Dân Trí - The Night of Mediumship in the Four Palaces Show of director Viet Tu

Post date 04/18/2018

The Night of Mediumship in the Four Palaces Show of director Viet Tu

After four years of research and staging, on the evening of February 27th, director Viet Tu launched the performance "Tu Phu (The Four Palaces)", a ritual performance inspired by the Mediumship (Hầu Đồng) in the Mother Goddess Belief of Vietnam, at Cong Nhan Theater in Hanoi.

A large, gold-plated set of paralets, paper horses and paper elephants were arranged as a masterpiece, providing an early experience of spiritual space, leading audiences before entering the main stage.


In front of the splendid stage of The Four Palaces, the audience began their journey into the spiritual realm with a combination of the most exquisite beauty of the Mother Goddess Belief, the Hau Dong (Mediumship) ceremony and the effect of sound, light and visual.


The image of Mother Goddess of Heaven in the Red token costume in the beginning of the performance.
Considered as one of the highest Mother Goddess in the system of belief, her appearance was
choreographed as she is walking down from heaven (with cloud effect and one solid light beam from the top)
Source: Viet Theatre

The Four Palaces is divided into three chapters, namely: The Reincarnation of The Second Lady of Highlands, The Reincarnation of The Tenth Price and The Reincarnation of The Little Princess of Highlands.


Performing on the stage, in addition to the invocation singers, there were two assistants. The two servants, who did not draw the attention so far, but on the stage of the Four Palaces, they became the main highlight with the coordination with the medium.


The two assistants helping the medium change her props (small torch) during the reincarnation of The
Little Fairy of Highlands – A goddess of joy, luck and a treasure keeper.  When supporting the medium,
two assistants not only cheer up the audiences with their happy facial appearance but also show
absolute respect in front of the medium who is representing the Mother Goddess.

Source: Viet Theatre


5.Co Be Thuong Ngan_7

The stage is decorated in layers, in which the last layer is a large screen for live performance combined
with rhythmic modern art, showing the suitable context for different layers. The approach of using
modern ideas to highlight traditional elements is a prime characteristic of director Viet Tu, who has
been experimenting this method in recent years.

Source: Viet Theatre

The performance of receiving incarnations of the deities with beautiful attires. In November 2015, the world-famous designer Kenzo, when watching The Four Palaces, gave special praise to performer Medium’s costumes.

From left to right: French Ambassador Jean Noel Poirier, world-class fashion designer Kenzo, director Viet Tu after a performance in Hanoi. Mr. Kenzo – Owner of Kenzo Fashion Brand spent his precious time in Hanoi with the Four Palaces Show and especially love the costumes because of their distinguished details and attachments.

Source: Viet Theatre


The costumes in “The Reincarnation of The Second Lady of Highlands” with plenty of distinguished
jewelry attachments. Since she is a nature lover, her costume changing process was the highlight
of her incarnation. Each accessory must be carefully attached to her costume by two assistants
while she performs as a calm and attractive Goddess.

Source: Viet Theatre

In accordance with the spirit of Hau Dong in the culture of Mother Goddess Belief, the medium showcases beautiful movements and gestures.


The beginning moment of The Four Palaces Show with special lighting effect. The medium walksinto stage
through theatrical fog, along with her two assistants. The effect was made to look like they are walking
from heaven to the stage, also the sign of transition between mortal and immortal worlds.

Source: Viet Theatre

The opening was very impressive with special lighting effects. The space inside the theater was immersed in incense, allowing audience to experience the spiritual culture of Mother Goddess Belief

To accomplish the performance, director Viet Tu spent three years researching and one year with the concept of staging. He shared the expectation to create an original Vietnamese ritual performance, to return the primitive beauty and clarity, also to honor the splendor and sophistication for all friends and foreigners coming to Vietnam.



Representatives of UNESCO in Vietnam, Vietnam’s National UNESCO Commission and the ambassadors
congratulated director Viet Tu (center) after the success of The Four Palaces.

Source: Viet Theatre

The play was also supported by information that in March 2015, with the consent of Prime Minister, Vietnam had sent a profile of “Pratice of The Viet Belief on Mother Goddess" to UNESCO. They wanted UNESCO to admit this ritual performance as “Intangible cultural heritage represented by humanity”. The profile will be reviewed by UNESCO in December 2016.

Nguyễn Hằng - Quý Đoàn


Source: Dan Tri