What is Water Puppetry?
Water puppetry is one of northern Vietnam's traditional performance art forms. Múa rối nước, as its called in Vietnamese, dates back to the 11th century. Traditionally, these shows, depicting Vietnamese folktales, legends, and scenes from daily life, were performed in flooded rice fields. Nowadays, water puppet shows are performed on stages in special theaters, which have a rectangular water pool for the performance, and a screen hiding the puppeteers from view.
What is the show like?
The show lasts around one hour, and is made up of many different scenes. Some, like the scene shown below, are depictions of Vietnamese folktales and legends. This scene tells the legend of Hoan Kiem Lake. Other scenes show the traditional daily life of rural farmers, such as plowing a field or chasing away a fox. The show is accompanied by singing and music performed on traditional Vietnamese instruments.
Where to watch the show
There are two popular water puppet theaters in Hanoi's Old Quarter around Hoan Kiem Lake. The truth is, there isn't much difference between the two shows. Both show similar scenes using the traditional performance art. If you are really curious, why not visit both and let us know your opinion!
Lotus Water Puppet Theater
16 Lê Thái Tổ
Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
57b Đinh Tiên Hoàng
Cost of tickets
The price of a ticket to the water puppet show is pretty standard at both theaters. One ticket costs 100,000d, about $5 USD.