Vietnamese Theater Arts

Vietnam! Not many know about the country, but there is an abundant amount of entertaining and exciting shows that originate from there. One of the most well known arts in the older Vietnamese generations is the traditional cải lương. It originated in Southern Vietnam and made its appearance in the early 1900s. It is a combined version of classic Vietnamese folk songs with a hint of Chinese theater operas. The art of cải lương shows theatrical plot dealing with two main topics: cải lương tuồng cổ, an ancient form dealing with history and legends, and cải lương xã hội, which shows modern topics such as romance and other relationships in present Vietnamese society.Though it is not as popular as other performing arts today, it will surely be memorable tradition. Another historical but famous Vietnamese performing art is múa rối nước, or water puppetry. This time, the globally known water puppetry originated from Northern Vietnam and dates all the way back to the 1100s. Back then, it was used as an entertainment source for the rural folk of Vietnam to momentarily relieve their exhaustion from their tough life. With the performance stage being a water surface, a story is played out by wooden puppets, which are usually controlled by string-and-stick attachments hidden under water. These stories were heavily influenced by Vietnamese folklore as well as the daily lives of the rural folk. Throughout the years, water puppetry has gained Northern Vietnam global fame and still holds as one of the most popular activities for tourists to see.

There are many interesting instruments that Vietnam uses to express itself, but its most interesting instrument would be the đàn bầu. Purely Vietnamese originated, the đàn bầu only has one string, and it has a history of being played solo by blind musicians. Even though it is a monochord, great precision is required while playing this instrument due to the complicated songs it usually plays. By controlling the wooden rod at the end of the đàn bầu, the musician can play a variety of rhythms and notes from the one string, and can even apply vibrato to their songs as well. Despite it being a simple-looking instrument the đàn bầu is actually known for its charmful sounds that touch the heart. All in all, the đàn bầu is an extremely fascinating instrument that will only continue to rise in fame.



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