On Sunday, August 13, Flushing Town Hall (FTH), located at 137-35 Northern Blvd in New York, will be hosting the American premiere of the award-winning puppet show, “The Paper Play” produced by Puppet Beings Theater.
Puppet Beings Theater has won numerous awards for their performances, including “Best Performance” and “Best Creativity” at the Shanghai International Children Theater Festival in 2009 and the “Creative Award” at the First China Nanchong International Puppet Art Week in 2014.
The theater was founded in Taiwan over two decades ago by puppet performing artist Cheng-Chieh Sun with the goal of producing and introducing modern puppet shows for all audiences.
In conversation with Vision Times, Gabrielle Hamilton, Director of Education & Public Programs for Flushing Town Hall described “The Paper Play” as “light-hearted and comical,” adding that, “It’s also really creative and infectious.”
“The puppeteers are basically playing with the paper to create different puppets, whether it’s cranes or birds and tell stories that way,” she said, adding that, “It’s really exciting. There’s different segments and one is … more staged and the other is more improvised and the improvised piece is pretty wild.”
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The hour-long, all ages show will premiere at 2:15 pm. Cost of admission for the general public is $15 and for members of FTH, seniors and students the cost is $12. For children 12-years-old or younger admission is only $8.
Prior to the show, at 1 pm, families will have the unique opportunity to attend a workshop where children and adults alike will create their own mini-performance with various shapes of paper.
For those unable to attend in person, FTH will be live streaming the show for all Culture Stream subscribers. Subscriptions can be obtained by going to FTH’s website. A subscription costs only $5 a month and can be canceled at any time.
“We are delighted to welcome the Puppet Beings Theater for their U.S. premiere at Flushing Town Hall,” Hamilton said, adding that, “Their innovative puppetry unleashes the imagination and creativity in audiences of all ages.”
Prepare to be enthralled
Huichun Chang, director of the Taipei Cultural Center in New York said that she is “excited to collaborate with Flushing Town Hall once again, presenting a captivating Taiwanese puppet show.”
“We are confident that audiences will be enthralled by ‘The Paper Play’ as it makes its debut in the United States and New York for the very first time,” she added.
Flushing Town Hall has hosted internationally acclaimed puppetry artists for years, including performances by the Salzburg Marionette Theatre from Austria, and the award-winning Tanglewood Marionettes from Massachusetts, thanks to support from the Jim Henson Foundation.
A Smithsonian affiliate, Flushing Town Hall aims to “present multi-disciplinary global arts that engage and educate the global communities of Queens and New York City.”
The show is presented in two parts. In addition to “The Paper Play,” audience members will also be presented with a story entitled “The Park.” It’s a story about a little boy playing with a ball in a park who unexpectedly develops a unique relationship with an old man he once feared.
“Puppets, lights and music bring to life this touching story of caring for the elderly,” reads a press release concerning the show.
One chance only
Chiao Fu, manager of Puppet Beings Theater, told Vision Times that Sunday’s performance will be the only performance in New York that will be held at a professional venue, and urged New Yorkers to attend this unique experience.
She said that paper was chosen as a medium because it is a form of “Object Theater,” a form of puppetry art that utilizes everyday objects as the main characters and elements of the performance.
“Paper is a very interesting material, because paper is a really normal thing that is [an] easily accessible thing in our daily life.,” she said adding that, “We use paper creatures to connect different stories … and the audience can see how the creatures connect during the show.”
The show features a limited script, and instead employs animal noises and evolving puppetry to inspire the audience’s imagination and allow them to connect with the puppets.
“When we use paper as the puppets, the audience has to make a guess about what creature it is and also they have to figure out what story is being told,” she said.
She said that paper is used because it is important that “art does not only happen in the theater but in our daily lives, at our home and in our schools.”
After the show, she encourages everyone to try making paper puppets themselves at home and with their family.
“If they can bring the idea back to their daily life, then it will be the most important and interesting thing about the show,” she said.
For tickets, go to FlushingTownHall.org or call 718-463-7700 ext. 222 for assistance.