Monday, December 6, 2010

Hanoi Water Puppets

I went and saw the water puppets show a few days ago. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Hanoi and it has taken me a year and a half to get there. It is very popular and the theatre was sold out. Water puppetry is a form of traditional theatre that has been around Vietnam for a long time. Celine's mother bought me a ticket so I happily went along.

The show lasts for about 45 minutes and as the title suggests, it is a puppet show in a waist-deep pool of water. To the side is a small orchestra who either play musical instruments or sing and give commentary throughout the show; all in Vietnamese I might add.

The show is ok. The backdrop is a pagoda and behind a screen men and women puppeteers stand in the water directing the puppets. The puppets are wooden and sit on the end of large rods. I can only hope the water is cleaner than the lakes of Hanoi. Either way it can't be the most enjoyable job.

The show follows a theme of Vietnamese tradition with many key symbols of their society appearing in the show. You will see dragons, rice fields and their workers, buffalo's and cows, conical hats, festivals, fishing etc. All these things make up a part of the Vietnamese culture; especially rural life.

The performance won't blow you away but the theatre is right in the centre of town and only costs $2 so it can easily be factored into your day. Make sure you book ahead because every other tourist in town is also planning on going.

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