The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre 6-12-2010
By Katrina Griffiths
I had my reservations about taking the baby into a theatre. I could sense a ballistic turn coming on and didn’t want it to happen mid-performance. She has the screech of a baby dinosaur and loves her voice so much that I have actually developed tinnitus. And gone slightly deaf. Seriously.
However, ignoring my predictive powers, we filed in to the theatre and took our seats. Ballistic Baby spun around on my lap about 100 times, shouted a loud greeting to everyone behind us whilst shaking her fists, tried to wriggle off me and make a run for it, and then the lights went out and the drums started…
Ahhh. That got her attention.
For a while anyway. She lasted about 10 minutes (not bad!) before being forcefully removed from the theatre by her father.
Ballistic Baby out of the way, I got to relax and watch the show. What a fabulous spectacle, what terrific drama! The music was wonderful and the water puppets acted out many traditional and historical Vietnamese stories. We saw buffalos fighting, farmers working, a village guardian god procession, horse racing, coconut picking, dragons, fish and more dragons. FANTASTIC!
Abie couldn’t figure out how the puppeteers could do it without drowning. (The mystery was solved sometime later in the show when they spotted the puppeteers waist deep in the water. They were very relieved.)
This performance is great for children, so different, and entertaining, and a good cultural example without being so serious that it is completely over their heads. It is loud and bright and original. Abie loved it! (Although the Evil Twin did say very loudly during the performance “I HATE this. I only like the flying dragon but I HATE the rest!” The Evil Twin used to be the Good Twin. Now she is the Evil Twin, and the old Evil Twin is now the Good Twin. I have always encouraged them to be versatile; so far so good…)
PS. My husband was pleased to leave with the baby. I thought the show was terrific but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Thanglong Water Puppet Theatre
57b Dinh Tien Hoang Str., Hanoi – Vietnam
Tel : 84 4 39364335 – 39364334 – 38255450
Fax / Tel : 84 43 8 245117