The Water Puppets

By Indira Permanasari

Here 'the third part’ of an article trip written by a female journalist in a media in Jakarta - Indonesia, "Kompas" June 18, 2013 - entitled "Hypnotize by Indochina’s Oasis". An interesting trip to Vietnam, hope you like it!


In the Old Quarter, Vietnam handicraft can be found ranging from lacquer, paintings of embroidery threads, silk scarves, until the key chains. And, when legs tired of jumping from one store to another, just stop at the coffee shop or pho stall (noodles inn) which spread on the street corners that so tempting. Vietnam coffee aroma and flavor is soft, drugging tongue and inject energy.

Interestingly, the cafes in the street does not provide the normal benches and tables, but the small chairs like stools, perhaps because of the narrow space. Knee must be willing to familiar tangent when the cafe was crowded. The coffee culture is not separated from the influence of French culture.

When tracing the town niches around the lake that I see the water puppet theater and decided to go inside. The water puppets art evolved in the Red River delta and practiced by the rice farmers for centuries.

The so-called "stage" in the theater room is swimming with the curtains around. A traditional Vietnamese orchestra with instruments drums, wooden bells, cymbals, horns, harps, gongs and bamboo flutes accompany the show.

Then, came the wooden dolls out of the water. The scene opens with dragon puppets dancing on the water and agile suddenly spouted. That afternoon, the story is played out in the form of a fragment of the Vietnamese culture. With songs, puppets, and performances, newcomer like me can get a glimpse of an idea about Vietnam ranging from paddy culture, dance, and spiritual. Each time the story changed, always the different doll figure appears from the water.

Puppet of wood like puppet show was apparently driven by a hidden bamboo under the water by the mastermind behind the curtain. At the end of the show, the puppeteers emerged from behind the curtain with their dolls, immersed in the waist water.

Natural northern Vietnam, mostly in the form of mountains, lakes, river deltas, swamps, and river networks apparently make its culture was not separated from the water. That’s why the puppet was also soaking in the water.

Continued to Part 4

(Source I Permanasari – travelKompas /Image Thang Long Water Puppets)


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