À Ố Show is a new kind of art performance commonly acknowledged globally as [new circus]. The show surpasses all the limits that was previously constructed by many other art shows in Vietnam over the years. Audience is offered the opportunity to let loose their imagination once they are set off by the visual creation and lighting of each performance. The word “amazed” does not even begin to describe it the moment the audience see themselves walking on a small walkway of the sweet and breezy Southern Vietnam, wondering pass the surging dunes of the Southern Central only to find themselves ended up in front of a lotus swamp. Every now and then audience can hear echoes of a southern chanty and the traditional music of “Don Ca Tai Tu”. All the details that are portraited and recorded of the show reflect the spirit of the Vietnamese people and their heritage.
The chastity of bamboo, basket boat and its use in the daily life of many Vietnamese are leading visuals for the show. À Ố Show- has no script, no climax and no sequence. During the 60 minutes of the show, the audience is gently introduced to many different tones of emotion as some may see flashes of their own reflection through the vivid yet poetical render. À Ố Show- may still be within the path of pursuing perfection but it does take pride in providing audience an hour long of peace, comfort and serenity mixed with astonishment and joy. It is almost as if the audience were captured in a Vietnamese dream of life, survival, love and everything else in between.
“See it before the world talks about it”. Because “it can change any guidebook about Vietnam you have ever seen”. Is the show so special as the producer believes it is?
This question can not be answered at this time but it is sure that A O Show- changed the normal conception of a drama-circus. I thought that when I was attracted by the artists of A O Show-. I watched with concentration during the show of more than one hour, at the city theater. As a show of new circus, A O Show is a combination of opera music and contemporary circus to showcase a cultural story of Vienam at the period of expanding to the South. Artists dressed in the traditional costumes of Southern people, combined with a collection of instruments and gestures; describe the mode of production o local people.
When the screen opens, it is the opening of a legend, which is very artistic but familiar like daily life was “breathing” its natural breaths. You will be amazed at your first sight when the old theater is designed for the most classical kind of music – the Western chamber music turned into the simple space of the South with bamboo houses, baskets and creels. In the story, the Southern region of Vietnam is truly alive as if you were staying in some regions of the Mekong river delta. Skillful artists create rope bridges, bamboo sticks combined with the images of boat women to form a charming water region of the South. All symbolic images of local ,people are vibrant in the traditional music.
“To create a true representation, we use the main properties of coracles and bamboos in keeping with what the local people used. Particularly in A O Show, five instrumentalists play Vietnamese traditional music lively”, the coordinator of the show sharing his expertise.
And when the music is turned up, it seems the audiences cannot find the gap between the subjects – the artists and their instruments. All are blended with each other to open the flow of life on stage, with the river, wharf, and floating market, the long-handles bucket, bailing out water to catch fish and local specialties. These appear closely to local people, longingly to Vietnamese people, who are living far away from home and surprisingly to those, who first visit Vietnam. The scene that makes me feel most emotional is an old instrumentalist playing Southern traditional music on a violin going down from the stage to the audiences. Then, the final scene closes the show with an actress dressed in a brassiere sitting on a coracle in the gentle music under the rain and red leaves fall around her…
A O Show- is named after two words of “lang”, which means village and “pho”, which means city. These two scenes of the show, the first part about the village, which reflects the simple and plain features of Southern region, and the rest of the show about the city, which manifests the lifestyle of the contemporary Saigon city. A O, which means Ah and Oh also expresses two states of emotion during the show. You will speak off-hand that “Ah, this is … ” when watching close the images of Southern people and “Oh” with cheery laughter when watching scenes of roadside restaurants, fitness, love stories or even the scene of power – the “iceberg” of Saigon aroused by the professional performances of artists.
Arranged by Vietnamese – international directors, A O Show is an adjustment, mixing quality and quantity between the real art of opera and circus, the music and purpose of introducing Vietnamese culture to audiences, especially foreigners in Saigon and Vietnam. Therefore, the show is not difficult to understand but brings about exciting experiences whoever you are, Vietnamese or foreigner. “All is wonderful, from the movement of actors and actresses to music and voices. They help me feel the deep culture of the people of Vietnam that I have never had a chance to understand before”, Lexi Keller, an audience member.
The show takes place with its natural stories, in which the storytellers are 16 artists from circus and stuntmen in the harmonious music melodies played by instrumentalists. In respect to creation and encouragement for the inspiration of artists, directors give artists 20% freedom to perform in the show. They move and move continuously and exactly in every action, full of emotion with inspiring movements. “I always feel excited before the show and I never feel bored”, an actor shared his feelings after the show while he was bathed in sweat and smiled as if he had finished a mission. This may be why both actors and audiences feel no boredom in the show, even though they watch it many times and the show is performed 10 times a week.
Launched in HCMC Opera House in the beginning of 2013, A O Show is a new choice for those, who love the opera and contemporary circus. It is not simply for international visitors of Saigon and Vietnam as the first objectives of the show’s producers.
Rickmansworth, United Kingdom
This was probably one of the best shows that I have enjoyed ever.The choreography was excellent ,the acrobatic element superb and the props visually pleasing and rustic,the music blended perfectly.I am pleased that we saw this at the end of our trip as we were better able to appreciate how well the company caught the essence of Vietnamese life.The acts flowed from the energetic to the tabloid to the serene .Truly memorable!
A great show and experience, and honestly one of the few thing in Saigon that gives you a hint of the modern vietnamese lifestyle but also of the past. Deeply appreciated, all the dancers were amazing. A show that everyone must see.
This show is brilliant.
depicting the changes in Vietnam from rural country side to the urbanisational changes of today. Extremely professional and entertaining. Well worth the visit, also lovely setting in the beautiful opera house.
So my boyfriend said he had a surprise for me, I should dress up (even though he was sure there would be people in shorts and sandals) and be ready for anything. I had no idea where we were going and all he would say is “it will either be REALLY cheesy or REALLY cool”! It was definitely REALLY cool. What an amazing show and experience, I loved how they showed the changes from the countryside to the city. You could see the excitement and passion on every single performers face. The choreography was outstanding and every beat of every tune fitted so well. BRAVO to the AO team – wishing you so much success.
The OA show gets good reviews and rightly so. Good family entertainment. We parents liked it, as did the kids (11 and 13). Masterfully choreographed, played in the opera building which is beautifully maintained yet quaint.A cup of tea before the show, and then true dance/acrobatics. A pleasure for the eye. A must if you have the time!
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