Sunday, April 17, 2016

I WAN JAN PUPPET THEATER OF TAIWAN at AADL in May

NEWS RELEASE
April 8, 2016
I WAN JAN PUPPET THEATER OF TAIWAN
SPECIAL PRESENTATION (TUESDAY, MAY 24)
AND
RELATED EDUCATIONAL EVENT (MONDAY, MAY 23)
BOTH AT 7 PM AT THE DOWNTOWN LIBRARY

Co-Sponsored By The Ann Arbor District Library; the Michigan Taiwanese American Organization; The University of Michigan Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies and the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.


Tuesday, May 24
  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Special International Puppetry Event: I Wan Jan Puppet Theater of Taiwan performs "A Chance Encounter Leads to Marriage" at Downtown Library: 1st Floor Lobby
Founded by Tien-Lu Li in 1931, I Wan Jan is one of the finest hand puppet troupes in Taiwan and around the world.  The name I Wan Jan describes the vivid, life-like hand puppet movements when controlled by their skillful masters. 

I Wan Jan has performed on an invitation-basis around the globe since 1971, most recently in11 Mexico cities in 2015.  Their performances are often seen at international puppet festivals. In 2016, I Wan Jan will visit New York, Houston, and Ann Arbor for this special performance for the public at the Ann Arbor District Library. 

The troupe will perform the acclaimed “A Chance Encounter Leads to Marriage.”  This event is cosponsored by the Ann Arbor District Library; the Michigan Taiwanese American Organization; The University of Michigan Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies and the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. 

Live music is an integral part to an authentic, traditional hand puppet performance. Besides two puppeteers, the visiting troupe consists of eight musicians performing drums (single skin drum, flat drum), gong, cymbals, erhu, Chinese flute, dulcimer, and suona (Chinese double­reeded horn).  A Q & A with the audience will follow.

This classic performance will showcase the puppets’ fine movements, such as the young male character folding a fan, the female character holding an umbrella, older male smoking, the clown decking chair, and street entertainers’ bustling martial arts and acrobatic acts.
The story begins with the play boy, DU-Xing, and his servants going into the market to watch street entertainment. PAN-Rong also arrives at the market with his daughter, PAN Yu-Zhi, to watch the show. DU Xing falls head-over-heels at PAN Yu-Zhi’s beauty and decides to kidnap her for himself. PAN-Rong’s cries for help attract XIAO Jin-Jun, a scholar well-versed in martial arts who comes flying to the rescue. 

Although he was fluent in both southern and northern styles of folk drama music, Master Li was also credited for creating a new style of music called Wai Jiang School by blending rich Beijing Opera elements with the traditional Northern Style of folk drama music.  After his passing in 1998, many of Master Li’s works have been digitized for future generations to enjoy (http://ltl.gac.ntnu.edu.tw/).  His vision, persistence, and efforts in the authentic, traditional puppetry have kept this art form alive today.

For more information about this event, call the Library at 327-4555 or visit our website at aadl.org.


Monday, May 23
  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Lecture: The Art of Taiwanese Glove Puppet Theater at Downtown Library: Secret Lab – grades 6 - adult
This presentation will explore the history, styles, and main themes of glove puppet theatre in Taiwan as well as its relationship to other Chinese theatrical and artistic forms.  This event is in coordination with the glove puppet theatre performance by the I Wan Jan Puppet Theater on Tuesday, May 24 at 7pm at the Downtown Library.

Glove puppet (also called hand puppet) theatre is a traditional theatrical art form that combines aspects of folk arts such as woodcarving and embroidery with traditional music and Chinese dramatic forms based on famous historical novels.

This form of puppet theatre has been practiced in Taiwan since it was introduced by immigrants from the southeastern coastal provinces of Fujian and Guangzhou in about the 18th century. Overtime in Taiwan, it developed some distinctive Taiwanese characteristics with the use of the local dialects and artistic styles, as well as theatrical and technical innovations to engage an ever-changing audience.

Ann Arbor residents and Eastern Michigan University Professors, Guey-Meei Yang and Tom Suchan, will lead this presentation. Guey-Meei Yang is a Professor of Visual Art Education with a specialization in multicultural art education and technology integration. Tom Suchan researches medieval Chinese religious art. In addition to their individual fields they have collaborated on a number of joint publications and research projects.

For more information about this event, call the Library at 327-4555 or visit our website at aadl.org.  The Downtown Library is located at 343 South Fifth Avenue in Ann Arbor.
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