Vietnam water puppetry to narrate fairy tales in France

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A scene from one of Andersen's fairty tales in a water puppetry show. PHOTOS COURTESY OF TUOI TRE

Vietnamese water puppets will narrate the fairy tales of Danish writer Hans Christain Andersen at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris next month during the Vietnam Year in France, set to be kicked off early next year, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

A 60-minute show, "Andersen's fairy tales," will be performed by the Vietnam Puppetry Theater and brought to France by the France Interarts Riviera SA.

It will feature three popular stories, "The little mermaid," "The Ugly Duckling," and "The Steadfast Tin Soldier."

Nearly 100 lacquered wooden puppets have been completely restored or made so as to be suitable for performing in a 0.5-meter-deep pond compared to the usual 1 m in Vietnam.


The techniques will also change a bit -- the moves will be slower than normal to suit fairy tales.

The music will be composed by Frenchman Henry Torgue.

The bamboo shades on stage for puppeteers to stand behind and control the puppets are changed to black silk.

Jean - Luc Larguier, director of France Interarts Riviera SA, which is promoting the event, said the play is set to be on stage from December 26 and will be on stage ten times after that, and if it attracts a large number of audiences, the organizer will consider putting it on tour during summer next year.

Painter Ngo Quynh Giao, scripwriter and co-director of the show, said: "The play has been on the shelf for some eight years. Many of the puppets have sustained serious damage. I really hope the play will be revived after this tour."

Eight years ago a similar show telling four stories by Andersen was performed by the Vietnam Puppetry Theater at the International Puppetry Festival in 2010 held in Vietnam.

It won a gold medal.

Another play, "The teacher," a collaboration between French director Dominique Pitoiset and the Vietnam Puppetry Theater a few year ago, also achieved success.

Narrating the history of water puppets themselves, it was performed around 100 times in France though it has never been staged in Vietnam due to technological issues, Larguier, who has worked in Vietnamese water puppetry for 30 years, said.

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