A play titled “Me oi, con sap lon!” (Mom, I’m growing up!), recently staged in Hanoi, sends a heartfelt message to adults on how to shield kids from abuse, and commemorates the World Day Against Child Labor, June 12, established by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO).
With a simple, everyday storyline and plain stage décor, the thought-provoking play, which includes English subtitles, deeply moved local and foreign audiences and left them pondering their treatment of the kids around them.
The play revolves around Han and Ha, two teenage girls, aged around 14, who leave their hometown to work as domestic helpers in a bustling city.
Exposed to hostile attitudes and scolding from their employers, and sexually hungry looks from drunken men, the sensitive girls are agonizingly vulnerable.
Accused of theft by her employer, Han boldly stands her ground and maintains her innocence. She then insists that her mother let her return home, where she will resume school and work in the fields to earn money and pay off their debts.
Unlike Han, who has a happy ending, Ha has no choice but to resign herself to her fate, which leaves the painful question for viewers of how to get girls like Ha back to school and give her a rewarding childhood.
“It seems that our stage directors have overlooked child abuse, a good subject matter. As soon as the ILO made the order, I quickly finished this script, perhaps as what has happened with kids around us every day has greatly inspired and pushed me,” said the play’s director, Nguyen Si Tien.
The 70-minute play, funded by the ILO, was recorded and broadcast by local ANTV, and will also be released on DVD.
Tien hopes to take his play to other cities and provinces for greater effectiveness in spreading his message against child abuse.