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Water puppetry captivates int’l guests in Hanoi

Thursday, June 08, 2023, 10:41 GMT+7
Water puppetry captivates int’l guests in Hanoi
A water puppet show recreates a historical story in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Dozens of international visitors were among the hundreds of guests to visit Hanoi’s Thang Long Water Puppet Theater last weekend, with many walking away from the performance astounded by the unique display of skill and artistry.

Indian tourist Aman Jain and his family arrived at the theater at 3:00 pm to buy tickets for a 4:00 pm matinee after hearing rave reviews of the show.

“Our friends showed us some water puppetry videos, so we decided to see the show in person,” said Ahama, Aman’s wife, adding that she was impressed by the gig.

Aman and his family were not the only international visitors amazed by the show.

International guests enjoy a water puppet show in Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Foreign guests enjoy a water puppet show at Hanoi's Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Each water puppet show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater attracts dozens of visitors. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Each water puppet show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater attracts dozens of tourists in Hanoi. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

“I really admire puppeteers because I have no idea how they can stage such an amazing performance," said Dain Yulliana, a South Korean tourist.

“There were times when I felt like the puppets were moving on their own rather than being controlled by puppeteers behind the screen.”

International guests wear headphones during the show. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

International guests wear headphones during the show in Hanoi. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

With a capacity of 300 seats and a prime location on Hoan Kiem Pedestrian Street in downtown Hanoi, the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater has made a name for itself as a popular rendezvous point for guests from Vietnam and overseas visiting Hanoi.

The puppetry performances put on by the theater are known for their vivid portrayal of daily life in the countryside. They often include dragon dances, buffalo herding, flute playing, and boat racing.

Daily life on display in a water puppet show. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Daily life on display in a water puppet show in Hanoi. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

​​​​​​In contrast to several other theaters in the city that are grappling with poor ticket sales, the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is able to have shows throughout the year.

Thanh Hien, director of the theater, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the theater sold a combined 1,000 tickets for its four to five daily shows during its peak. Currently, the theater runs three to four shows per day.

The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater holds a record for being the only theater in Asia to host water puppet shows every single day of the year in the longest time. 

Currently, the theater has plans to renovate and install larger seats to better serve visitors and promote Vietnamese culture to more tourists.

Viewers applaud a water puppet show. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Viewers applaud a water puppet show in Hanoi. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

International visitors take a selfie on a water puppetry stage. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

International visitors take a wefie on a water puppetry stage in Hanoi. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater holds the record for being the only theater in Asia to host water puppet shows every single day of the year. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi holds the record for being the only theater in Asia to host water puppet shows every single day of the year in the longest time. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

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