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Asia Culture Center to present play by Korean, Vietnamese producers

By Hwang Joo-young

Published : Sept. 17, 2023 - 17:56

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Poster for Poster for "Ben Khong Chong" (ACC)

The Asia Culture Center in Gwangju is to present a play titled “Ben Khong Chong” ("Wharf of Widows"), a collaboration between South Korean and Vietnamese producers, on Saturday and Sunday.

The Korea Association of Performing Arts Producers and the Vietnam National Drama Theater showcased some 60 minutes of the play in 2022, as part of an ACC project aimed at promoting international cultural exchanges.

This year the play returns with its all-Vietnamese cast, along with an additional 30 minutes, enhanced by vibrant stage effects.

The main plot revolves around Nhan and her daughter Hanh Ying. Nhan lost her husband during the Dien Bien Phu battle of the First Indochina War while Hanh Ying lost her son during the Vietnam War. Hanh Ying gets divorced after the loss of her son.

Nonetheless, Nhan and Hanh Ying never cease to look for hope and happiness in life.

Pham Thi Thu Hong plays Hanh Ying in Pham Thi Thu Hong plays Hanh Ying in "Ben Khong Chong." (ACC)

In explaining the restaging of the play, the ACC said that “Ben Khong Chong,” themed around war and division, depicts the emotional background of the Vietnamese to which South Koreans may relate.

The play is based on the original novel written by Vietnamese writer Huong Duong and is directed by Korean director Kim Min-jeong. The VNDT’s Hoang Lam Tung joined as co-director.

The script was written by Korean playwright Han A-reum, who also wrote the script for South Korean musical "Hero."

“Ben Khong Chong” presents a vivid depiction of Vietnamese nature through various stage effects and multimedia elements, even bringing Vietnam’s Dinh River onto the stage.

Traditional Korean music, or gukak, and the traditional Vietnamese musical theater form known as cheo are also featured in the play.

The Vietnamese play will be presented with Korean subtitles. Ticket prices start at 10,000 won and can be purchased online at the ACC website.

The play is part of Asia Culture Week, which began Sept. 10 and goes to Sept. 24, during which a variety of events and programs aimed at enhancing cultural exchanges among Asian countries are being presented.

On Tuesday, the Asia Dance Community will hold a dance symposium at the ACC Archive & Research building in Gwangju. A variety of Asian mask dance performances, from South Korea’s talchum to Thailand’s khon, Nepal’s lakhe and Bangladesh’s gomira will be staged. Performances are free of charge and reservations can be made via the ACC website.

A wall-painting exhibition named “Asia Panorama,” where Indian and Indonesian artists will exhibit their own works and collaborations, will also be held at the ACC’s Bamboo Garden through Sept. 24.