A Marriage of Fun and Fantasy this Sunday


In A Chance Encounter Leads to Marriage, a wealthy rake accosted a virtuous young woman, who was eventually rescued by a handsome scholar, wrote The New York Times.

Reviewing a performance by I Wan Jan, a legendary puppetry troupe from Taiwan, the Times wrote the evening “was filled with dance, acting, mime, romance, ribald comedy, swashbuckling adventures, martial arts and magical transformations. The setting was an elaborate red-and-gold construction that resembled a palace, and there appeared to be a cast of hundreds. Yet no one onstage was more than eight inches tall.”

This coming Sunday, you will have a chance to view these tiny thespians, when I Wan Jan takes the stage at Flushing Town Hall in collaboration with Taipei Culture Center of TECO in New York, New York Institute of Cultural and the Arts, and Chinese Theatre Works.

Due to popular demand, Flushing Town Hall has added a second performance that day!

Fourth generation master puppeteers from Taiwan, I Wan Jan Puppet Theater will present a mesmerizing, traditional hand puppet show based on Peking Opera. This non-verbal piece tells the tale of a young couple’s chance meeting at a festival that features puppets juggling, performing martial arts, and much more.

Founded in 1932, I Wan Jan (pronounced yee-wine-rann) has been run by four generations of professionally trained puppeteers, all descendants of the national treasure Li Tien-lu, a puppet master whose life story was put on the big screen by premier Taiwanese film director Hou Hsiao-Hsien in 1993. I Wan Jan specializes in hand puppets, each controlled by one hand, and both intricate and mesmerizing in their movements and gestures.

Because of an overwhelming response already for the first performance of A Chance Encounter Leads to Marriage at 2:15 PM, Flushing Town Hall has added a second performance at 4:00 PM.

Thanks to a special funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ Coalition of Theater of Color Initiative and the Bulova/Stetson Foundation, there will also be a free panel discussion at 3:00 PM on the tradition and innovation of Taiwanese Hand Puppetry led by I Wan Jan and Chinese Theatre workshop.

Just prior to the performance, at 1:00 PM, master puppeteer Lee Chiun-Kuang leads this children’s workshop where participants can paint their own hand puppet based
on classical Chinese puppetry designs. Master Lee also instructs participants on manipulating Chinese hand puppets for maximum drama.

Tickets are on sale at www.flushingtownhall.org. Due to generous support from the New York Buddhist Center, 100 tickets are being offered for free to senior citizens on a first-come, first-served basis. To receive tickets, seniors (showing identification) must visit Flushing Town Hall’s box office in person between Monday and Friday from Noon to 5:00 PM, and request tickets (up to two per person).

Without any language barriers, A Chance Encounter Leads to Marriage will entertain kids as well as adults.

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