Without a shadow of a doubt, a great event is afoot

750-600-puppetryslamOn Friday, July 29, Flushing Town Hall will present the first-ever Shadow Puppet Slam, a sampling of the best contemporary practitioners of the ancient art form of shadow puppetry curated by the Chinese Theatre Works.

The event will feature multiple puppeteers exploring new and groundbreaking work, bringing together the luminous, the laughable, the shady, the digital, and the ancient analog image in motion. The event – curated by Chinese Theatre Works’ co-artistic directors, Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin –is for adult audiences.

The event starts at 7:00 PM. You can purchase tickets at http://www.flushingtownhall.org.

“The Shadow Puppet Slam illustrates the wondrous, one-of-a-kind experiences that audiences can enjoy at Flushing Town Hall, as we continue to provide global arts for global audiences,” said Flushing Town Hall Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek.

Chinese Theatre Works’ mission is to preserve and promote traditional Chinese performing arts, including opera, shadow theatre, puppetry, dance and music; to create new works in the performing arts that bridge Eastern and Western aesthetics and forms; and to foster understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture in audiences, students, artists and educators around the globe.  The company was created in 2001 out of the merger of two companies with long histories of bringing traditional and contemporary innovative Chinese performing arts to local New York City, national and international audiences – The Gold Mountain Institute for Traditional Shadow Theatre (founded 1975) and Chinese Theatre Workshop (founded 1990).

The company presents a wide range of Chinese traditional performing arts programs, from shadow, rod and Taiwanese glove puppetry to Peking and Kun opera, performed by classically-trained artists. Our lecture-performances, in English and Chinese, seek to bring an understanding and appreciation of all aspects of Chinese traditional art forms to younger Chinese immigrants and other newcomers to the art form, as well as connoisseurs.

Chinese Theatre Works’ original productions blend Eastern and Western theatrical styles of puppetry and live performance. Its work includes adaptations of classic works (both Chinese and Western) – Toy Theater Peony Pavilion (winner of a 2001 UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence) combining the 16th century Kun opera classic with European toy theater, Tiger Tales, a retelling through overhead projector shadow puppetry of several folktales about the travails of the small and powerless in the modern jungle, Book of Songs, presenting 2500 years of Chinese poetry through art forms from bunraku to traditional Chinese hand puppetry, and The Birth of Monkey King, a shadow puppetry version of the first section of the Chinese classic Journey to the West – works dealing with the contemporary Chinese and Chinese American experience – Three Women, Many Plays, telling the story of Chinese shadow puppetry in the U.S. (winner of four awards in 2005 at the First International Shadow Play Festival in Tangshan, China), Day Jobs, Opera Dreams, using oral histories from immigrant Chinese opera artists, Two Horses, a shadow puppetry and opera piece on tradition and modernity in Taiwanese culture – and collaborations with noted puppetry artists including the Bread & Puppet Theater’s Peter Schumann on Songs from the Yellow Earth and Taiwanese glove puppetry master Wushan Huang on Ti-Oh-Oh.  Its original work has appeared in numerous theaters, museums, universities, and festivals.  Recent tours have visited many cities across the U.S. as well as festivals in China, Canada, Korea, and Taiwan.

Additionally, Flushing Town Hall is participating in Astoria Bank’s initiative to collect school supplies for students. Audience members are encouraged to help local students whose families struggle to afford school supplies they need to perform well and excel in the classroom. Through August, people can bring new school supplies to Flushing Town Hall or Astoria Bank branches.

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