Vietnam's 1,000-year-old water puppetry set against spectacular backdrop of Victoria Harbour
Water puppetry, a highly popular and representative Vietnamese performing art, has a 1,000-year history. Blending folk tales and legends with everyday vignettes, the uplifting tradition showcases the leisure, humour and harmony of Vietnamese rural life.
In early November, Thang Long Water Puppet Troupe from Hanoi will bring to Hong Kong an enchanting water puppet show. Audience members at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza will be able to enjoy the legendary folk art set against the spectacular backdrop of Victoria Harbour. This lively production will be a rare outdoor theatrical experience that will appeal to young people and adults alike. It will also offer a great opportunity for families to spend quality time together.
Thang Long Water Puppet Troupe, founded in 1969, is one of the most renowned performing arts groups in Vietnam. It has successfully toured the world, and received the silver and gold prizes at the Hanoi International Puppetry Festival in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
Exclusively built for the coming performance, a waist-deep pool will be located in front of the staircase at the Cultural Centre Piazza and skilful puppeteers will stand in the water to conjure up their tales of traditional Vietnamese life. Accompanied by live music, the puppets will engage in farming, bullfighting, frog hunting, water play and parades, presenting a delightful series of scenes vividly. There will also be Vietnamese "quan ho" folk songs, which have been included in UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The San Francisco Examiner said the show is "as exhilarating as it is historic" and "a rare, enchanting treat". "It's so magical at times you forget to be mystified at how the concealed puppeteers create all these effects," the newspaper added.
In Vietnam's Red River Delta, rivers and rice paddies are everywhere. There, during free time or after their fields had been hit by floods, farmers started setting up pagodas in paddies or ponds to entertain villagers of all ages through music, storytelling and puppetry. This is the folk art known as water puppetry, which enjoys a 1,000-year history. Nowadays, in addition to being staged in rice paddies and ponds, water puppetry can also be performed in a permanent theatre or at a temporary structure built for touring purposes. But the puppets remain hand-carved and protected by several layers of lacquer. Each puppet is a unique artefact.
The water puppet show performed by Thang Long Water Puppet Troupe is one of the highlights of the World Cultures Festival 2011 - Enchanting Arts of Asia presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will be staged from November 2 to 4 at 8.15pm, and also on November 5 at 3pm, at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza C. A photo-taking session will be held after each performance. The show contains limited dialogue and singing in Vietnamese.
Tickets priced at $180 (free seating) are now available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Other booking discounts of up to 20 per cent are available.
Programme brochures for the World Cultures Festival 2011 - Enchanting Arts of Asia are available at URBTIX outlets or at the website, www.worldfestival.gov.hk.
For programme enquiries, call 2370 1044. Internet bookings can be made at www.urbtix.hk. For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999.
Ends/Friday, September 23, 2011
Thang Long Water Puppet Troupe from Vietnam will bring to local audiences an enchanting water puppet show, which is a rare outdoor theatrical experience that appeals to young people and adults alike. It also offers a great opportunity for families to spend quality time together.
Water puppetry is highly popular and representative of Vietnam's performing arts, and has a 1,000-year history. It showcases the leisure, humour and harmony of Vietnamese rural life.
The puppets are hand-carved and protected by several layers of lacquer. Each puppet is a unique artefact.