Nicuraguan director mixes business with pleasure

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SaigonTimes English - 36 month(s) ago 18 readings

Nicuraguan director mixes business with pleasure

Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ was so popular with city culture vultures that three extra shows will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Nicuraguan director mixes business with pleasure

By Huy Nguyen in HCMC

Director Jaime Zuniga from Nicaragua - Photo: Huy Nguyen
Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ was so popular with city culture vultures that three extra shows will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Irish author’s play, which debuted in English language at the Youth World Theatre of the HCMC College of Stage and Cinema on October 20, 21 and 22, was a huge success. The work, which is the creation of Dragonfly Theatre Co., presents to the public the first professional English language theatre in Vietnam that brings together Vietnamese and Western actors.

But even the bard would agree that the success of the play in the city had a helping hand from Nicuraguan director Jaime Zuniga.

Graduating in Business Economics in Central America, Zuniga came to Vietnam to work in Trade and Marketing for Damco in HCMC.

Although suffering from the usual business complaints of being busy and stressed, he still makes time for the arts. He quickly realized that Saigon has many art genres in English language for a foreigner, except drama.

“When I was student, I adored drama more than business, so I performed in more than 20 plays and I enrolled in a class to become a professional actor,” said Zuniga. “With that experience, I and a friend have gathered foreigners who love drama and live in HCMC to establish the drama troupe Dragonfly Theater to perform English plays.”

Firstly, the troupe performed in churches or at festivals for the international community in HCMC. The turning point was when Zuniga met Mai Phuong, a Vietnamese colleague in CAM Company and the idea of producing English plays was initiated.

After four months of preparation, the play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ directed by Zuniga has come to fruition.

The play has received many compliments and this is despite it featuring non-professional actors. For instance, Vietnamese actress Lan Phuong has presented long English dialogues fluently.

Zuniga insists the shows are not just for ex-pats but they also give Vietnamese students the chance to improve their English skills whilst enjoying the art.

Therefore, after each show, Zuniga hosts exchanges between actors and audiences.

Zuniga and the drama company are preparing to perform again in April. “I rely on the will and talent of Jaime and we are casting for the next play. Maybe we will also invite other directors to help us out,” said Phuong.

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