Vietnamese Water puppetry, or ‘Múa rối nước’ ,(“puppets that dance on water”) is a tradition that originated in the villages of the Red River Delta, Vietnam in the 11th century, and impromptu performance venues took the form of the flooded paddy fields. The puppeteers, standing in a waist-deep pool and hidden behind a screen, support the wooden puppets on large rods, making them appear as if they are moving on the water’s surface.Performances were originally performed to satisfy the spirits that were thought to influence all areas of their lives. An orchestra, playing traditional music, accompanies the performance. The orchestra includes drums, vocals, wooden bells, cymbals, horns, bamboo flutes and gongs. The entrance of royalty may be hailed by the bamboo flute, while drums and cymbals warn that the fire-breathing dragon is about to take the stage. Performances take place in a pool that is 4m square, while up to 8 puppeteers manipulate the wooden puppets (that weigh up to 15kg) from behind a screen made of bamboo, that is decorated to look like the front of a temple.
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