Vietnamese poet Nguyen Du’s most famous work, The Tale of Kieu, has been adapted into a stage play and performed by actors of the National Drama Theatre.
A scene in the stage adaptation of The Tale of Kieu
The play was adapted by Nguyen Hieu and directed by the theatre’s deputy director Pham Anh Tu.
Although not covering Kieu’s entire life, as the original work is 3,254 verses, the play still retains the legend’s value in portraying a cruel, chaotic and unjust society under dynastic rule some 200 years ago.
It was a society where money was in command and the common people, especially women, were brutally suppressed.
Nguyen Du’s work is also a beautiful song of love, filial piety, altruism, fidelity and heroism.
The adapted play lasts for about two hours with the ending scene depicting Kieu taking her own life by jumping into a river after fifteen years of pain and suffering since selling herself into prostitution in order to get money to bail out her father.
The play is a bold experiment of the National Drama Theatre incorporating a combination of songs and dances.
Instead of using platforms and stands as used in conventional theatre, director Anh Tu only used lotus flowers as scenery to represent the life of a human from budding to flourishing and withering, and a set of drums to express Kieu’s resentment.
In addition, more than 20 songs written by Giang Son bearing consonance with folk music made the play even more captivating.Actress Diem Huong, who plays the role of Kieu, was successful in depicting a Kieu who not only refused to give in to her fate but took up a fierce struggle for her right to live.