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August 31, 2011

Italian aria + Southern Chinese music (Nanguan) = Glove Puppet show "Marco Polo"

"Marco Polo" by Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company
Friday 26 August, Saturday 27 August, 7.15pm & 11.30pm
Glass Atrium, Level 2, National Museum of Singapore

Adapted from taovictor's writeup: 
Hi folks,
If you missed the Tai Yuan Puppet Theatre Company’s performance of Marco Polo, you missed one of the best potehi (glove puppet) shows! Imagine how many are there in the world, maybe only this one, where there is a puppet show where Italian Aria and Nanyin are sung! (^^) What a hoot! And I wonder how many in the world would be able to understand both languages? Maybe some Taiwanese … well, some Nanyang Chinese who are Aria singers. (^^)
And trying to do a duet??  Must be challenging to put the music and lyrics .. but what fun! I cannot understand Italian and so would need Stefano to tell us. Maybe give us the subtitle. The Hokkien was hilarious. Imagine what the maid said about this strange guy who looks like a pig! (^^) Much of the dialogues are not displayed … it would be a mammoth task to do that subtitling at the speed which the dialog goes. I looked around and wondered, how many in the audience could understand Chinese. Not many local children I think, but many foreign ones!! And look at the crowd! Yes, this is Saturday night. But one could count by the two hands on potehi in Singapore! At, but perhaps, it is because the local potehi is meant for the Gods and so the stories are very serious, often sobby, and difficult to follow. Marco Polo? Fun, comic and certainly poking fun at the cross-cultural understanding, or misunderstanding. Is it true that Marco Polo stole the diary from his brother Matteo? (^^)

The scenes were many and the story moved very fast .. climax after climax, the audience had no time to rest. Never mind that they did not understand all the dialog, the actions were enough to keep them glued to that tiny audience.
I noticed that there was a video recording of the show. Hope this is made available to the public, especially, the schools. Add in the subtitling, and it would be a great piece. Certainly an interesting way to get the students to learn about Marco Polo! (^^)
Videos as well:
Seeing 'stars': a plot to save Marco Polo from death
 Marco Polo confessing his love
 Hokkien Nanyin (Nanguan, Southern music) VS Italian aria

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