TRADITIONAL Vietnamese puppet theatre came to Slovakia for the first time ever with four performances on the weekend of May 26-27. A pool was erected near the stage at Kuchajda Lake where water puppet theatre was presented, quite an exotic event for Slovaks.
The performances were co-organised by the Vietnamese Embassy and the Nové Mesto district of Bratislava and attracted children as well as adults who eagerly took photos and pondered how the puppeteers might go about their work.
In actuality the puppet artists stood thigh-deep in the pool’s water and moved the colourful puppets with long horizontal rods.
The performance depicted traditional Vietnamese occupations such as cultivating the soil, growing rice, rearing cattle and fishing, as well as ancient national mythical creatures like dragons.
It was accompanied by a live traditional Vietnamese orchestra and the music was exotic enough to lure passersby from quite far away.
The puppet performances in the pool were explained in short stories read in both Vietnamese and Slovak.
Water puppet theatre’s roots in Vietnam date back to the 11th century where it reportedly appeared as folk entertainment but also became popular at the imperial court.
“Activities like this performance of water puppet theatre can help develop cultural ties between our countries, between Vietnamese and Slovak people,” said Xuan Luu Nguyen, the Vietnamese Ambassador to Slovakia, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
“Vietnamese puppet theatre has more than a thousand years’ tradition,” said Rudolf Kusý, the Nové Mesto mayor. “We are glad to be able to support the performance of artists from a country that is strongly represented in our borough of Nové Mesto. Last year on the occasion of International Children’s Day we tried to make our event really international and attractive for all children – be they Slovak, French, Chinese, Vietnamese or German – and many discussions followed after that day, resulting in agreements about several events. This is one of them.”