|The opening peformance of the 4th International Experimental Theatre Festival on October 4 in Hanoi
The experimental plays have used technology, body language, light, sound, and music in some new and very creative ways.
The Vietnam Puppetry Theater incorporated the famous “Tale of Kieu,” an epic poem in Vietnamese written by Nguyễn Du in 1820, into its puppet play “The fate of Miss Kieu.” Israel’s pantomime play Bpoplar vividly depicted the protagonist’s madness without any spoken dialogue. Actor Dimitrios Marinos from a Greek troupe said: “Can’t avoid being experimental. I am not a classical actor. I don’t want to learn the role and just say my words. I want to find new ways, new styles, every time. This is my way. I like to see when I speak in Greek, I say the story in Greek, but not only in Greek story. It’s a global story.”
| The play "Eclipse" by Viet Lotus Theatre is performed on the opening day
Participating art troupes have shown great professionalism throughout the festival. People's Artist Le Tien Tho, Chairman of the Vietnam Stage Artists Association, said: “Rather than investing in technology or variety, some troupes has made a virtue of simplicity. For example, a South Korean troupe retold a massive novel using only 3 actors. 3 Indian actors performed Shakespeare's tragedy “Macbeth.”
Experimental theater encompasses many theatrical styles. Their innovative approach gives rise to new concepts and techniques in stage production. Tuan Giang of the Vietnam Stage Artists Association said: “Stage art in the 21st century emphasizes emotional expression. The emotions the audience experiences are the measure of the artists’ creativity.”
Spectator Thuy Hau was impressed with the acting in the Dragon Dream play by the Thang Long Puppetry Theatre. She said: “Controllers of water puppets used to hide behind a curtain during a performance. Now they perform in front of the audience, so we feel not only the emotions of the puppets but also the inner feelings of the artists. This heightens the impact on the audience.”
Experimental theater is not always accepted by the public and critics. But this fact does not prevent the artists from wanting to try new things. As Emeritus Artist Vo Thuy Duong puts it: “Art always triggers debate. It creates emotions which some might like and some might not. Artists like us want to challenge ourselves with experiments that in turn challenge the audience and expand the art.”