Private art troupe offers water puppet performances

September, 11/2022 - 16:20
The private art troupe Dừa Xanh (Green Coconut) is offering water puppet performances in Bến Tre Province’s Culture & Cinema Centre.
WATER PUPPETRY: Talented actors of Dừa Xanh, one of Bến Tre Province’s private art troupes, offer water puppet performances at the province's Culture and Cinema Centre. – Photo courtesy of the producer.

BẾN TRE – The private art troupe Dừa Xanh (Green Coconut) is offering water puppet performances in Bến Tre Province’s Culture and Cinema Centre.

The shows feature characters from Vietnamese fairy tales and highlight themes of love, friendship, bravery, self-respect and honesty.

Messages about patriotism and national heroes are also included.

Dừa Xanh actors have been working several hours a day to show off their skills in puppetry, music and dance.

“We spent a lot on building a stage to introduce water puppetry and its artists who have used their art to keep traditional Vietnamese theatre alive,” said Phạm Tấn Vũ, managing director and producer at Dừa Xanh.

“We hope Bến Tre people, particularly youngsters and children, will be entertained and learn more about the country’s culture and lifestyle through our puppetry.”

ANCIENT ART: In Việt Nam, water puppetry has been performed on a stage with a pool of water for a thousand years. Photo courtesy of the producer.

Water puppetry has been performed on a stage with a pool of water for a thousand years. Colourful puppets are made of wood and controlled from the chamber next to the stage by strings and underwater nests.

In Bến Tre, water puppet performances were popular in the 1980s but they have not caught much attention from young people in recent years.

“We offer talks about Vietnamese puppetry and its history and development during various periods after every show to help young audiences improve their knowledge on the art,” said puppeteer Tiến Hoà, the troupe’s art director.

Hoà had a deep passion for puppetry when he was a cải lương (reformed opera) actor for the Bến Tre Cải Lương Theatre in the 1970s and 80s. He worked for leading traditional theatres in Hậu Giang Province and HCM City.

After becoming involved in water puppetry in 1990, he began to use knowledge and experience in cải lương to enhance his skills on the new stage.

Hoà has trained a group of ten young actors of the Dừa Xanh troupe to be professional in water puppetry.

They are working on new shows called Trâu Đá Bóng (Buffaloes Play Football), Cá Chép Hoá Rồng (Carps Turn into Dragons) and Rồng Phun Lửa (Dragons Spit Fire), which are scheduled to debut next week.

"We will provide audiences a stage of light and sound effects,” Hoà said. – VNS

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