Wednesday, March 08, 2006


SameStuff Theatre now has its own home with lots of new feature (theatre exercises, productions..)

Come on in!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Review on "Oe Oe" by Joe Ruelle

While experimental theatre is no stranger to the Bar Barracuda – “Do I look like I wanted to danced with her, come on baby stop worrying!” – patrons were treated to the real thing last week in what was a sharp and stimulating show.

Put on by Samestuff Theatre, a newly-formed group Vietnamese artists in their late teens and early-twenties, the show lasted for about an hour and drew a respectable audience of close to fifty.

The onstage action was limited to a single actress playing a baby in the womb, one of those theatrical conceptions that can easily lead to disaster if not done properly. Fortunately, however, the group pulled it off with smoothness to spare.

The setup was pretty simple: a small stage, a white sheet backdrop, a few flashlights, some masks, and some well-mixed sounds provided by director and group founder Ly Y Phan.

Sole stage performer Nguyen Vy Dung spent the show tied to the sheet backdrop by a small rope (i.e. the umbilical cord), while the rest of the actors ran around behind the backdrop, jumping, pounding, shadow-making and trying to pull the baby off stage (i.e. birth), an effort which was repeatedly – and often humorously – opposed.

There was some adept miming, a great bit in which mum and dad zapped the baby with an ultrasound (done with coloured lights and clever sound), some slick dancing and a lot of other cool ideas.

In truth, however, it becomes quite hard to describe these things as they were – one is tempted to use a lot of wispy adjectives and fluffy constructions that could apply to anything artistic, really – and so sometimes it’s best not to try.

Perhaps more telling than the show itself was the reaction of the audience. As I, the reviewer, watched the show I was actually shushed by a group of Vietnamese, which doesn’t happen very often, and was quite pleasing in a way, and I should add that I fully deserved the shushing, having been chatting too loudly during one of the moving bits.

All in all, it was a well-rehearsed and very professional show, and I was thoroughly impressed by how young and how good these kids are. Dung, especially, gave an well-timed and sharply crafted performance worthy of a fully-trained actress in any part of the world.

Of course theatre is a luxury for most Vietnamese actors – they all have jobs outside their art – and it’s hard to know where the group will go from here. But in the end some of us regular folks had a real experience, and as a theatre group, experimental or otherwise, that’s really all you can ask for.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

SameStuff Theatre on Time Out

After our performance on 11 February 2006 at Bar Barracuda, we received many positive comments from the audience. Thanks to the efforts of 7 members in SameStuff Theatre, besides performance work we had to run up and down taking care of every single thing.., huge amount of work.. but the result was worth the effort! Also thanks to everybody at Bar Barracuda for being so nice and helpful to us! The amount we raised is not much but enough to cover all the innitial investment of SameStuff Theatre, and enough for us to cover basic logistic needs without being too worried about the financial situation.

Our excitement was limitted because Dung, a very dear member to us, had to go and live abroad 3 days after the show.

Officially we now have 5 members.

Following are some comments from the audience:

"This is the first time I see something as fresh and real in Vietnam"

"it was really amazing to see so much going on in such a small space"

"It was very strong, I even dreamt about it that night"

"It's such a cool way to deal with the issue of gender preference"

" My organisation brings many artists and performers from Europe to Vietnam, but I like this better than all of them, much fresher! "

"We were suprised and confused because we couldn't believe a Vietnamese's show could have such expression, very daring, Vietnamese audience likes it!"

"I can't believe this is your first performance and that you just formed last month! I think you should try for Fringe Festival in Edinburgh"

"I rate this performance 8 out of 10, the idea of baby in the womb is not new, but the way you develop that idea is very creative"

You can read more about us in the current edition of Time Out Hanoi

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

You are invited

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Actors' faces for sale

So, as poor and desperate as we are, what can make fast money? Our own faces!!!!

Plaster of Paris is known for medical purpose. It was not easy to buy as Ly was refused once by Vietnam-Germany hospital because she didnot know what size her "doctor" recommended, several medical stores also confirmed that only V-G hospital sells plaster of paris.

A 20 cm roll of plaster paris costs 35 thousands VND, enough to make 2 faces. Mask-making is a great revenge tool as the mask-maker can add or remove detail on the mask while pretending to massage the "mold". It is also a great way for self-actualisation, Bang couldn't accept his own face, he is shock until now.. while everybody agrees the mask is his exact face!

"Alo, I am busy .. can't talk right now!"

A second before Bang got the shock of his life..

the hounted window

We are also competing to see whose face sold fastest.., and whose face will remain untouched. Wait until S.A.S

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Tough rehearsal

9.00 am: met at Ly's home for S.A.S preparation. The "young fairy" only got out of bed as we knocked on her door. However as she explained how she only went to be at 5am because of S.A.S, we forgave her!

We spent the afternoon for group reconstruction, we thought it must be tough for everybody but surprisingly things went by quite gently! We actually got to understand each other much better. As usual, there was a sad news: Doan can't be a regular group member any more as he is too busy with his study. It is a shocking news for us but we still hope to have his contribution.

Dung and Lan Anh stayed late to rehearse with Ly on the performance. Dung was extremely tired by then but she tried her best as S.A.S is important for SameStuff Theatre. "I am very worried and don't feel that confident but SameStuff members are very good at encouraging and reducing stress level. Even though I am tired but am soooo happy to do what I love, whatelse, surround me are wonderful friends: they know when to lie!" said Dung.

Thank Dave and Ly for sparing us their Saturday!

By Vy Dung

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Long live the ceiling fan!

We were really lucky to have Truong, a known hip hop dancer in Hanoi, helping our baby with technical part of hip-hop dancing. On a side note, Ly has been so excited and she is persuading Truong to trade hip hop with her salsa..

Many of SameStuff members are busy with their own work and study, but we are glad to still have time to rehearse and plan SameStuff's future. We hope S.A.S will be a successful event so that we don't have to hang our backdrop on a ceiling fan anymore. It's a cool innitiative for set changing as the scene can be flipped, but not when we want the fan to play its real function!!!

Apparently Bang was very excited with our new prop .It is shocking, but it is not what you think, m'kay? Have faith in us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Ly is making plaster-of-paris props for the performance. Most props in SameStuff are made by ourselves:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hip hop

We changed the performance to a less serious one, an unborn baby's mission. The unborn baby in our performance drinks coffee every morning, learns how to cry correctly, and dances hiphop. Tomorrow a hiphop dancer will come and help us in hip hop movements. By the way, any of you out there thinking you have got physical skills worth sharing, please contact us!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

We are Starving Artists

Tet is coming, but SameStuff team is working hard to prepare for S.A.S

We started well with Marina's warm-up. Notice the back drop, it took us 1 hour to set it up!!! The back drop is made of 2 table clothes stiched together, extended by nylon string. We need it for shadow experiment. If we zoom the photo further, you will see that one end of the back drop is tied to a pile of 3 tables laying on top of each other, while the other end is securely attached to the window.

The rehearsal space is actually a meeting room borrowed from the NGO Resource Centre (thank you so much for being so generous to us!). There were ocassions where the centre's visitors came in and out of the room finding themselves in shock as they realised how the meeting room was "artistically" transformed. You are welcome. We hope we were not too noisy..

4 hrs later, Thu was finding her way back to babyhood. It is not easy to be a baby when your movements are already very skillful. "Babyhood" is part of our performance .., it is a bit serious.. we are considering to make it more relax .., after all S.A.S is a fun event, we don't want the performance to be too heavy!

Han and Dung waiting for their turns. Saw our lighting? A cheap hallugen light with coloured plastic sheet, yet it provides beautiful effect!

Hey we love to share more but we have no idea what you like to know so drop your comments and ask us questions!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bye bye playwrights

Right, we are talking about devised theatre where a playwright means "very little right in the play". To be clearer, it means a responsible person who takes note and records every single words and detail while rest of the team are devising the piece, similar to a person who takes minute in a meeting.

That's how SameStuff team create theatre. Anything can come out of anything. history of a character could be suggested from the broken chair we sat on, mood of the scene we are working on could be inspired by the pimples on someone's face, the whole story could be driven from a 3 year old baby's singing..etc .. There are constant changes and revision of what we just decided on, for better. Every members are responsible and play equally important roles in the theatre making process, everybody contributes to the development of the story and the artistic expression. Ofcourse, the role of the director as a decision making head is the most important, if the performance is not about actors killing each other live on site!

"Theatre, after all, is a collaborative art: all the devising process does is take that collaboration a step further" (Peter Lathan)

Monday, January 09, 2006


Starving Artist Support is SameStuff's fundraising innitiative. This will be an event featuring selective international and vietnamese artists in Hanoi who are doing COOL stuff but too poor to support themselves. (Let's be honest here)

The event will be hosted for 50-70 guests who are artistic and financially generous. Interactive physical theatre, photo exhibition, ..and invisible stuff will sure make this event a memorable one. Keep checking our blog to get updated.

Animal abuse

Today we had a visitor who is our friend Marina, a professional dancer from Switzerland. We have not been able to exploit her yet, but her presence made us want to show off and we benefit that ourselves.

Interesting physical exercises led by Doan in the morning, yes, we enjoyed being animals, especially those that don't exist on earth. AND we would love to see how Doan plays the animal's a$$ that pokes up and down, carrying four other legs.

Since Ly is writing this, she was a wonderful facilitator for the afternoon session, apart from 45 minutes over time which proved how attractive the devising process was. No, seriously, we got beautiful images and cool stories on people's first and last time's experience of... (5 usd each and we will tell).

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Luckily we could borrow a large meeting room (yes, smooth floor and with a place to pee) for our activity this Sunday, and SameStuff will have its first physical rehearsal of the year in 8th January 06. For our coming production, we are still at an early stage of collecting devising material.

Notes for SameStuff members:

- Bring a bottle of drinkable water with you, we are saving every penny for the costume and set
- Wear something that wouldn't conveniently slip off while rehearsing
- I know it is Sunday and it is probably your only chance to sleep late, but please be there at 8.30am sharp, we are not always lucky to have this place for full day.
-stop suggesting Lenin Park for rehearsal place. It's too windy out there!

Rehearsal schedule:

Sunday 08 Jan 06
1.30pm- 4.30pm

NGO resource Center, F1 Building, La Thanh Hotel, 218 Doi Can, Hanoi

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Nguyen Lan Anh

Keep going and you will arrive, keep searching and you will find!

I believe that all efforts will give a result!

Nguyễn Lan Anh
DOB: 22 August 1984

I live and work by inspiration, and once I am in the mood, nothing can stop me!
SameStuff is one of such endless inspirations!

Hobbies: reading, travelling, I love and am addicted to those moments when I am passionate about arts.
Future plan: Ability to do multiple jobs. I don't want to have a lot of money, it only needs to be sufficient enough for me to do things I love.

Ideal: to be able to live by and do things I like

Email me

Phan Y Ly

Hi there,

I was born in 12 August 1981. Before founding SameStuff Theatre I used to work in United Nation Development Programmes and international Non-Government Organisation in Vietnam.

Though people always said I am artistic and "mad", I never thought of myself doing any serious arts. So like a good girl I went and took a degree in Sociology and Psychology, settled myself in a cozy office, by a small table, booking taxi and translating stuff. Of course I did try to make my spreadsheet fancier and my reports had more story elements than my colleagues'.. but that's an old story!

My lifestyle and belief pull me closer to artistic personalities, with these friends I found myself inspired to be the first Vietnamese Chevening scholar to do MA in Theatre and Media in Development in the UK.

Instead of "studying" other's art work, I found myself creating and breathing every bit of colour, sounds, movement.. I live happier. My friend Paul Zetter said "If something is inside you, it ought to come out.."

So, SameStuff Theatre is part of me that is finally exposed to the world. I am super lucky to have artistic support from SameStuff members. They are wonderful!

SameStuff Theatre is young, but we are full of ideas to chew on!

email me

Nguyen Huu Han

Born in 16/10/1984. I am also a member of Hanoi Reprodutive Health Theatre troupe.
Hobbies: Too many, but especially hanging out with girlfriend (hehe), stop your dirty thoughts, I meant going out for a drink or a movie.. If you want to learn about Reproductive Health ..stuff.. contact me

Dang Minh Thu

My name is Thu, a 23 year old student. 3 years ago I was lucky enough to be involved in a project called "Participatory Theatre in Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education for Young people" innitiated by World Population Foundation. Through this project I got to know many other artistic forms such as puppetry, improvisation, contemporary dance..

To gain better understanding of the society and human relation, I am also doing a degree in Social Work, and this in fact doesn't interfere at all to my passion for art.

For me, only Arts for people is the real art.

Email me

Phan Khanh Bang

I was born in 15 July 1988. When I was 15 I participated in a theatre training course by artists of the David Glass Ensemble and Vietnam Stage Artist Association.

We learned mime, physical theatre, dance, MC skills, directing, play writing, and especially acting. Besides we were also trained in group working and life skills. The special thing is in 9 months of training the teaching was conducted in a a totally new way that encourages our creativity. We didnot have to write and read, but learned from theatre games.

My strength is physical movement. Like many other at my age, I like travelling, living independent life.. and online games. I love to be a gamer but to be frank I have never been good enough to be the leader.

My favourite quotes:
“9/10 of wisedom is cleverness at the right time"
“Weights can't be exchanged for a scales, lengths can't be exchanged for a ruler"

Email me

Monday, January 02, 2006

Nguyen Vy Dung

..on 8 April 1983 a beautiful baby girl was born.. Her name is Nguyen Vy Dung and she is now 23 years old, she is also known as the 4rth most beautiful lady in SameStuff Theatre (by the way SameStuff Theatre has only 4 girls). And that girl is me!

I am also a member of Hanoi Reproductive Health theare group. In this group I was trained in many physical and theatrical skills. It was really wonderful because I could merge myself in creativity and new ideas.
However, when the group started performing, it was not as what I wished or imagined. There was very limited room for creativity or exploration, this is partly because the project focuses on students in schools, and definitely artistic aspect was not its priority.

I was afraid if this situation kept going the way it was, my artistic sense would go soon!

And then one day there was this "fairy" who came to me and said "Now there is a place for you to do whatever you want!" - note: the "fairy" is only 25 years old, I bet you know who she is! The team was ready, and now I am one of 7 members in SameStuff Theatre!

I love SameStuff and will do all I can for it! I also treasure RH Theatre group as without it I am not here today to be in SameStuff Theatre!

About us

SameStuff Theatre is a non-political, non-religious and non-government theatre group based in Hanoi. The group was formed by Phan Y Ly in November 2005. She just finished her MA in Theatre and Media for Development. For one year, the other 6 members were also trained in physical, improvisational and interactive theatre by actors and directors from the UK.

Devising and performing theatrical work through integration of different performing art techniques such as body movement, puppets, shadow, masks.., our work focuses on social issues, mostly those of young people. We look at issues that people are reluctant to touch on and hope to act as a reflector and stimulator to encourage discussion, sharing and learning among people. SameStuff Theatre is also a place for young artists to explore and experiment different performing art techniques while addressing social issues.

Below are some images recorded during our production "Life", improvised in a real market location.