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, aka 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 of Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) in Argentina Ding Jian-min (丁健民), Lin Ying-chung (林英忠), Yang Chen-shou (楊振壽); chairwoman of Global Federation of Chinese Business Women in Argentina Hu Yuan-yuan (胡圓圓); members of overseas community associations; Taiwanese compatriots; and local residents.

Head of the organizer, the Chinese school teachers association, Chang Chen-tan (張建坦) appreciated Huang for visiting Argentina and expressed his excitement for the chance to see Taiwan’s traditional performing art. On behalf of OCAC Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) and Taipei Commercial and Cultural Office in Argentina Representative Hsieh Chun-teh (謝俊得), Ding thanked Huang and his group, adding that Huang has revolutionized the puppetry by integrating Hakka and Minnan cultures to diversify the performing style and make the performance overwhelmingly popular. Lin noted that puppet shows were a kind of entertainment for Taiwanese people after farm work in the past. He was also very grateful that the troupe came to South America despite the long journey.

Graduated from Taipei National University of the Arts, Huang, who majored in theater arts, founded the troupe in 2002. The mixture of eastern traditional puppetry, folk music, and western theater characterizes his troupe. Like conventional groups of Hakka three-role tea-picking opera, a form of Hakka music, 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 rescues a beautiful woman. The puppets’ subtle movements that were all manipulated by hands, including kung fu fighting scenes, caught the audience’s eyes and met with loud applause. The traditional puppet show which was combined with Hakka elements cured Taiwanese compatriots of homesickness in Argentina.