High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt. He was very much admired. But the higher he stood, the more ugliness and misery he saw. He was so sad that he wept. With the help of a swallow, he gave the gems on his body to people in need. A poor man was no longer hungry; a little boy began to smile. But the Happy Prince was no longer beautiful then, and with the coming of winter, the life of the good-hearted swallow ebbed away?
This summer, at the Waterfront Theater on Granville Island, Vancouver, the Taiwanese puppet company The Puppet & Its Double Theater will present eight performances, between May 29th and June 3rd, of its adaptation of British literary giant Oscar Wilde?s parable ?The Happy Prince.? These performances, jointly presented by the Taiwan Ministry of Culture and the Taipei Cultural Center in New York, will be the first appearance by a Taiwanese performing group at the Vancouver International Children?s Festival, and the first time the Festival has featured a program in Mandarin. Whimsical and touching, The Puppet & Its Double?s rendition of the tale of the Happy Prince promises to be fun for the entire family.
?The Happy Prince? is one of The Puppet & Its Double?s classic programs. The Taiwanese puppet troupe says they chose to adapt Oscar Wilde?s parable because the story itself is deeply moving, and the emotions it conveys are universal, transcending cultural barriers. In addition, the statue?s dialogue with the sparrow lends itself particularly to puppet theater?s ability to bring inanimate objects to life. The performance makes use of both actors and puppets, turning the actors? bodies into extensions of the puppets? emotions; the audience can see both actors and puppets performing simultaneously. This will be the first time The Puppet & Its Double presents ?The Happy Prince? in the West, and the audience?s reaction to this Taiwanese take on a famous European parable is worth looking forward to.
?The Happy Prince? first premiered in 2000; its second performance, in 2008, used new puppets and props and more refined puppetry techniques to capture more profoundly the essence of the original fable. Using the relationships between actors and puppets to express Wilde?s poetic imagination and philosophical humor, the new adaptation casts a spell over its audiences, transporting them to a small northern European town to explore alongside the Prince the most precious values of human life. The Puppet & Its Double has adopted new and improved Czech rod marionettes, which expand the possibilities of puppet movements, and uses a revolving stage, as well as many different planes and puppet poses, to convey the fable?s unique atmosphere. By using the relationship between human actors and puppets to express both fancy and philosophy, ?The Happy Prince? maintains the flavor of a fairy tale amid the narrative elements of realism, faithfully capturing both the joys and sorrows of human life.
Since its founding in 1999, The Puppet & Its Double has created rich original works that use the medium of modern puppetry to explore the limits of imagination, while at the same time pushing for greater expressive freedom for puppetry as an art form. In addition, it strives to educate the public both in Taiwan and abroad in hopes of generating a new wave of interest in puppetry, and opening up new horizons for the art form. The troupe excels at imbuing puppets with humanity and capturing the emotional connection between puppets and humans, thereby elevating puppetry to new, refined heights. It employs glove puppets, marionettes, stick puppets, hand spectrum, light and shadow, object theater, and simultaneous human-puppet performance, and caters to audiences ranging from children to adults. With delicate technique, creative design, and deep poetic expressiveness, The Puppet & Its Double creates ?superhuman? imaginative spaces, validating the existence of puppetry as an art form and introducing it to audiences across the world. It is one of contemporary Taiwanese theater?s most unique, boundary-transcending ensembles.
Over the past thirty years, The Vancouver International Children?s Festival has drawn a total of over 1.6 million people to its performances for young audiences. This season, themed ?Celebrate Our Stories,? will feature 14 performance groups from Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Italy, and Taiwan, and will include activities for children of all ages. The festival, which will take place this year on Vancouver?s Granville Island between May 29th and June 3rd, is a celebration of the arts that is fun for the entire family.Performance Schedule of ?The Happy Prince?
Tuesday, May 29 at 10:30am
Wednesday, May 30 at 12:30pm
Thursday, May 31 at 10:30am & 12:30pm
Friday, June 1 at 10:30am
Saturday, June 2 at 1:30pm & 4:00pm
Sunday, June 3 at 2:00pm
1412 Cartwright Street Granville Island, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R7
Contact: Charlie Wu, Managing Director of ACSEA, Tel: 604.816.8288; email:email@example.com