Water puppet theatre
Water Puppet Theater - Water
puppetry is a tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century CE
when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of
northern Vietnam. Today is Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique
variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition.
The puppets are
made out of wood and then lacquered. The shows are performed in a
waist-deep pool. A large rod supports the puppet under the water and is
used by the puppeteers, who are normally hidden behind a screen, to
control them. Thus the puppets appear to be moving over the water. When
the rice fields would flood, the villagers would entertain each other
using this form of puppet play.
This is considered to have
originated in the delta of the Red river in Vietnam in the 11th century
and the art remains highly developed today in this country. Some of the
earliest troupes were found in the Nguyen commune, Đong Hung district,
Thai Binh Province.
In ancient Vietnam, the rural Vietnamese
believed that spirits controlled all aspect of their lives, from the
kitchen to the rice paddies. The Vietnamese devised water puppetry as a
way to satisfy these spirits, and as a form of entertainment, using what
natural medium they could find in their environment. In ancient times,
the ponds and flooded rice paddies after harvest were the stage for
these impromptu shows. This art form is unique to North Vietnam and only
found its way to the world stage in recent years as a result of
normalized relations with the West.