The Puppet and Its Double Theater invited international shadow puppetry master Larry Reed to Taiwan to lead Taiwanese artists in experimental productions. An oriental story chapter is perused in the context of the interplay of different ways of thinking to come up with an awe-inspiring cinematic mo...Read more
The Puppet and Its Double Theater invited international shadow puppetry master Larry Reed to Taiwan to lead Taiwanese artists in experimental productions. An oriental story chapter is perused in the context of the interplay of different ways of thinking to come up with an awe-inspiring cinematic modern shadow theater performance which incorporates elements from drama, literature, and the aesthetics of film.
Other than being a well-known story in Taiwan, stories and characters from the novel Journey to the West are commonly used in Xiqu. Monkey King at Spider Cave, inspired by an episode from Journey to the West, unfolds an adventure of a Buddhist High Priest and his animal disciples in their quest to bring the Buddhist scriptures to China. However, their journey is endangered by mythical demons and monsters – this time by demonic spider women in a spider cave, who covet eating the flesh of the Buddhist High Priest in order to become immortal. The show features the two parties combatting against each other by exercising their wits and magical powers. Finally, Sun Wu-kung uses his famous 72 transformations to defeat the goblins.
In addition to faithfully presenting details and the characters’ personalities portrayed in the original novel, the show also conveys essential features of a classical literary work by allowing audiences to re-experience the author’s original poetic, verbal, and linguistic aesthetics. In terms of the visual presentation of the show, a high standard is set for visual aesthetics and balance along with the precise command of the tension in the theater and images. With drifting clouds, distant mountains, pavilions, terraces, and open halls as one normally sees in a Chinese ink and washing painting as elements of the background settings, fade-in and fade-out lighting is used to highlight the back, middle, and front parts of the stage together with alternate close-ups. When stereoscopic real-person puppets navigate and perform on the stage against the backdrop of live music and vocals, the fantasy effects, comparable to animated special effects, enable the theatrical performance’s smooth and cinema-like flow.