It’s always very pleasant to see a young puppeteer connected with tradition and able to combine freshness with virtuosity. This is what I saw in the show of Wu-shan Huang, seen at the Festival of Chengdu. I spoke about it in a previous article on the Opening Ceremony of the Festival. But to be found two wonderful videos about his work, I have been encouraged to present them in Puppetring.
Shan Puppet Theatre was founded by Wu-shan Huang in 2002. When he was only ten, Huang has become a pupil of Puppet Master Tien-lu Lee until now. And because of his Hakka background, he has also learned Hakka folk music and opera from Master Bi-xia Lai. After he completed his M.F.A. in Theatre at Taipei University of the Arts in 2003, he starts to realize his masters and teachers’ efforts of passing on the tradition. Therefore, he decides to combine the traditional puppetry and Hakka music with the modern theories of theatre. He not only creates a new style of performing art, but also brings new blood to this withering cultural activity.
The performance of Shan Puppet Theatre is based on the traditional Hakka opera. In the future, Wu-shan Huang plans to tour in every town and village in Taiwan in order to be close to their audience and to achieve their goal: “Theatre is everywhere.”