Thang Long Waterpuppet Theatre
57 Dinh Tien Hoang Street , Hanoi, Vietnam
Thang Long Waterpuppet Theatre Hanoi Reviews
Old Vietnamese artform Nov 06, 2009
The water puppet performance in the Thang Long Water puppet theatre in Hanoi is an old Vietnamese art form that should be on everybody’s must-see list when visiting Hanoi.
The performance entails a large water basin, the water surface is the stage. The puppets are wooden and handled by puppet players who are hidden behind a screen. There is also a small orchestra with two singers.
Before the performance you can get a free flyer that tells a bit about the story the puppets enact in several different languages. The story consists of short acts with slices of Vietnamese rural life, farmers in their fields and the enactment of historical events. The story is hard to follow, but it doesn’t really matter, it’s beautiful to look at.
You must keep in mind that if you don’t enjoy something like ballet, opera or a performance of a classical orchestra (which is also hard to follow at times), you probably won’t enjoy the water puppets. I was seated behind four Spanish people who were clearly bored and this was quite annoying. If you think Vietnamese water puppets may not be your thing: don’t go.
The Thang Long Water puppet theatre is small and many guided tours buy dozens of tickets at a time in advance. If you’re an individual traveler, it’s important to go to the theatre in the early morning (around nine o’clock). It’s likely you can get tickets for one of the performances that evening, but can’t be guaranteed. It’s best to buy tickets a day in advance.
There are three classes of tickets and although there are no ‘bad’ seats, it’s best to sit as close to the stage as is possible, because the puppets are not that big.
Please note: the journal entry for the Temple of Literature on november 6th contains two video fragments of the performance.
This website tells about the background and history of the water puppets:
Part of the Vietnam 2009 travel blog
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