Today some of us (Lifi, Pui Shan and I) went to Wong Tai Sin in the morning to see the company perform at a kindergarten. It was very nice little performance, which the kids clearly enjoyed (and the parents clearly thought noteworthy enough to watch later on their mobile phones.)
The best thing about this was the use of the different styles of puppetry within the same story. Characters (e.g. Piggy) would go from being a rod puppet, walking across to the shadow puppet screen and transforming immediately into a shadow puppet (same character, different style of puppet), and later on running out to become a marionette.
I have to say I think the marionettes work much better without being restricted to the small stage with the puppeteers obscured. I guess it’s the traditional way of doing it, but I find it more engaging and not at all distracting if you can see the puppeteer. Wong Sifu did a piece with a rod puppet of an old man begging – for which he came out in front and used a table, also interacting with kids. I think this works well and seeing him do it adds to the focus rather than detracting from it.
The kids and I learnt the following terms, as well as learning that shadow puppets are made of cow skin. I’m sure they learnt more than I did, but this was all I could pick up.
掌頭木偶 – Rod Puppet (zoeng2 tau4 muk6 ngau5)
掌中木偶 – Hand Puppet (zoeng2 zung1 muk6 ngau5)
皮影木偶 – Shadow Puppet (pei4 jing2 muk6 ngau5)
提線木偶 – Marionette (tai4 sin3 muk6 ngau5)
After the show the three of us went back to JCCAC and carried on practicing with marionettes.