The most recent is the musical “Song” (Waves) - inspired by the beauty in poetry and the life of poetess Xuan Quynh. Musical director: Nguyen Trieu Duong; stage director: Dao Duy Anh; screenwriter: Kim Thuy; general director: Merited Artist Cao Ngoc Anh, choreographed by the The Youth Teater... And “Song” was performed at two major cultural and economic centers of the country, Hanoi and HCMC.
Recently in Vietnam, public audience- art lovers- has been noted to have positive change: they have been more interested in modern musicals. Those of Broadway-styles and pure Vietnamese contents- those which are close to modern life and easy to understand and of high entertainment- have been onstage more frequently.
In our opinion, the musical is divided into two parts. The first part of it is the pure love of a beautiful dancer who loves writing poetry with the musician Trong Khoa. They soon get married and have a son together. Their difficult life and family conflicts separate the two.
In the second part, Xuan Quynh becomes a life mate and poet friend with Dang Duong- a famous poet and playwright... The image of the character is also the image of Luu Quang Vu- a poet and a playwright. They together go through all ups and downs, but they are happy together with their three children in a cramped house.
When Dang Duong achieved many successes in the profession, in the arts with business trips away from home, Xuan Quynh’s heart disease recurred. That was also the time when she began to wonder about her life, dreams and true love with many internal struggles in this female character.
And when Dang Duong has many successes in his career and is busy with business trips away from home, Xuan Quynh’s heart disease recurs. That is also the time when she begins to wonder about her life, dreams and true love with many internal struggles in the female character.
With “Song” - through the contemporary musical form of Western Broadway, the person, life and art of a talented woman who is full of desires to love and dedicate has been successfully and creatively restored in form, in colors of a musical. Perhaps, the composer wishes to convey a message about the beauty of a living personality with courage, commitment and sacrifice, about one who turns her dreams in to reality on the way seeking happiness.
It is an interesting thing to know all lyrics in the musical were taken from Xuan Quynh’s famous poems as Song (Waves), Con Yeu Me (I Love You), Tu Hat (Singing Alone), Mat cua Troi Xanh (Eyes of the Sky), Neu Ngay Mai Em Khong Lam Tho Nua (If Tomorrow I Do Not Write Poems Anymore), Nha Chat (Cramped House)... And the poem Thuyen va Bien (Boat and Sea) has been used through the musical, it is suitable to all contents and degrees of psychology and space. The success of the musical is the fact that it reached the threshold of the audience: compassion.
I came to the musical night because I am fascinated by Xuan Quynh’s delicate poems with inner depth, conveying in them the desire to live, the longing for love which is hidden deep in her passionate and lyrical poems. It can be said that the poetry and image of Xuan Quynh have been kept and engraved in minds and hearts of many modern poetry lovers. “Song” has resonated with the simple storytelling, the characters’ real life combined with music, acting and dancing... The characters in the musical have expressed and brought the audience through different tones of feelings.
However, in my opinion, many parts the musical still suffers from a discrete “syndrome”: not doing well in portraying characters and their personalities (a strong point of musicals). It has not shown it was changes and difficulties in life- waves of life- that created a poet Xuan Quynh and her beautiful verses. The audience had a feeling that the character is only a woman with a normal writing work. It is also easy for the audience to realize that too many songs are used in the musical and they are not enough to guide the audience’s emotions- bringing them the feeling of dragging in many scenes instead. In terms of costumes, props, and scene layouts, the life and context of the subsidized period have not yet been clearly restored.
The show has only been onstage in Hanoi and HCMC for a few nights, so it has not been able to be disseminated to the public as expected. And in our ideas, making a pure Vietnamese musical is indeed not an easy job, which requires much efforts and creation for a new direction. Perhaps the matter has to be related to other stages in the “supply chain”: training, composing, performing and long-time investment to the modern form of musical. And training is the most important factor for the development of a professional music. It is a good training that gives us good composers, performers, and critics.
So the question is how to have musicals both with pure Vietnamese characteristics and with cultural beauties in the world? How to inherit and develop traditional values in the language of music when we have not had artists, directors, composers who received basic and official training in the field? The answer of it is floating to the side of management agencies and specialized training agencies.
If we consider culture and art as the soul and internal force of the nation, shaping and promoting those values in the standards of the national tradition is of importance.