Saturday, August 13, 2005

Water Puppets

Updated August 15, 2005>

Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
The number one tourist attraction in Hanoi is the Water Puppet Theater. Up to six times a day a troupe of marionette puppeteers stand in waist deep water behind the "stage" to work the puppets that are in the pool of water before the audience. The puppets are finely detailed. Click here for an enlargement.

The story tells how the kingdom is saved when a magic turtle appears from Hoan Kiem Lake to fight off invading dragons. Except for the magic animals, the play dramatizes a 15th century war between China and Vietnam.

Water puppetry started in the rice paddies as a harvest time form of entertainment and is now a uniquely Vietnamese cultural art form. The show include fireworks and is set to music by traditional instruments and songs.

Like most buildings in Vietnam, the air conditioning is fairly weak and souvenir fans are handed out at the beginning of the performance to help Westerners keep from wilting during the 70 minute performance.

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