Roi Nuoc is a traditional Vietnamese performance art using colorfully painted and costumed wooden puppets. They most closely resemble marionettes, with jointed arms, legs and heads. Roi Nuoc are controlled by a puppeteer by way of long poles that are hidden under water. The stage is a small pool, with a scenic backdrop, hiding the puppeteers. Performances are based on traditional folklore or historical events. Music and audio, either recorded or live, accompany the performances.
Puppetry is a traditional performing art long
existed among the ethnic groups living in Vietnam. It originated from
the wet rice civilization since the Hung Kings founded the country. The
Sung Thien Dien Linh stele erected at Long Doi Pagoda
Doi Son commune, Duy Tien district, in Ha Nam province in 1121 under
the Ly Dynasty bears the inscription that the puppet show was first
staged in honour of the Kingâ€™s longevity.
Under the natural
conditions and their agricultural activities, the Vietnamese people
have been close to the water. For this reason, Vietnamese peasants have
created water puppetry into a unique performing art of the country. In
the past, water puppet shows usually took place when the farm work had
been generally completed, in springtime or in village festivals. The
French called water puppetry with gentle puppet figures â€œThe soul of
the Vietnamese rice fieldsâ€, and commented, â€œWith creativeness and
sense of discovery, water puppetry can rank among the most important
performing art forms of the puppetry theaterâ€.
The way of using
water to activate the puppets and to hide the manipulating apparatus
and the maneuvering of the puppet figures constitute the most splendid
creativity. Water gives breath to puppet figures and makes them look
more lively and cheerful. Water is also involved in the show together
with the puppets as it was once commented, â€œWater also becomes a
character of the puppet showâ€. The peaceful water surface gently
undulating with a flock of swimming ducks becomes romantic in the
illusory veil of smoke when a group of fairies land for singing and
dancing. But it also becomes seething and furious during naval battles
or when powerful yellow dragons are emerging.
A French newspaper
article wrote: â€œThe puppet figures are manipulated with an unimaginable
cleverness. Itâ€™s like they are commanded by magic powerâ€. This is the
uniqueness, attractiveness and creativeness of water puppetry.
the past, water puppet shows used to be staged in the broad daylight
and in the open air. Few theatrical performances show such a perfect
harmony with the natural scenes as does the water puppet show. Amidst
romantic scenery, spectators have a chance to contemplate an artistic
genre in which land, water, green trees, cloud, wind, fire and smoke
are present, so are curved red tile-roofed communal houses. In fact
this is a perfect harmony between art, nature and human beings.
puppetry has been known with its two main genres: Stage puppetry and
water puppetry. Stage puppetry has several forms such as hand and rod
puppets from Dong Minh in Hai Phong Port City and Te Tieu in Ha Tay
province, string puppets from Moc Thieu Hy in Cao Bang and Bac Thai
provinces. Water puppetry, a unique traditional art genre only exists
Catch it while you can!
Address: Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, 57B Äinh TiÃªn HoÃ ng - HÃ Ná»™i - Viá»‡t Nam
Tel: (84-04) 8249494, 8255450
Fax: (84-04) 8245117