Where to enjoy best Vietnam water puppet show

Where to enjoy best Vietnam water puppet show

         1. Vietnam water puppet show at glance:

Vietnam water puppet show or water puppetry for short is a tradition dating back to 11th century which was originated in the villages of the Red River Delta in the northern part of Vietnam. Nowadays, Vietnam water puppet show is a unique and enticing variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition.

a. Performances:

  • About the puppets:

vietnam water puppet show

Before going further to discover more about Vietnam water puppet show, let’s learn some basic things about one of the most important factors of the show – the puppets.

vietnam water puppet show

The puppets are made of wood and then are lacquered. Each one can weigh up to 15 kg. A water puppet show is normally performed in a waist-deep pool. There is a bamboo screen to separate the main stage and the backstage where the puppeteers controlling those puppets.

  • About the puppeteers:

vietnam water puppet show

In each show, there are up to 8 puppeteers standing behind a spilt-bamboo screen and controlling those puppets. They will use a long bamboo rod which connects with the puppets and a string mechanism hidden beneath the water surface to direct the puppets.

vietnam water puppet show

Their work becomes even harder when winter comes. They need to stand in such cold water, control the puppets to create such impressive performances for audience.

  • About the content:

Traditionally, the content of Vietnam water puppet show tells stories about the daily life of Vietnamese farmers like tending cattle, cultivating, catching and netting fish, about communal entertainment like dragon or lion dancing, swimming contest, tug of war, or about historical legends like the history of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Vietnamese daily life inspires the show content.

With the creativity and the skills of the dedicated puppeteers, each performance has its own uniqueness demonstrating both the meaning of a certain story and the devotion of the puppeteers.

b. Performance venue:

In the past, water puppet show was one of the most expecting entertainment forms in the northern part of Vietnam. The show was held in the village ponds attracting plenty of villagers of all ages. Viewers needed to come to the venue early in order to have a better seat.

vietnam water puppet show
Water puppet show in village yard

Nowadays, modern water puppetry is performed in a pool of 4-m water square. The performance today occurs on one of the three venues including on traditional ponds in villages, on portable tanks set up for traveling performers or in a specialized building where there is a pool stage having been erected.

c. Music:

vietnam water puppet show
Traditional music instruments played in Vietnam water puppet show

Music plays a crucially important role to bring water puppet show more exquisite and incredible. Chèo (a form of opera singing in the northern of Vietnam) is usually played in water-puppet show. The puppeteers who control the puppets are the one who sing songs and tell the story conveying in the show.

d. “Tễu”:

vietnam water puppet show

Let learn about one of the funniest characters in water-puppet show – Chú tễu. In Vietnamese, Chú tễu means the man who tells jokes or the man who always makes people laugh. A normal water-puppet show will start with the greeting from Chú tễu, saying: Does it need for me to say my name? Then the whole villagers (acted by the puppeteers) response: If you don’t, who knows who you are then following a long of applause and laugh.

         2. Where to enjoy best Vietnam water puppet show:

Now it is time for us to check out, where to enjoy the enticing Vietnam water puppet show:

  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theater:

Address: 57 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Opening time: There are daily puppet shows at 3:30 PM, 5:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 8:00 PM, 9:15 PM. On Sunday, the latest show is on stage at 9:30 PM.

vietnam water puppet show

The ticket price is between 60.000 – 100.000 VND (about $3-5). You can buy the ticket either at doors or book in advance by contacting the theater:

  • Lotus Water Puppet Theater:

Address: 16 Le Thai To, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Opening time: Lotus Water Puppet Theater has excellent daily performances at 2:45 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:15 PM and 6:30 PM.

vietnam water puppet show
Lotus Water Puppet Theater – Photo from Internet
  • Vietnam Puppet Theater:

Address: 361 Truong Chinh Street, Nga Tu So, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi

Opening time: There is daily show at 5:00 PM and 6:30 PM.

vietnam water puppet show
Vietnam Puppet Theater

So now it is time for you to book a ticket and enjoy a show. Let us know how you feel after watching a Vietnam water puppet show. Share with us in the comment below. For more useful information when visiting Vietnam and its capital Hanoi, refer to some of our related articles below:

  1. Things to do in Hanoi
  2. Hanoi nightlife guides
  3. 5 Best food streets of Hanoi, Vietnam

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