Vietnamese water puppeteers will join international artists to perform at the 4th International Festival of the Form Theatre in Krakow, Poland from February 18 to 25.
"It is an opportunity for Thang Long Puppetry Theatre to introduce unique water puppetry art," said People’s Artist Hoang Tuan, the theatre director.
"Water puppetry is a traditional form, which is very close to Vietnamese daily life. It refers to Vietnamese traditions by means of water puppets, like daily life of Vietnamese farmers."
Chu Teu is the most notable character in water puppetry, performing humorous actions for the audience. Other repertoires will feature the daily life of Vietnamese farmers; and historical legends related to tending buffalo, catching fish, swimming contests and lion dancing.
Water puppetry is a traditional form that dates back to the 11th century Ly Dynasty. Villagers in the Red River Delta and other rice-growing regions in the north of Vietnam staged water puppet performances to celebrate the end of the rice harvest, religious festivals and other important occassions.
The water puppets are made of lacquered wood. The artists stand waist-deep in a pool of water behind the stage to manipulate the puppets.
Other participants at the international festival, entitled Materia Prima, will include Daniel Finzi Pasca from Switzerland, the author of the famous Cirque du Soleil; Compagnie Marie Chouinard from Canada; Jakop Ahlbom from the Netherlands.
The performances combine theatre with nouveau cirque and dance theatre, where dance alternates with multimedia, and with puppet, mask, and shadow theatres.