On many other visits to Long Xuyen, I was so glad that my nanny took me to see some traditional operetta performances by a popular troupe called Phung Hao. My nanny, a young girl of sixteen or seventeen, was a fan of this kind of theater. But whenever she took me to see a show, I usually groaned each time and asked to be taken home in the middle of the show.
During one show, there was a female general by the name of Phan Le Hue who appeared on the stage and frightened me so much. She wore a long gaudy armored dress with a headdress adorned by two long pheasant feathers that looked like whips. She liked to hold those two whips, and her eyes became very round whenever she showed off her power. She also wore many colorful flags on her back. She waved her sword strongly and swiftly while yelling very loud. The most terrifying moment to me was when she was laid in the coffin, supposedly dead; but when the firecrackers exploded noisily, she suddenly opened the casket cover and arose from death.
This scene was too much for me, and I closed my eyes and insisted on going home. My nanny was really angry, and she threatened never to take me to see another show ever again. Another time, I saw a new operetta show, performed by a troupe called Viet Hung Minh Chi. This was a "cowboy" play with gunfire, and the actors even performed on a flying trapeze over the small theatre. I also got a great fright from the deafening sound of the guns --- actually firecrackers ---and from the burning smell.