”HAT BOI” (also known as hát bộ, tuồng, luôn tuồng) is a traditional art form of opera of Vietnamese people (imported into Vietnam around the 13th century). ”HAT BOI” held an important role in the cultural treasure of Vietnam. ”HAT BOI” appears in all three regions of the country and each region has its own characteristics. In Saigon, the quintessence of Southern ”HAT BOI” is still passed on by generations of passionate artists although the road has never been easy.


Show Full Text

Audiences of the art are now the elders, Vietnamese youth are no longer sympathetic to this kind of cultural distinctive. Nowadays ”HAT BOI” are only present in the villages during the worshiping ceremonies. The tourism industry is also trying to maintain it to serve international travelers. However, there are still many limitations because each show is very costly, requiring a lot of efforts from the artist, which is mostly due to the face paint for the character in the script.

The art of face paint of ”HAT BOI” is a quintessence derived from Beijing Opera, which has a long history. At that time, people used masks that looked very fierce to ward off demons because they believed the demons were afraid of what was more violent than them. Stage art and face paint are developed and improved by the artists based on this meaning, making it a strict convention that creates interesting patterns on the face. These patterns will draw the audience into the expressions, emotions of the performers.

Performers usually do their own face paint without the help of others because they are deeply into each role so that they have mesmerized the patterns for that character. Drawing, coloring as well as applying the right color to the role requires the artist to have a high professional and artful skill.

In addition to acting, ”HAT BOI” performers are also like painters who have never attended a vocational school for painting before.

Unfortunately, due to the low income, the artists are not qualified to use the high-quality paints suitable for facial skin, they can only use cheap, low-quality products of unknown origin, where the paints will penetrate the skin when they sweat, which is very dangerous to health and can cause skin cancer for the artists.

If you have the chance to come to Vietnam, you will have the opportunity to enjoy this interesting cultural art.

More info: nguyenvuphuoc.com

”HAT BOI” is a traditional art form of opera of Vietnamese people (imported into Vietnam around the 13th century).

Stage art and face paint are developed and improved by the artists based on this meaning, making it a strict convention that creates interesting patterns on the face.

Audiences of the art are now the elders, Vietnamese youth are no longer sympathetic to this kind of cultural distinctive.

These patterns will draw the audience into the expressions, emotions of the performers.

Performers usually do their own face paint without the help of others because they are deeply into each role so that they have mesmerized the patterns for that character

Drawing, coloring as well as applying the right color to the role requires the artist to have a high professional and artful skill.

In addition to acting, ”HAT BOI” performers are also like painters who have never attended a vocational school for painting before.

Unfortunately, due to the low income, the artists are not qualified to use the high-quality paints suitable for facial skin, they can only use cheap, low-quality products of unknown origin, where the paints will penetrate the skin when they sweat, which is very dangerous to health and can cause skin cancer for the artists.

Nguyen Vu Phuoc Photographer and artists of Hat Boi