On a recent trip to Hanoi, I had read about going to see a water puppet show. Little did I know, that every museum and outdoor venue, had some sort of water puppet show. Not all are created equal, but according to our 6-year-old, it was the best thing about Hanoi.
We headed to Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi, and booked our tickets for the next night. We didn’t realize, just how popular it was, as they sold out pretty quickly. When we arrived, we were shown to our seats, and were told that there was a tour group that would be sitting in reserved seats, worried about our son’s hight, they moved us closer, and switched around the reserved seating so our son could see the whole performance. That was beyond kind!
The water show itself is set in waist deep water, the puppets are hand carved wood with a lacquer finish, attached to large bamboo shoots. One puppet ranges from 5-15 pounds. The puppeteer are standing in the waist deep water controlling each puppet going in and out of water.
The water puppet show itself is regional, and is a Vietnamese art form. The story being told through music and puppets is folklore, and is about the rural daily life of farming, fishing and daily life in Vietnam. We saw 4 different versions of the water puppet show in various places in Vietnam, each unique stories, but nothing quite beat the beauty of the one we saw at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.