Monday, April 25, 2011

Vietnam water puppetry

Water puppetry is Vietnam age-old traditional culture with its own identities. The stage is the water surface, the closed-door house or puppets’ house or thuỷ đình (pagoda on water) is built in the middle of the pond or lake that looks like a communal house in Vietnam countryside.

Tourists are watching water puppetry 
The items to be played depict people’s dailylife activities or customs and habits. To have a finished puppet, it needs time and patience for chiseling, fitting, painting, decorating and dressing. The well-prepared puppets, the easier for controlling and the more interesting the performance is. Normally, puppets are made of sycamore wood because it’s light and tough finished puppets are vitalized by artists in harmony with characters in the play. Water puppets are traditional wooden carving, they are both realistic, poetic and romantic in roles of fishermen, fairies or musicians... Each puppet consists of two parts: the body and the base. The body is the floating part and the base is the underwater part for controlling most important is the control-board attached in the base and success lies in the movements, the action of puppets. Well-experienced artists have created for life, for younger generations variety of puppets and the control-boards. Puppets are controlled and directed by artists in the puppets’ house by pulling, pushing strings.
In water puppetry, music plays the vital part. With outdoor stage on water and no-word play except few poems or saying, music is inseparable, it’s to make merry the performance, to personify the characters, and to direct the acting.
Water-puppetry is a cultural tradition of the red river delta farming people. It helps the locals to preserve their villages’ identities, the nature of the farmers who are very hard-working and high-spirit in fighting against the enemy.     

                                                                      HÙNG VIỆT

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