Cai luong reinvented

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Playwright Linh Huyen is bringing the cai luong, a modern folk opera indigenous to south Vietnam, to theaters again this year in Ho Chi Minh City.

The shows will be held three times a week starting April 30 at Kim Chau Theater, located at 15-17 Nguyen Thai Binh Street, District 1.

To make the theater genre more appealing to urban audiences, Huyen reinvents the cai luong in different formats. The Friday show is tailored for children; on Saturdays, there is a social romance theme, and on Sundays, the cai luong tells a historical story.

The three weekend shows will last a little more than two hours, shorter than the usual three-hour long cai luongs. The shorter plays will have crisper dialogues and scenes rather than long songs.

Huyen first brought cai luong to HCMC last year with shows at the Opera House aimed at a primarily foreign audience. Ba chua tho Nom (The queen of Nom poetry), a play dedicated to Vietnamese female poet Ho Xuan Huong (1772-1822), premiered last May with a bilingual brochure and was highly appreciated, and will return to the stage this year.

Huyen is also collaborating with Bong Sen Song and Dance Theater on the project. The playwright has been applauded for trying to revive cai luong, an art form which is slowly slipping into obscurity.

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