Two leading theatres are working on a well known play as a special gesture to commemorate the 25th death anniversary of the late playwright Luu Quang Vu.

Hon Truong Ba Da hang Thit (Truong Ba’s Soul in a Butcher’s Body) will be performed by the Vietnam Drama Theatre and Youth Theatre at a festival in Hanoi next month to mark the occasion.

The Vietnam Drama Theatre is rehearsing the play under director Tu Mai while the Youth Theatre’s director Lan Huong is staging the work, written by Vu in 1981, in an experimental manner.

The playwright gives the classic Vietnamese story a contemporary twist, which has become a modern classic of Vietnamese theatre.

The play was first performed by the Vietnam Stage Theatre in the 1990s under the direction of Nguyen Dinh Nghi. The production earned a gold medal at the National Stage Festival.

It was also the first Vietnamese theatre production to debut at the Moscow International Theatre Festival, and was later staged in the US.

Director Tu Mai and the actors are committed to exploring their new roles, but are also worried because of the success of the original play.

Lan Huong wants to introduce an experimental stage production to audiences who have seen the play before.

Huong uses traditional dance from tuong (classical drama) in the new version.

The Youth Theatre will also rework another of Vu’s plays, Mua Ha Cuoi Cung (the Last Summer). The play was warmly welcomed by audiences and critics due to its educational theme at the time.

The play will be directed by Chi Trung who played the main role in the original version.

The festival will be held in August by the Vietnam Stage Artists Association in collaboration with the Hanoi Cheo Theatre (traditional opera), Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre (reformed opera) and Hai Phong Cheo Theatre.

A seminar on the life and achievements of Vu will be held at the festival, according to Le Tien Tho, chairman of the Vietnam Stage Artists Association.

Vu (1948-1988) was one of the most famous and talented Vietnamese playwrights. He wrote more than 50 plays, many of which are regarded as masterpieces.

During the time before the renewal period which began in mid-1980, these compositions had a great influence on Vietnamese people for their profound values.

He is also well-known as a great poet, with most of his work focusing on romantic and real themes. He was killed in a traffic accident along with his wife and their son when he was just 40 years old.-VNA