A scene of shadow puppetry, a traditional form of art that has not been performed regularly (Photo: VNA)
 
HCM City (VNS/VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City is seeing positive changes to the local puppetry scene, according to authorities.

Phuong Nam Art Theatre, for example, recently renovated its two circuses in Go Vap district’s Gia Dinh Park and District 11’s Lu Gia residential area.

“During the two locations’ maintenance period, circus and puppetry shows are still being performed via small tours held locally and in neighbouring areas,” Meritorious Artist Nguyen Duc The, Director of the Phuong Nam Art Theatre, said.  

On the occasion of Mid-Autumn Festival and the International Puppetry Festival in Hanoi in October, the theatre will stage new puppetry plays.

Su Tich Con Muoi (Origin of the mosquito) is one of its latest plays, emphasising the value of family to young audiences.

It tells a story of a poor, married couple who love each other. After the wife suddenly passes away, the husband is told by a god to save his wife by giving away three drops of his blood. The resurrected wife later cheats on him and leaves her husband for a rich merchant.

Utterly disheartened, the husband asks only that she return the three drops of blood that he had given to restore her life. The wife dies afterwards and returns in the form of a mosquito, endlessly bothering her former husband and trying to regain those three drops of blood.

This play is showcased via shadow puppetry, a traditional form of art that has not been performed regularly.

Construction of the two circuses is expected to be completed by November to meet the schedule of the National Circus Festival held in HCM City later this year, The said.

Poor sound and lighting are among the significant challenges that the theatre has encountered, together with a lack of human resources, he said.

This year, however, the theatre has received more attention from the HCM City People’s Committee and the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, he added.

The upgraded circuses are not only ideal for circus but puppetry performances.

On a different note, the first Vietnam Puppetry Festival is being held on HCM City’s Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street between August 16 and 18.

The event, directed by Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vuong Duy Bien, aims to preserve and bring puppetry art closer to the general public and international tourists.

“Nguyen Hue street is a beautiful, open venue to hold the festival,” Bien said, hoping that it will be an annual event.

There will be a main stage performing both water and regular puppetry and five small stages for rod string and other puppets. Other types of arts will also be performed during the event.

The event has attracted participation of artists from the Vietnam Puppetry Theatre, Phuong Nam Art Theatre, Hai Phong Puppetry Theatre, Canh Dieu Art Theatre, and Dong Nai Contemporary Art Theatre, among others.

Many children with disadvantaged backgrounds have been invited to join the opening night, organisers said.

About 50 scholarships, 50 bicycles and other gifts will be offered to some of them, they added.

HCM City authorities have also approved construction of a new multi-purpose theatre with 2,000 seats at Lu Gia residential area in District 11.

The new theatre will be equipped with international, modern facilities where chairs can be hidden to expand the performance grounds, depending on the type of performance.

The estimated construction cost is 1,500 billion VND (64 million USD), authorities said.-VNS/VNA