Piece for 1 vocalist, 1 puppeteer and 1 dancer
Premiered on 24 February 2017 at Institute of Contemporary Arts – London
Part of Various Stages Festival
Commissioned by Mahogany Opera
Director/Choreographer – Dam Van Huynh
Composer – Dai Fujikura
Puppeteer – Oliver James Hymans
Vocalist – Elaine Mitchener
Dancer – Tommaso Petrolo
Inspired by Vietnamese water puppetry, Mưa is a ‘movement opera’ turning an age-old practice into a modern form. Múa rối nước, literally ‘making puppets dance on water’, is a tradition dating back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam.
Setting the space for Mưa is a miniaturised theatre filled with water. The characters appear under different identities as performers, puppets or apparitions.
The people who created water puppetry were farmers: when the rice fields would flood, the villagers would entertain each other using this form of play. Such tradition is deep rooted in Vietnamese popular culture evoking themes of countryside.
This is the backdrop of Mưa, looking at a world long gone from our 21st-century perspective. As the world changes and evolves, artists and scientists find new ways to understand it. Mưa endeavours to examine life experience through music, movement and a 1,000 year-old tradition originated in the deepest rural areas of Vietnam.