The Hanoitimes - From July 25 to August 10, South Korea audiences have a chance enjoy stage eight shows featuring Vietnam’s traditional water puppetry of Vietnamese artist Phan Thanh Liem and his four colleagues at Yang ju Culture and Arts Center.
The shows are to be made at the invitation of Vietnam – South Korea Friendship Association marking the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Water puppeteer Phan Thanh Liem.
During their performances, which will last around 50 minutes each, the team will introduce classic water puppetry plays to South Korean audiences, such as duck catching and the dragon and phoenix dances.
This will be the third time Liem has performed in South Korea and he shared that South Korea audiences have shown great interest in Vietnam’s water puppetry. Liem said that he hopes to bring an up close look on Vietnam’s cultural identity to South Korea friends during the upcoming trip.
Phan Thanh Liem was born into a family that have been preserving water puppetry in Nam Truc district, in the northern province of Nam Dinh, for seven generations. His father is the famous puppeteer Phan Van Ngai, who created the mobile water puppetry stage. Ngai also made the Chu Teu (a humorous farmer) puppet, which is on display in France’s Louvre Museum.
Liem is the very first artisan to create a mini water puppetry stage, which hosts regular shows at his private house on Kham Thien Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi and has attracted many visitors both from home and abroad. Liem has been invited to bring his mobile theatre to many international puppet festivals around the world including in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, China, Italy, Canada and the US.
Water puppetry is a tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. Today's Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition.
The puppets are made out of wood and then lacquered. The shows are performed in a waist-deep pool. A large bamboo rod supports the puppet under the water and is used by the puppeteers, who are normally hidden behind a screen, to control them. Thus the puppets appear to be moving over the water. When the rice fields would flood, the villagers would entertain each other using this form of puppet play.
Source: Nhan Dan