'His puppets fight with sticks, seduce each other all with such grace and precision that they appear to be dancing in the hands of their master' Le Temps
'A wonderful spectacle that delights and fascinates…delicate, serious, spellbinding'
'Fascinating to watch' New York Times
'You can’t take your eyes off them – those hands in which are held an entire life'
It starts with hands: his father’s hands, his brothers’, his countrymen’s, and above all his own.
Youngest in a line of five generations of puppeteers, Yeung Fai’s family fell victim to Mao’s Tse Tung’s Cultural Revolution: its ancient craft deemed decadent, and banned. Set against the vast changes that swept China during the 20th century this poignant story of a boy’s journey to freedom in the West is Yeung Fai’s personal history.
Hand Stories brilliantly interweaves modern multimedia effects with traditional Chinese puppetry. Manipulating a panoply of classic, Beijing Opera figures with great virtuosity - tigers, dragons, concubines, clashing warriors - and a rock'n'roll guardian angel, Yeung Fai and French puppeteer Yoann Pencolé reveal secrets of an age-old artform. Taiwanese visual artist Yllan Yeh’s stunning images and Australian composer Colin Offord’s original score add to the magic.
Commissioned and produced by Switzerland’s celebrated Théâtre Vidy, Lausanne, Hand Stories was a hit at New York’s Lincoln Center Festival in 2012.
Presented in association with The Barbican
Age guidance: 11+
Production: Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne
Co-production: Théâtre Jeune Public de Strasbourg–CDN d’Alsace and Théâtre des Marionnettes de Genève, with the support of the l’Institut International de la Marionnette de Charleville-Mézières and the Arts Council of Switzerland for the tour.
photos: Mario Del Curto