Saturday, April 4, 2015

Photos: Behind the curtain of the water puppetry stage — Talk Vietnam

Photos: Behind the curtain of the water puppetry stage


VietNamNet Bridge – Working behind the curtain, appearing on the stage for just a few seconds to say hello and thank-you to the audience before each performance, water puppetry artists still have to be made up even though they cannot be seen.
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Water puppetry is a unique folk art of Vietnam, favored by foreign tourists.
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The audience cannot see the face of the artists. They only see the wooden puppets on the water. The artists always hide themselves behind the bamboo screen.
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But they still have to do make-up before each show to appear before the audience to bow for several seconds. These photos were taken behind the screen at the Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre (57 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hanoi).
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The theatre serves over 1,000 foreign visitors each day.
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The theatre has about 40 artists, divided into two groups. During the shows, artists have to stand in the water so they wear protective clothes and rubber gloves.
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Previously, artists did not have rubber clothes so they had to dip their bodies into water, even in winter.
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Ms. Vo Thuy Dung, 28, said she followed her mother, who has retired, to work at the theatre. She is seven months pregnant but she still works.
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The theatre chooses 14 popular plays to perform every day. These players are selected from over 400 folk plays.
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“Artists must have both control techniques and know how to transfer emotions into puppets,” an artist said.
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The theatre has participated in many international art festivals in more than 20 countries.
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Behind the screen during a performance.
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When the show ends, the artists quickly remove the rubber outfits to dress traditional costumes to appear on the state to greet the audience.
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The 20-minute break between each show is the time for the artists to learn from experience.
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Some actors find a place to take a nap to prepare for the next show.
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This is a puppet repair man named Le Quang Minh, 49. He has worked for the theatre for more than 22 years.

Thang Long Puppetry Theatre was founded in 1969 with the first name Kim Dong puppet troupe. It was renamed Thang Long – Hanoi Puppetry Theatre in 1975. From a group of nine artists and poor facilities, the theatre now has 22 artists, 15 musicians and 5 technicians.



Photos: Behind the curtain of the water puppetry stage — Talk Vietnam
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