Theatre in Vietnam as Critique of the Environmental and Social Crisis


Halfway through the 2010s, Vietnam started to face major environmental and social problems in the race for globalization. Vietnamese people have experienced a growing sense of anxiety and discomfort about the state of economy and started to realize that their priorities may include responding to wider environmental issues. Since 2003 a special satirical comedy named Gặp nhau cuối năm, literally meaning Year-End Gathering, also known as Táo Quân, has aired on the Vietnamese television. The show is a re-writing of the legend of the Kitchen Gods, three imaginary figures who supervise and give an account of every household to the Jade Emperor, the ruler of the world. Featuring their annual report to the Emperor, the show praises the improvements and criticizing the problems throughout the year through satirical narratives and parodic songs. Very popular among viewers for its hilariousness, the show also urges reflection on the social and environmental crisis and occasional indifference of the Gods. Its success calls for a reevaluation of theatre as a form of art that stimulates social awareness by intersecting entertainment and critique. This paper explores how the theatre can encourage people to develop critical thinking and take responsibility. It also assesses the use of satire and parody in Gặp nhau cuối năm, its effectiveness as a form of social critique entwining global and local concerns, the ways in which the TV can shape public opinion in Vietnam, and the people’s response to unsettling topics involving micro and macro levels of comprehension.

Author Information
Anh Cao, Hanoi University, Vietnam
Paola Spinozzi, University of Ferrara, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2020
Stream: Science

This paper is part of the ACAH2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Cao A., & Spinozzi P. (2020) Theatre in Vietnam as Critique of the Environmental and Social Crisis ISSN: 2186-229X – The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities 2020 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon