Phan Thanh Liem modifies traditional puppetry

(VOVworld) – In recent years, a model of mini water puppet stages has become popular with domestic and foreign audiences. The mini mobile stage was created in order to reach closer to the audience. Puppeteer Phan Thanh Liem is the one who initiated the mini water puppetry.

Phan Thanh Liem modifies traditional puppetry - ảnh 1
Artist Phan Thanh Liem performs water puppetry on a mini stage

Water puppetry originated from rural areas of Vietnam. Water puppet performance requires a stage in the village pond and in the past puppeteers had to stand in the water to control the puppets. The audience must visit rural areas or to a water puppet event to watch the performances. Realizing the disadvantages of traditional water puppetry, artist Phan Thanh Liem thought of a mini mobile stage to bring water puppetry closer to the audience: “The most difficult is setting a stage. It costs a lot to transport and set up a traditional stage, thus water puppetry has limited access to the audience. A traditional water puppet performance involves a lot of equipment and people. The mini water puppet model is simple and easily accessible to everyone”.

The mini water puppet stage can serve groups in offices, schools, families, or even reach remote areas. It also helps promote traditional water puppetry to the outside world. On the mini stage, classical plays such as eight fairies, the dragon dance, palanquin, wrestling, and buffalo fighting can be achieved.

With this particular stage, audiences can get up close and can even control the puppets.

Nguyen The Khoa and his family have become regular viewers of water puppet performances by artist Phan Thanh Liem in his house in a small lane in Kham Thien. Khoa is very impressed by Liem’s puppet performances on traffic culture, sea and island sovereignty, and the environment: “Despite its location, Liem’s stage attracts a lot of audience, even foreigners. Liem’s water puppet performances are so interesting that it attracts many audiences”.

Phan Thanh Liem has brought his creation to many countries in the world including South Korea, Italy, Poland, Thailand, Japan, and the United States. His performances promote the image of the Vietnamese land and people, as well as culture and history through the stories of the banyan tree, the communal house, and Saint Giong. Professor Hoang Chuong is the Director of the Research Center for Traditional Culture Preservation and Promotion of Vietnam: “Phan Thanh Liem has helped promote Vietnam’s traditional water puppetry to the world. At first, Liem created the mini stage for the children and later this model has reached the international audiences”.

Born in Nam Truc, Nam Dinh province, which is the cradle for traditional water puppetry, Phan Thanh Liem inspires the passion for this art form to many people.