Ambitious show on Vietnamese history falls flat

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Báo Tuổi Trẻ English - 50 month(s) ago 3 readings

The much hyped “Xin Chao” (Hello), a show featuring a mix of music and dance and depicting Vietnamese legends, has failed to amuse even Ho Chi Minh City’s undemanding audiences, thanks to its sloppiness.

Lac Long Quan and Au Co in "Xin Chao" Photo: Tuoi Tre

The show, which opened last Saturday, features three parts, namely the tales of Lac Long Quan and his wife Au Co, who are believed to be the ancestors of all Vietnamese, and the Trung Sisters, and contemporary life in Vietnam.

But its dazzling costumes, beautiful music, and professional artists performing in a beautiful setting were not enough to touch people’s hearts.

“This is the first time I’m coming to Vietnam,” Joe Michael of Ireland said. “I thought I would watch this show for a little knowledge on Vietnamese history. However, I think I should read a history book and come back to watch so that it will make more sense to me.”

Even though everyone received a brochure explaining the show, it was hard for the audience to keep pace. In the tale of Lac Long Quan and Au Co, Au Co looks like a flower rather than the mother of the first 100 Vietnamese.

In the tale about the Trung Sisters who fought off Han Dynasty invaders, the Chinese troops look like aliens rather than fierce enemies.

Many tourists did not understand why Lac Long Quan and Au Co bid farewell or the myth that the first Vietnamese came from eggs since they only saw the two carrying something – that did not look like eggs -- and going different ways.

“I am Vietnamese but even I do not understand the performance; how can a foreign tourist get it?” a Vietnamese spectator wondered.

Many also wondered why the tragic story of the Trung Sisters who committed suicide was chosen instead of some brave feats by Vietnamese.

Laura Burke, the American producer and director who wrote the script for the show, explained in an exclusive interview to Tuoi Tre that she liked the Trung Sisters’ story and images of Vietnamese women always leave a deep impression, especially on foreign tourists.

But she said she will rewrite part of the brochure soon.

“Xin Chao” is in the same genre as Cirque du Soleil, a dramatic mix of circus arts and performances that originated in Canada and has since spread all the way to Japan and Macau.

The show is held every evening at 6:00 pm this week at the Ho Chi Minh City Circus Theater at the September 23 Park, District 1.

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