Hakka puppetry troupe performs in Argentina

Invited by an association of overseas compatriot school teachers in Argentina, puppeteer Huang Wu-shan (黃武山) led his Hakka puppetry group Shan Puppet Theater (山宛然劇團) to perform at Hwa-shin Chinese School (Instituto Hwa-shin Argentina, 阿根廷華興中文學校) on July 18.

More than 150 viewers attended the performance, including officials Ding Jian-min (丁健民), Lin Ying-chung (林英忠), and Yang Chen-shou (楊振壽) of the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) in Argentina, Chair Hu Yuan-yuan (胡圓圓) of the Global Federation of Chinese Business Women in Argentina, members of overseas community associations, Taiwanese compatriots, and local residents.

Representing the association of overseas compatriot school teachers that organized the event, Chang Chen-tan (張建坦) expressed his appreciation to Huang for visiting Argentina and revealed his excitement for the chance to see Taiwan’s traditional performing arts.

On behalf of OCAC Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Argentina Representative Hsieh Chun-teh (謝俊得), OCAC official Ding thanked Huang and his group, adding that Huang has revolutionized traditional Taiwanese puppetry by integrating Hakka and Minnan cultures to diversify the performance, making the style overwhelmingly popular.

Lin, also of OCAC, noted that puppet shows were popular post-farmwork entertainment for Taiwanese agrarian communities in the past. He was also very grateful that the troupe came to South America despite the long journey.

Huang, who majored in theater arts at Taipei National University of the Arts, founded the troupe in 2002. The mixture of eastern traditional puppetry, folk music, and western theater characterizes his troupe. Like most groups dedicated to Hakka three-role tea-picking opera, Shan Puppet Theater has traveled to every city and township across Taiwan, achieving its goal of performing everywhere.

As its title says, the play “The Hero Saves the Beauty” performed by the troupe is about the male protagonist rescuing a beautiful woman. The puppets’ subtle movements that were all manipulated by hand, including kung-fu fighting scenes, caught the audience’s eyes and were met with loud applause. The traditional puppet show which was combined with Hakka elements cured Taiwanese compatriots in Argentina of homesickness.