Japanese director inspired by true Vietnamese spirit hinh anh 1Director Tsuyoshi Sugiyama (third, left) and artists of Youth Theatre (Photo provided by Director Tsuyoshi Sugiyama)

Hanoi (VNA) – Tsuyoshi Sugiyama is a young Japanese director and a member of a group of hot new talents that are gradually asserting their name at home and abroad. The Vietnamese spirit has inspired the creation of some of his works.

The leading and talented Japanese director is known for his unique artistic style through decoding the world's classic theatrical works from a modern perspective.

Having been trained and influenced by the creative thinking of the theatrical scene in Europe, Tsuyoshi Sugiyama is currently a typical face of the generation of young directors who are gradually asserting their name at home and abroad.

He worked for the first time with Hanoi-based Youth Theatre in 2016 and now decided to stick with the theatre in particular and the Vietnamese stage in general to develop his artistic impressions. He talked to The Hanoi Times about his inspirations in Vietnam and what they mean to him.

The Japanese director said that he first came to Vietnam in 2016 on the occasion of the 3rd International Experimental Theatre Festival, bringing the play “The Seagull” (Chekhov) to the festival and winning the award for the best performance.

The then director of the Youth Theatre, Truong Nhuan, invited him to participate in an exchange with Hanoi's artists. After that, he also received an invitation to collaborate with the theatre to produce “Uncle Vanya”.

He then decided to stay on with the Youth Theatre in particular and the Vietnamese theater in general.

Sugiyama said that the biggest difficulty for him was language, along with the difference in the lifestyles of Vietnamese and Japanese.

Commenting on Vietnamese artists, Sugiyama held at they are very talented and passionate about the performing arts industry. Sometimes, they will recognise and exploit abilities that they don't realise they have as yet. The role of the director is to explore and suggest for actors to express their creativity and expression. “I'm trying really hard to do that,” he said.

“There is one memory that I cannot forget. That was when I was working on ‘Uncle Vanya’, and sometimes I felt stuck, unable to think of a way to express my ideas or find a direction in a certain scene. I would get angry and resentful with everyone around me. The actors were also very tired and stressed, but everyone stuck to the plan and no one showed an unpleasant attitude. On the contrary, they told jokes to make me and everyone laugh together. We made it through those difficult times. This was a completely new and exciting experience that I had never seen before in Japan.

“I think this is something special in the character of Vietnamese people. Even in difficult situations, people never get depressed, but they use laughter, humour, and optimism to overcome. This makes me feel really comfortable working here. It is the Vietnamese spirit that inspires me to find my creative direction.

“I am very happy to work in Vietnam. Actors always give me positive energy. They most certainly have talent here that is on par with artists in other countries. Only directors and managers need to motivate them, so that they feel their profession has meaning and value, that will certainly motivate them to contribute more.”

Sugiyama also discussed his positive impression of food in Hanoi as well as the local weather. “People are agile and straightforward. They will speak out if they do not feel OK about something. They are also open and caring of others,” he said.

“I like the Hanoi Old Quarter with its houses with an ancient culture, though the area is sometimes full of tourists. I like strolling in the quiet old streets. I also like parks with many trees and lakes which bring me peace and tranquility,” Sugiyama added./.