Water Puppet Performance: The Stage

by Lisa Spivey/Albert Wen, Oct 1, 1999 | Destinations: Vietnam / Hanoi

Details of the stage: the roof above the stage.
Details of the stage: colorful banners adorn the stage.
The Stage, seen from the top of the seating area. The orchestra can be seen on the left of the stage.

The stage for a water puppet theatre show is actually a pool filled with water. Traditionally, the theatre takes place in a lake or pond with the spectators close by on shore. Today, performances are held indoors, with the audience in the typical theatre seating, and a pool filled with water as the stage. The live orchestra sits to the left of the stage, a few feet above the water level.

The stage is 38 feet wide by 28 feet deep. The pool measures 27 feet by 27 feet and is three feet deep. It is divided into two parts by a screen. Behind the screen, the puppeteers stand in water, manipulating the puppets with a simple rod-and-string mechanism consisting of bamboo poles 12 to 15 feet long.

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