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Dao Thuc water puppetry, performance in Hanoi

17/02/07 (GMT+7)

Dao Thuc, a small village in Thuy Lam commune, Gia Lam district, Hanoi has over 300 year history of water puppetry. This form of local folk art has made the village famous at home and abroad. Tieu Phuong reports.

Dao Thuc water puppetry, performance in Hanoi

The head of the village’s water puppet troupe said it was hard to maintain the tradition at first. But now, more and more are familiar with the art, and local puppeteers can thrive on their occupation. In a recent performance in Thailand, many people came to see Vietnam’s water puppet. The troupe had to put on several shows a day. All puppeteers were happy, partly because they had additional income, but more importantly, their enthusiasm had been paid off.

Mr Nghi said he realised the revival of the traditional art began when they put on a performance in Hanoi. Just when the outdoor performance was about to begin, it started to rain. All the team feared that the audience would just leave, but many people still stood in the storm to see the show. The puppeteers and musicians were encouraged by that, and put on a wonderful show.

Although traditional water puppetry had gone on for over 300 years in this village, it was not until 27 years ago that the art really made a comeback and Mr. Nghi and other artisans recognised that it was necessary to revive the local tradition. He traveled from place to place to seek help. In 2001, the water communal house was built. The first performance was dedicated to the master of the trade, which had also made local villagers proud of their tradition.

Mr Nghi has studied local techniques, while innovating to help made the performance livelier. There have also been new plays written to add to the genre. The team has also designed a mobile pond so that they can perform in places without a natural pond. All of these are to make the artistic tradition more popular among art lovers.

Words are just words. If you have a chance, then go there and see it for yourself.

Vietnam performance video

(Source: ND)

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