Nghia Hung Water Puppet Troupe – A Brand from Nam Dinh Province
Thanks to the job passion and determination to preserve a treasure of forefathers, artists from Nghia Hung water puppet troupe are so resolute in their attachment to water puppets. This contributes significantly to the preservation and development of a traditional performing art and simultaneously makes the name of Nghia Hung popular with a wider audience.
Remarked by unique features in performance
According to Deputy of Nghia Hung water puppet guild Vu Viet De, due to the audience’s indifference and artists’ need of money, his guild used to deal with the threat of being disbanded. Over the past ten years, Nghia Hung guild has been reconstructed and won the heart of the audience by special performances and skillfulness of puppeteers. This guild holds many water puppet shows in almost all provinces throughout the country and is one out of 15 water puppet guilds that are periodically offered the performing invitation from the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to serve tourists.
Nghia Hung water puppet troupe at the Water Theatre of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
To create unique features compared to other water puppet guilds, artists from Nghia Hung have renewed their performances by selecting background music carefully, composing new lyrics for old songs and even creating new performances, etc. Mr. Pham The Toan who has worked as a puppeteer for a long time stated that besides selecting and following old performances, they themselves also created different short performances which reflect normal activities in a Vietnamese farmer’s life.
Though they are originally hard-working farmers and unprofessional, thanks to water puppet techniques and passion inherited from previous generations, Nghia Hung puppeteers still attract the attention of the audience by great performances as professional artists do. The secret key are the plain and carefree way of performing that helps the audience feel as if they are really living in a peaceful rural area.
Artists are originally plain farmers
The brand of love
Because the stage is in the water, it is tougher for puppeteers to perform water puppetry than any other performing art. Coming into the manipulation room where puppeteers stand to perform, we can witness every difficulty they have during a water puppet show. To have good performances, it is necessary for them to lead the focus of their fingers, ears and eyes to the movement of puppets which have to fit in with the music and voice-over. As a result, the show will be performed perfectly to serve tourists.
Inside manipulation room
It is not only special techniques from forefathers but also the love for water puppetry that tightly bind puppeteers with this job since they were children. Puppeteer Pham Van Dien, who are 27 years old but have worked as a water puppeteer for 17 years, stated that despite being able to sing and voice over, he doesn’t hesitate to jump into the water to control puppets because of his great love for water puppetry.
Nghia Hung artists express their friendliness with the audience
Building a water puppet guild brand that can win the heart of the audience is not easy but that is what Nghia Hung guild has already done. According to the oldest member, the key of their success is nothing else but “the special love for water puppetry”.