If you pay a visit to any place in the world, I find that it is a must for you to check out any traditional entertainment or performance of the community there for you to know and understand their culture better. As in Ho Chi Minh City, not many people knew as I have asked those that I know and have visited HCMC, have been to watch their traditional Vietnamese Water Puppetry. It may not be very popular to the tourists but if you have the opportunity to watch this unique peformance art, well please you should not miss it.
I was lucky to know about this because the first time I went here the 3R crew brought me here (in fact I went to the historical Co-Chi Tunnel but this time with my family we did not visit that place). I was very excited to share this experience with Ummi and Nana because I bet they too will be fascinated by it. Of course we would not understand a word of it but that's the whole beauty of it, to watch everything in the authentic feel and atmosphere of Vietnamese culture.
The day before we purchased the ticket at the venue of the show. We chose the 6.30 p.m performance.
Now it seems more tourists know about the Water Puppetry I was so happy. Tourists from all over the world waiting to watch the show.
The stage. A pool of water backdroped with a traditional Chinese architecture building prop. This art originated when the paddy fields were flooded, so they played puppets on the water to entertain themselves.
The lady on the very left remembered me I was surprised! I took a photo with her in 2008 and when she saw me she gave me the look that she remembered me and she beamed at me. =)
I brought home the pamphlet that explained the changes of scenes in this show, unfortunately I could not locate it in my oh so messy bedroom though I swore it was on my bed a few days back *sigh*. Thus the details below are taken from:
I hope that it will give you more understanding on its origin and significance of the show. =)
Mua Roi Nuoc or Water Puppet is a unique art which has it origin in the delta of the Red river in the tenth century. The farmers in this region devised a form of entertainment using what natural medium they can find in their environment. In ancient times, the ponds and the rice paddies after harvest were the stage for these impromptu shows. This art form is unique to North Vietnam and only finds its way to the world stage in recent years as a result of the normalized relation with the West. Today the Thang Long puppet troupe is the most well known in Ha Noi.
Modern, water puppetry is performed in a pool of water with the water surface being the stage. The puppeteers stand behind a screen and control the puppets using long bamboo rods and string mechanism hidden beneath the water surface. The puppets are carved out of wood and then lacquered and often weigh up to 15 kg. A traditional Vietnamese orchestra provides background music accompaniment. Singers of Cheo (a form of opera) with origin in north Vietnam sing songs which tell the story being acted out by the puppets.
The theme of the skits is rural and has a strong reference to Vietnamese folklore. It tells of day-to-day living in rural Vietnam and Vietnamese folk tales that are told by grandparents to their grandchildren. Stories of the harvest, of fishing and of festivals are highlighted. Legends and national history are also told through short skits. Many of the skits, especially those involving the tales of day-to-day living, often have a humorous twist.
Ok sadly the quality of my photos are really bad but I hope it will give you some glimpse of the show.
This one was call, this guy was fishing at the same time he was smoking. You could really smoke coming out of his ciggie like he was alive. =p
This one was wicked these two Phoenix birds were attracted to each other, and then they were mating with each other and then, popped an egg and a baby Phoenix. =D At the time they were mating, the excitement was shown with beautiful sparks of fireworks.
This was beautiful, the female dancers were dancing in lines and the way they moved in between each other was mesmerizing.