Check Out the Water Puppets: Awesome!

Last update at 09/16/2011 04:04. By Hanoi Local Guide.
Check Out the Water Puppets: Awesome!

Check Out the Water Puppets: Awesome!
By Hanoi Local Guide


Today started out, as I mentioned yesterday, with water puppets!! Apparently, this is a traditional northern Vietnamese art form that's been around for centuries, highlighting peasant themes (which is probabaly why it survived communism) and some local legends (like the turtle and the sword). The puppeteers stand behind a decoratd curtain and use murky water to hide their submerged controls, moving the puppets with great skill accompanied by traditional music. The show is put on in the world's mustiest theater air conditioned by one small unit close to the stage. Luckily, we got fourth row seats so we got some relief from the heat -- the poor people in the top row must have swealtered. As it was, I could feel rivers of sweat run down my belly throughout much of the performance, especially given that I was seated between the two most overweight guys in the theater! In fact, Mike is over 300 pounds, and the little Vietnamese girl assigned the seat next to him looked less than pleased!
That being said, the performance was masterful. These guys are good, which shouldn't be surprising as they've performed around the world in venues like Lincoln Center in NYC. The jumping fish, the rice harvesting, the turtle legend were all done with great imagination. In one scene, two brightly decorated long-necked water birds, danced and rubbed and kissed and intertwined necks until, voila!, out popped an egg. Yes, there was a sex scene!! Avian waterpuppet porn! Eventually the egg hatched to become a small brightly colored bird, evoking applause from the crowd. It was very cool, in a puppet sort of way!
Beware: the water puppets are popular! The night before, we tried to buy tickets to a water puppet performance, but the theater was sold out so we left disappointed with tickets for Sunday morning (there's a sentence I never thought I'd write!).

Styles:

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Photos of Water puppet show
Water puppet show
Location Hanoi
Basin countries Vietnam

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