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The art of Vietnamese water puppetry in the Mekong Delta
Date: 14/04/2024

Last Tet holiday, Vietnamese water puppetry attracted a large number of people to cultural and artistic activities in the Mekong Delta, highlighting its vitality.
A large audience watched the Water Puppet show performed by the Dua Xanh Art Troupe in Can Tho City.

During the days leading up to the Lunar New Year, the Can Tho City Museum hosted an artistic program with the participation of the Dua Xanh Art Troupe. Their water puppet show was a highlight of the event and attracted thousands of spectators, mostly children. The show was rich in tradition and featured characters shaped in a Southern style, bringing the audience a range of emotions. The show recreated countryside scenes of fishing, as well as folk tales or folk legends such as “Hoan Kiem Lake history” and “Thanh Giong”, etc.

Mr. Nguyen Minh Thien and his 7-year-old son did not miss a single performance of the Dua Xanh Water Puppet Art Troupe. Mr. Thien said that his son always reminded him to take him to see the show and that they both found it very meaningful. He added, "Not only my children, but I also saw the artists perform for the first time and enjoyed it."

Dua Xanh Art Troupe is the only water puppet art troupe in the Mekong Delta region, located in Ben Tre province. Artist Nguyen Tien Hoa, from Ben Tre Province, played a vital role in introducing the art of water puppetry to the Western region for the first time in 1988. However, it wasn't successful for several reasons. In 2019, Mr. Pham Tan Vu, a staff member of Ben Tre Provincial Museum, helped establish the Dua Xanh Art Troupe, which has been active since then. The troupe performs in many shows throughout the Mekong Delta region and attracts hundreds of thousands of audiences each year. The artists from Dua Xanh Art Troupe are all well-trained and skilled water puppeteers, contributing to bringing the traditional art that is familiar in the North to audiences in the Mekong Delta region. Mr. Pham Tan Vu, the Manager of Dua Xanh Art Troupe, said the troupe currently has two performing teams with around 16 artists. After performing in Can Tho City for many years during Tet, members of the troupe were thrilled with the positive reception they received from the audience.

Starting from February 16th, the water puppetry art show will be performed daily at Sunset Town, located in Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. every day and last for 30 minutes, and admission is free for the audience. The program is produced by Vietnam Puppet Theater and supported by Sun Group, with People's Artist Nguyen Tien Dung as the producer. The show will showcase a mix of land puppetry, water puppetry, and dance art, featuring modern interpretations of traditional folk tales. To enhance the romantic atmosphere, the water pavilion theater will be built on the beach. After each performance, visitors will get to experience puppetry firsthand and chat with the artists to learn more about this fascinating art form.

Water puppetry is an integral part of our country's cultural heritage, but it is not widely known in the Mekong Delta region. By investing in high-quality art programs and promoting puppetry, we hope to raise awareness and appreciation for this beautiful art form and contribute to preserving our national cultural heritage.

Source: Can Tho News - Translated by Hoang Dat

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