A contemporary puppet performance entitled Gạo (or Rice) has premiered in HCM City, performed by Mắt Trần (Naked Eye) Ensemble.
Gạo is created by Linh Valerie Phạm based on the Vietnamese famine in 1945. It aims at uncovering the nature of humanity in a harsh situation.
The piece is performed in contemporary puppet style to combine body movements and live music. The audience seems to be called into a space and time, inviting them to cross the boundaries of genre, language and age to immerse themselves in the work.
There is no conversation in the show. Instead of focusing on manipulating puppets, the artists use their breath to perform. Audiences not only see the show with their eyes but also experience it through their ears and other senses.
Mắt Trần Ensemble develops its style and innovates based on many different puppetry traditions such as Japanese bunraku and Indonesian wangya.
After debuting at Dixon Place in New York in 2017, Gạo was performed at the International Pesta Boneka Puppet Festival in Indonesia last year.
Mắt Trần Ensemble is an art complex founded in 2017 in Hanoi with the goal of breaking the rules of performing arts. Last April, the ensemble had a tour through Vietnam to perform a short piece about gender equality.