Water Puppet Show is a must-see show for tourists in Vietnam. By watching this show, you will fell like you escape from your busy life and refresh your minds with unforgettable moments. Now, come with us to explore this special art and understand more about Vietnam tradition and culture.
Table of contents
- 1 Where have Water Puppet Show?
- 2 Vietnam’s unique Water puppetry
- 3 History of Vietnam water puppet show
- 4 Contents of Water puppet show
Where have Water Puppet Show?
1. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
This is the place to visit for this traditional art-form, the only water puppet show running 365 days a year. It’s located next to Hoan Kiem Lake and within walking distance of the Old Quarter and many other Hanoi attractions.
Address: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi (Location on Google Map)
- Summer: 4:10 PM, 5:20 PM, 6:30 PM, 8:00 PM
- Winter: 3:00 PM, 4:10 PM, 5:20 PM, 6:30 PM, 8 PM, 9:15 PM
Sunday: 9:30 AM
- Adult: VND 100,000 per person
- Children under 1.2m: VND 60,000 per person
- Camera surcharge: VND 20,000 per camera
- Camcorder surcharge: VND 60,000 per camcorder
2. Lotus Water Puppet Theatre, Hanoi
If you don’t get a ticket for Thang Long, you can go to Lotus Water Puppet Theatre. Also located in Hanoi, you can witness the best puppet shows in here as well.
Address:16 Le Thai To, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam (Location on Google Map)
Daily-3:30 PM, 5:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 8:00 PM
Ticket fee: VND 100,000
Vietnam’s unique Water puppetry
Puppetry has existed in many parts of the world for as long as 4000 years. While Indonesia has shadow puppets, Japan has bunraku theatre with black-clad ninja puppeteers and in the US, people know Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and all the other members of the madcap Muppet gang, Việt Nam has an 800-year-old art form called traditional water puppetry, remarked Things Asian Press.And water puppetry is a unique traditional art form only seen in Vietnam..
Water puppetry is exactly as it sounds – puppets dancing and moving along the water, controlled by the invisible hands of the puppet masters. It is not just a great source of entertainment but also a form of art that needs extreme precision and tremendous practice. The art of puppetry developed mainly in the Northern region of Vietnam but it spread all over the country through the years.
History of Vietnam water puppet show
Puppetry is a traditional stage art form that has long existed of different ethnic groups in Vietnam. It has come into existence and developed together with the wet rice civilization since the Hung Kings founded the country.
According to the evidence of the art of water puppetry remaining today, this traditional art form appeared under the reign of Ly Nhan Tong in 1121. It is inscribed on Sùng Thiện Diên Linh Stone Stele placed in Long Ðọi Pagoda, Đội Sơn Commune, Duy Tiên district, Hà Nam province. The inscription says people performed water puppets in celebration of the birthday of the King.
Due to natural conditions and agricultural work of Vietnamese people which is closely linked to water, the farmers themselves created the art of water puppetry. They often offered water puppet shows during spring and festivals.
In the past, water puppet was only performed outdoor, during daytime. And water puppet stage was in harmony with natural scenery. Amidst romantic nature, viewers could enjoy an art form containing soil, water, green trees, clouds, winds with fire and smoke and a communal house with red tile roof. So it is really a unique harmony of the art, nature and humans.
Contents of Water puppet show
The theme of the skits tells of day-to-day living in rural Vietnam and Vietnamese folk tales that are told by grandparents to their grandchildren. In addition, stories of the harvest, of fishing and of festivals are highlighted.
Short skits also have contents of legends and national history. Many of the skits, especially those involving the tales of day-to-day living, often have a humorous twist.
Modern water puppetry occurs in a pool of water 4 meters square with the water surface being the stage. Performances occurs on scene like traditional ponds in Vietnam’s villages.
The stage and puppets are awash in vivid colors; colored lights and a foggy mist over the murky water add to the mystery. Especially, you can’t find realistic movements or sophisticated costumes found at puppet shows in other parts of Asia.
The shows takes place in a waist-deep pool. A large bamboo rod supports the puppets under the water and the puppeteers are normally hidden behind a screen control them. The wooden puppets used in Vietnamese water puppet shows are handmade and can weigh up to 30 pounds each. Up to 8 puppeteers stand behind a split-bamboo screen, decorated to resemble a temple facade, and control the puppets using long bamboo rods and string mechanism hidden beneath the water surface. The puppets enter from either side of the stage, or emerge from the murky depths of the water.
Music of performance
The last but not least is music. A traditional Vietnamese orchestra provides background music accompaniment. The instrumentation includes vocals, drums, wooden bells, cymbals, horns, Đàn bầu (monochord), gongs, and bamboo flutes. The bamboo flute’s clear, simple notes may accompany royalty while the drums and cymbals may loudly announce a fire-breathing dragon’s entrance.
Singers of chèo (a form of opera originating in north Vietnam) sing songs which tell the story being acted out by the puppets. The musicians and the puppets interact during performance. The musicians may yell a word of warning or a word of encouragement to a puppet. In order to preserve tradition, Vietnamese water puppet shows are typically performed with no English.
Above are all things about Water puppet show. If you would like to combine this show with tour, please refer Hanoi city tour full day.