“À Ố Làng Phố means ‘from village to the city’”, explains Tuan Le, show director and founding member of the Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam. Le has performed with Cirque du Soleil and he was the head choreographer and co-creator for Toruk: The First Flight, the Avatar-inspired Cirque du Soleil show. When he returned to Vietnam after being away for more than 10 years, he felt disillusioned with what he saw.
“I saw a lot of performances…but I couldn’t see the identity of Vietnam circus at that time,” Le explains. The shows he saw mirrored classic Chinese and Russian circus but lacked an authentic, national feel. Traditional Vietnamese circus is less focused on risky technical feats and more on artistry and storytelling.
À Ố Làng Phố depicts the gradual transition from farming communities and small village life to modern metropolitan cities.
It’s a narrative that is told non-verbally using imaginative props and interpretive movement. It incorporates thrilling aerial stunts, acrobatics, contortion, juggling, and traditional dance. Modern elements such as beatbox and hip-hop are melded with traditional elements.
“We are using all the traditional instruments coming from Vietnam, but we don’t play folk songs on stage. We take the ability of each instrument and sound to create new ambiences,” says Le.
The show has been described as spectacular and stunning, yet also humorous and heart-warming. Le says Vietnamese performers have “a very joyful soul when they work.”
It’s their first time in Australia and Le can’t wait. “We are so, so excited that we can share our artistic dream and also share with the audience in Sydney about ‘What is Vietnam today.’ And I hope a lot of people will come and see the show.”
Jun 12-15. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. $39-$99+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneyoperahouse.com
By Rita Bratovich