Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pili Dynasty Puppets

Here's something uniquely Taiwanese:



Look again. They’re puppets.



Traditionally, these are cloth and wooden puppets used to tell traditional Chinese folklore. The Huang family’s famous PiLi Dynasty hand puppet theatre gives a new twist to the traditional Chinese palm shows of yore:


Puppet masters, utilizing their unique one-man-multiple-voice talent, enacted stories and legends, with a mix of rich Chinese customs, culture, historical tales of chivalry and stories of passion, brought to life each puppet character. They captured the hearts of audiences and skillfully guided them into the story.” (http://www.pili.com.tw/en/)



Currently, for their TV audience, the Huang family has reinvented the traditional puppet art with elaborate production. (Elaborate production-- as in watching might make you a little motion sick.)



The PiLi puppets made a brief appearance in the U.S. on Cartoon Network a few years ago as a show entitled Wulin Warriors. Although it didn’t last there for more than a couple of episodes, this company has maintained a famed TV presence in Taiwan since 1985. Students tell me it’s extremely popular.



Episodes are in Taiwanese with Mandarin subtitles. Luckily, there are some clips on YouTube with English subs so we don’t have to miss one action-packed minute of dialogue!



Ever seen a puppet bleed?



A little history here, and some info about the Huang family’s current interpretation here (also linked above with the quote).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB4vUP-I8Dg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-OU79maIdk (embedded above)

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