The Tuong Theatre (classical drama) has embarked on restoring a historical play titled Tieng Goi Non Song (Motherland's Call). It was written by Kinh Dan in 1962.

The play presents an account of an historical battle between southern Han troops from China and ingenious Vietnamese troops led by legendary General Ngo Quyen.

The battle, which took place on the Bach Dang River in 938, ended more than 1,000 years of Chinese domination of Vietnam, which began in 111BC.

The victory was based on the ingenious tactic of using sharpened tree trunks imbedded in the river to impale the invaders as the tide in the estuary receded. The win opened a new and almost continuous period of independence for the nation.

Ngo Quyen (897-944) was a Vietnamese general during the Southern Han Dynasty occupation of Giao Chau city in the Hong (Red River) Valley in northern Vietnam.

Pham Ngoc Tuan, director of the theatre, said the play was being revived because it not only won a golden medal at the National Stage Competition in 1962, but was connected to a major event in the nation's long history.

"It contributes to consolidating national patriotism and pride in each individual," he said.

The play is directed by Dang Ba Tai and stage designed by painter Nguyen Hoang Phong. Actor Xuan Quy, who has received a Meritorious Award, will act the main character, Ngo Quyen.

When first presented in 1962, the play was directed by Nguyen Dinh Phong with the participation of famous actors Quang Ton and Bach Tra and meritorious artist Van Thanh.

"It will be a great challenge for the artists to renew themselves. They will follow the original script, but add current news on national sovereignty in the East Sea," said Tuan.

The play is expected to be performed in September.

Tuong originated in the 12th century in Vietnam, but its growth occurred mainly in the 17th century in the central region. The art consists of dance, song, and music performed by artists skilled in masquerade.

Along with cheo (traditional opera) in the north and cai luong (reformed theatre) in the south, tuong is an integral part of Vietnamese culture.

The art was developed from a folk art into a royal art, and has themes eulogising loyalty to the monarch and patriotic duty.-VNA