In Vietnam, there is a specific artform known as water-puppets.
These Múa rối nước, or “puppets that dance on water” date back to the 11th century as bored farmers, unable to work when their rice-paddies were flooded, would stage these performances to keep each other entertained.
An impromptu pagoda would be set up, and the puppeteers would stand in waist-deep water behind bamboo screens, operating puppets that weight up to 15 kilos on long wooden beams underwaterand with a series of ropes and pulleys.
Unlike similar theatres in Hanoi and Ho Chi Mihn city, the Hoi An show features a brief introduction to each segment in both Vietnamese and English – so foreigners have an idea of what’s being represented.
But for others, like the Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese warriors joining to fight the sea-dragon, an explanation came in really handy.
The Hoi An water puppet show costs VND80,000 (about $A5), lasts around 45 minutes, and runs from 6:30pm Friday and Saturday nights only.
There were probably 200 people at the performance we went to – almost all tourists – and all of us seemed to enjoy the show immensely.