programme has been designed recently to serve foreign tourists as part of efforts by the Vietnam Theatre of Classical Drama to promote the traditional art form.

Tuong or classical drama is a combination of dialogue, dance, song and music that are highly stylised and imbued with symbolism.

In the “Royal Night” programme, the stage was designed as stunning as a real palace. From this “palace”, audiences were treated to a string of plays.

It can be renowned ones such as “Old man bringing young wife to festival” and the art of using a riding-whip to demonstrate horse dancing, a typical dance in tuong.

Additionally, the combination of tuong a n d chau van, a highly rhythmic and trance-oriented form of singing that often takes place during rituals , formed a new attraction to audiences.
What is the most attractive thing in the Royal Night programme is the display and interactive activities with the audience, right in the lobby of the theatre.

Spectators can dress up and put on make-up to look like typical characters in Tuong or learn how to use a riding-whip. For them, this is such an interesting experience to learn more about Vietnam ’s traditional art form.

Nguyen Gia Khoan, Vice Director of the Vietnam Theatre of Classical Drama said that in the art of tuong, make-up is the most excellent since it depicts clearly the personality of each character. Black and white colours go to malicious characters, while red goes to righteous ones.

“We are now working to publicise the art of tuong in general, and the make-up art in particular to foreign tourists. They can learn about the characters by painting colours on the masks themselves”, he said.

However, to some of the foreign audiences, it is quite difficult to understand the plays, because the very nature of tuong theatre is a combination of dialogue, dance, song and music. Screening subtitles is not enough.

Nguyen Manh Cuong, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism argued that Tuong art is one of the significant factors to lure more foreign visitors. However, over the past time, there has not been close coordination between the artists and travel agencies.

It will be perfect if travel agencies can learn about the demand of visitors then work with the artists to design suitable programmes to best serve the audiences, he explained.-VNA