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Shadow play to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year

02-16-2011 08:28 BJT Special Report:2011 Spring Festival |

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You may recall a piece we did on the dying art of the traditional Chinese folk art known as the Shadow play. Well, today we want to tell you about a troupe that's been around for ten years now, and show you what they are doing to keep the Shadow Play alive and well, especially during Spring Festival.

The amateur troupe from Panjin of northeast China's Liaoning Province is performing an old favorite for the locals there. This shadow play has a history of more than two hundred years.

For ten years, this troupe from Dahuang Farm has gone to many places in the area to entertain the residents with traditional and well-known shadow plays.

The shadow play has been called the original "Chinese Cartoon", and to perform a great shadow play is no easy task for it takes considerable expertise in the fine arts, often requiring artists to perform multiple skills at once.

Nevertheless, performers find it rewarding because it brings the audience a lot of happiness. The major problem now is that the audience is aging fast, and the vast majority of young people do not really understand the ancient art form.

Shadow play or shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment
using opaque, often articulated figures in front of an illuminated backdrop to create
the illusion of moving images.(File photo)

Audience Member, said, "The sound of the play made me think of the sound from a tooth ache, but the shadows are interesting. I want to come again next time; the festive atmosphere is great here."

If the troupe from Dahuang Farm and other shadow play artists want to attract younger audiences, they may need to do some creative thinking and adapt a new style. But at least for now, these traditional plays are bringing lots of laughs to holiday audiences.

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