Monday, June 07, 2010

Puppets on a pond

I was in a lousy mood when we got to the water puppet show. I was tired and hungry and sweaty, and we'd been walking around a Saigon park for at least 40 minutes searching for the exceedingly well-hidden puppet theatre.

But it was hard not to be won over by two birds engaged in a courtship dance ...

or a dragon boat full of powerful men setting out to sea ....

Or a set of dancing ladies turning in unison.

Water puppetry was devised in North Vietnam as a rice-paddy entertainment. As with Indonesian shadow puppets, it also serves the ritual role of appeasing the spirits and engendering harmony. A small group of musicians provides the accompaniment and also supplies narratives and voices.

The grand finale was a fire-spitting dragon, which also sprayed water over the audience. Rawrrr!

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