Juliet dons ao dai for new production

May 18, 2006


HCM CITY — Two American actors currently working with HCM City artists are swamping the traditional setting for Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s most famous play, for a modern Vietnamese one.

American director Mark Woollet and actress Candace Clift have been working with the city’s Theatre and Cinematography College since early April on a new production of the play.

Based in Lenox, Massachusetts at Shakespeare and Company, the two Americans specialise in training and educating directors, actresses and actors who regularly perform Shakespeare plays.

"Our experiment will combine Western and Eastern culture," Woollet said.

The play as staged in Viet Nam will use indigenous nha nhac (royal court music performed under the Nguyen Dynasty) and feature ao dai (Vietnamese long dress) and ao tu than (a four-panel traditional dress).

Woollet said that other features of Vietnamese culture would be included in the play to make the play even more relevant to local audiences.

Lan Huong, who plays Juliet, said she was able to learn more about Shakespeare through this new adaptation.

Ha Quang Van, head of HCM City’s Theatre and Cinematography College, said the play had often been performed in Viet Nam in the Western style with a Vietnamese director.

"This is the first Romeo and Juliet to feature Vietnamese culture and to be arranged by an American director. It promises to be fresh and interesting," Van added.

More than 20 students from the college will perform in the play. — VNS

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