A troupe from the Vietnam Puppetry Theatre is in the French cities of Lyon and Le Revest-les-Eaux to perform with water puppetry the classic fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen.

The tour has been undertaken as part of a project begun in 2013 between the Vietnam Puppetry Theatre and the French Interats Riviera SA organisation.

Three popular Danish stories, including The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Steadfast Tin Soldier, are narrated using Vietnamese traditional water puppetry.

The 60-minute performance is performed by some ten artists.

This is the second time Anderson's tales have performed water puppetry in France, with the first being during the Vietnamese Culture Week held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of relationships between Vietnam and France in 2013.

"Last time, we enchanted French audiences because it was the first time they could enjoy Andersen stories through Vietnamese water puppetry," said artist Nguyen Tien Dung.

The project was interrupted in 2014 when Jean-Luc Larguier, head of the Interats Riviera SA, died. His wife, Chantal Larguier, has since taken over her late husband's project.

"She said she will continue her husband's project and annually sponsor the play, not only in France, but also in other European countries," Dung added.

The project was begun in 2010 when Larguier and his wife saw the Andersen's Fairy Tales at the second International Puppetry Festival in Hanoi in 2010.

Andersen's Fairy Tales was created in 2004 by artist Ngo Quynh Giao, the puppet theatre's former director.

"I love the fairy tales because of their humanity. They are not only for young readers, but their deep story is also meaningful," said Giao.

He selected the three stories that he thought were suitable for water puppetry because the stories related to water.

He was, at that time, in charge of three main roles as script writer, puppet maker and director. The performance debut was in 2005 in Hanoi and was highly praised by both critics and the press.

But the spectacle was put on hold for some five years until the second International Puppetry Festival was held in Hanoi in 2010.

To meet the demand of the French partner, the puppets were updated. In the beginning years, a single puppet was controlled by three artists, but Giao had to later adjust a single puppet to be operated by only one artist.

To perform in France, the artists had to kneel during the show and execute very slow and sophisticated movements because the water stage was just 50cm in depth, compared to the usual 85cm.

In late 2013, Anderson's Fairy Tales was performed at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris and warmly received by an audience of some 4,000, who enjoyed seeing popular European stories combined with Vietnamese traditional water puppetry.

The show kicked off at Lyon City's Musee Confluences last Saturday and will continue until November 8.

Source: VNA