Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater, Ho Chi Minh City Overview
The Golden Dragon Water Puppet theatre is one of the best places to witness the magic of Vietnamese water puppetry.The shows offer a fascinating insight into Vietnamese culture and tradition. Puppets perform local folktales on a 'stage' of water, with live musicians play traditional instruments on the side. Dragons, fairies and all kinds of mystical characters grace the stage.
If you have a soft corner for music, art and dance, and you find yourself in Ho Chi Minh City, you're up for a real treat. The traditional Vietnamese water puppet shows held in the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre caters to the demands of the growing popularity of this fascinating art form among tourists visiting Vietnam. The theatre displays the amazing talents of highly entertaining puppeteers. This indigenous concept of water puppets never fails to enchant the viewers from their very first encounter. Since water-puppetry is a unique traditional folk art form and a special Vietnamese creation, UNESCO has recognized it as an intangible cultural heritage of the world.
Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater Shows
The water puppet shows in the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre are accompanied by a live orchestra that supports the performances by playing traditional songs and folk music. The singers narrate different stories in a local language, which is incomprehensible by foreign tourists as there is no English commentary. The Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre has a seating capacity of 200, designed by keeping the comfort of the audience in mind.
The puppet show is performed in a pool covering an area of 4-square metres. The surface of the water acts as the stage, and the puppets range from water fairies, farmers, fishes and dragons. The stage is fitted with a modern sound system, props and lighting to give the audience the best experience. The art of water puppetry has different characteristics from those relevant in conventional puppetry. The common elements that can be noticed in water puppetry are the theatrical water surface, multiple backdrops, decorated flags, port code and parasol.
The working mechanism of water puppet shows has been kept a secret for centuries. Nobody knows how this happens, as the puppeteers are careful in safeguarding this phenomenal illusion. They have their own dialect for communicating with each other and special code words about specific techniques, in case someone is eavesdropping. The way a puppeteer controls the intricate movements of the puppets blindly is the major illusion of these water puppet shows. The puppeteers hide behind a split-bamboo screen decorated in the form of a temple's facade. They manoeuvre the puppets through a mechanism of long bamboo rods and string that is present beneath the water surface. These performances depict the vital role played by water in all aspects of life. The acts proceed in a sequence, and the audience gets to enjoy many parts of the performance namely Flags festivals, Dragon Dance, Lion Dance, Buffalo baby playing the flute, agriculture, catching the duck and many more. The puppet show is performed entirely in Vietnamese, but the performance is so mesmerizing that you will be able to understand and enjoy it thoroughly. This extraordinary art form is very famous and has won many international awards.
Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater Showtimes
The Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater is open on all days, and begins shows at 5:30 PM. Each act lasts for 50 minutes, incorporating the wonderful talents of performers, lights and sounds. The showtimes are: 5:30 PM - 6:20 PM, 6:30 PM - 7:20 PM, 7:45 PM - 8:35 PM
Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater Ticket Prices
Vietnamese:VND 175,000, Foreigners: VND 230,000, Children (below 3 years): Free
Water Puppets at the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater
The water puppets used at the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater are made from figs and light-weighted wood that floats on water. They are shaped with a chisel and hewn into specific stylized figures. Following that, the puppets are trimmed, polished and decorated with various colours to enhance the characters assigned to them. Most of the puppets are highly symbolic and shaped in funny and humorous avatars.
Water Puppetry in Vietnam
It is believed that water puppet shows originated around the Red River Delta region situated in North Vietnam all the way back in the 11th century. The intent of the very first puppet shows didn't just concern the entertainment of the villagers, but also kept the spiritual beings entertained so that they wouldn't cause mischief. The earliest stages were built around flooded rice paddies. This wasn't an appropriate condition for the puppet shows, especially for the puppeteers who regularly suffered from leech bites and swollen leg diseases due to standing too long in the dingy water. The essence of these water puppet shows hasn't altered over the years since its beginning. The typical themes revolved around the deeply rooted rural traditions such as village folklore, planting rice and fishing.
The Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre stands on 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, which is just a 5-minute walk away from Ho Chi Minh City Hall. Visitors can take a cab or motorbike ride from the city hall to reach the theatre. Coming by foot from the city hall, one has to take Le Thanh Street and head in the southwest direction toward Nguyen Hue Street. Then, take a right turn at Ta Banh Mi Thit and get onto Truong Dinh. Proceed forward and take another right turn at iTechBlack Coworking Space onto Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. Finally, take another right at Cong Ty Kiem Toan & Dv Tin Hoc, pass by Saigon Decor and the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre will be on the right side.
Art has its own way of enticing people, and that is exactly what you get to experience by visiting the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre. If you ever plan a trip to Vietnam, make sure to set aside a slot in your travel itinerary to get a glimpse of this ancient Vietnamese art form that has won countless awards across the globe. Kids have a great time at the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre. With that being said, adults can get in touch with their inner child by becoming a part of this colourful festive ambience.
Photos of Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater
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