This M1 Chinese Theatre Festival 2014, let us take a peek into Hsueh Mei-Hua’s world of miniature puppetry through her performance Mo Gu Notes.
“Puppetry Goddess” Hsueh Mei-Hua
（照片：薛美华 Photo: Hsueh Mei Hua）
Mei Hua started learning Peking Opera at the age of ten and graduated from the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts. On a coincidental occasion, she joined Shoe Children Theater and started picking up the skill of crafting puppets as well as puppetry, and eventually became a puppetry director and actor.
Mei Hua has accumulated more than two decades of experience in performing. Her rich experience has earned her the title of “Puppetry Goddess” and “Deity of Puppetry”.
As an outstanding puppeteer, she has frequently cooperated with various international artists and groups since the 1980s, and directed several puppetry performances ranging from small to large-scale productions. Mei Hua is also an expert in children arts education, with a wealth of experience in theatre teaching.
In year 2006, Mei Hua was selected for education funding under Cloud Gate Dance Theatre’s The Wanderers’ project and went to Indonesia STSI to learn puppetry. It was a difficult learning journey which allowed her to gain knowledge in the ancient and exclusive art of Indonesia puppetry.
Mei Hua’s dream puppetry tour
目前，她不但推动“带偶到你家旅行”行动艺术，还有“玩具剧场”及“微型偶戏艺术家”。她也是文山剧场 – “靴子-爱玩剧”策展人。
2013年，美华获选 “宝藏岩国际艺术村”微型群聚艺术家。并成立 “在艺起-Toy Theater”。
（照片：美华在为孩子们表演 Photo: Mei Hua performing for children）
During the summer of 2009, armed with a luggage, Mei Hua started her solo performing journey of Bringing Puppet To Your Home. It was her dream come true. She brought the art of mini puppetry all around Taiwan, to families, pre-schools, schools and churches, staging free performances for kids. She handled everything alone, from the constructing of the stage to the making of puppets, and the performing. She also wrote the script, which talked about a helpful boy who wished for a better world and started a journey of spreading seeds. Isn’t this akin to what Mei Hua is doing? Spreading seeds through theatre and to create a better world.
Other than Bringing Puppet To Your Home, she is currently involved in “Toy Theatre” and “Mini Puppetry Artists”. She is also the planner of Wen Shan Theatre’s “ Boots – playing drama”.
In year 2013, Mei Hua was selected as a Artist under the Treasure Hill Artist Village and established “Toy Theatre”.
About the miniature puppetry show Mo Gu Notes
（照片：《蘑菇记事》在“超亲密小戏节”上 Photo of Mo Gu Notes at “Close To You Festival”)
Mo Gu Notes was performed during the Close To You Festival in 2010. The performance location was at a second-hand bookshop in Taipei. The shelves of books became the setting of the show.
According to Mei Hua, Mini Puppet Theatre plays with the idea of “small is big”. She was inspired by the miniature curio cabinets from the Qing dynasty and designed the mini stage of Mo Gu Notes with them in mind. So what is a curio cabinet?
Curio Cabinets- During the Qing dynasty, the Emperor enjoyed admiring his treasured collections in his leisure time. However, the Emperor rarely had such time, so he ordered the artisan to make the collection in miniature forms and kept them in a box, so he could bring them along and admire whenever he was free. The box had to be compact and be able to keep many items. The artisan decided to design a box with multiple cabinets to contain all the treasures (we wonder if it might have been so complicated that the Emperor himself was unable to find the treasures within?). The curio box may seem small, but it has an abundant collection of treasures and is an epitome of the palace, and has left future generations in awe.
How will Mei Hua play with this inspiration? How creative will her mini stage turn out? How will she weave together lights and paper puppetry? What will the stage space be like?
Come and check it out! Purchase your tickets now!
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