Written by Nguyen Duc Tung for Hanoi Grapevine
Do not copy or re-post without permission from the author and Hanoi Grapevine.
On November 29th 2018, LucTeam theater crew, founded by director Tran Luc, celebrated its first “birthday” with the performance Insanity at French Institute in Hanoi – L’Espace.
Insanity is originally a masterpiece by the well-known writer Long Chuong and director Tran Hoat. The play tells the story about the dispute, concealment and dispersal of property in a long-time bourgeois family before the public-private partnership movement. During the decade from 1960 to 1970, Insanity had 2.000 performances. After that golden age, this comedy masterpiece gradually went into oblivion.
Since the beginning of 2018, LucTeam has repeatedly succeeded in bringing Insanity back to the stage. Through the hand of editor Do Tri Hung and director Tran Luc, the play became a cross-over between tradition and modernity. This intersection first appears in the artistic style of convention and expression. On the stage there is no scenery and only a few props. Through the actions of the actors, each audience will visualise the setting with their own imagination. This is a new style inspired by Cheo – a traditional Vietnamese theatre art form.
Still follow the story of the past age, LucTeam rebuilt the people in Insanity with very modern features. The audiences couldn’t help laughing when a character exclaimed an English sentence, Mr. Dai Cat sang along the melody of Pen Pineapple Apple Pen in a wild dream, or Mrs. Dai Cat mimicked the famous words used by the nowaday showbiz. The characters are also played by young actors who are students of director Tran Luc at the University of Theater and Performing Arts of Hanoi.
In addition, this version brings a more tolerant look to the old bourgeoisie. In order to have great fortune, they also had to spend a lot of capital and labor from many generations. The public-private partnership made them at risk of almost losing everything. In that situation, the madness of “insanity” is worth the sympathy.
Talking with the audience after the show, director Tran Luc shared that the reason theaters in Vietnam are at the “clinical death stage” is because most of the plays are expressed in psychological realism. With the new style, director Tran Luc hopes to attract more audiences to theatre art.