“Serendipity of the Huong (Perfume) River”, an art show to highlight the daily life on Huong River in Hue City, regretably failed to entertain audiences at the ongoing biennial cultural event, Hue Festival 2018.
|An act of the show, Am vong song Huong in Hue Festival 2018. - VNS Photo Phuoc Buu |
“Serendipity of the Huong River”, or Am vong song Huong, aims to tell stories to highlight the importance of this poetic and famous river to Hue’s residents. Setting up a bamboo foundation for the stage with decorative structures on it required months of work.
The show was developed as a play, which aimed to offer audiences the familiar scenes of Hue and showcase the music and culture of the former imperial city.
It was co-organised by the Voice of Việt Nam and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It was directed by a writer from the central province of Quang Binh.
Huong River, the biggest in the locality, starts at the border with Laos and runs along outlying districts and across the city to meet the sea. It beautifies the city’s landscape and is included in many historical references about Hue. The river is part of local pride.
But more than half the audience who had gathered for the two-hour show left their seats 45 minutes after the show began.
The failure of the show was attributed to a weak storyline, vague linkage between the acts, unfocused stage and unconvincing tableaux showcasing the river-related daily life in Hue.
A large part of the audience found it hard to understand the storyline for many of the acts..
The stage was set on a river, with symbolic structures of a pagoda, bamboo ranges, a resting station, bamboo bridges, rural roads and a riverbank. But it was a large stage and the acts coincided with one another, confusing the audience.
In several acts, the actors dressed up in both old style and modern costumes, and the audience was unable to comprehend if they were trying to portray the past of Hue or the city’s present time.
The music comprised the archaic ca Hue singing, local lullabies, songs by the late native composer, Trinh Cong Son, and a little bit of Western rock, but instead of being melodious to the ears, it ended up being too loud.