Artists from the Vietnam Puppetry Theatre have performed in France three dramas based on the popular stories by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75), debuting their water puppet performances of the Andersen tales in Europe. Report by Nhan Dan Online.

Vietnamese puppeteers wowed French audiences with interpretations of classic fairytales told with the traditional art form of Vietnamese water puppetry during their tour to the European country lasting from December 17-31.

Three tales of the famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen were adapted by the artists: "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Little Mermaid".

The tour, which was among activities to mark the 40th anniversary of Vietnam-France diplomatic relations, was a joint project of the Vietnam Puppetry Theatre (VPT) and France’s Interart Riviera SA organisation.

Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi, Meritorious Artist Nguyen Tien Dung, head of the delegation, said that it is the first time Vietnamese water puppetry performances have been inspired by foreign literary works and it is the beginning of an effort to breathe life into the traditional art form.

He said that the 10 shows won much acclaim and that in total they performed to over 4,000 viewers, many of them were children, who had a chance to discover popular bedtime stories though inanimate marionettes.

The tour not only helps in promoting Vietnamese culture and arts to the French people but also opens doors for Vietnamese artists looking to perform in Europe in the coming time, he said.

Recounting his memories of the tour, artist Quy Quoc said: "Our shows took place at the Claude Levi-Strauss theatre at the Quai Branly Museum, right by the charming Seine river and just 100 metres from the famous Eiffel tower."

He also revealed that the major difficulty facing the artists was that they had to work in a 0.5-m-deep pool when they are supposed to work with a depth of 1 metre, meaning the puppeteers had to balance on their knees to control the marionettes for a whole hour.

"Nine members of the troupe had to take the job often carried out by nearly 20 artists. Working in such conditions required a high level of focus so that we could harmoniously control every move of the marionette," Quoc said.

According to Director of the Vietnam Puppetry Theatre Ngo Thanh Thuy, over the past year, the theatre’s artists have made six tours abroad including to Thailand, China, Chile and France.

These trips are good opportunity for Vietnamese puppeteers to exchange experiences with their foreign colleagues and popularise the image of Vietnam to international friends.-VNA