Dorama, a Japanese TV series starring popular young actors and singers, is one major import to Taiwan that has enchanted the hearts of both teenagers and adults. For the All Star Theatre, it's become a new brand of puppet theater.
In a bid to interest young people in traditional puppet performances, the new group has made its debut, Millennium Countdown a montage of familiar scenes from Dorama. Speaking Mandarin instead of Taiwanese, the characters flaunt orange hair, ride Vespas around Taipei and have ham sandwiches for breakfast.
As the group's six performers are from theater or dance backgrounds, their approach to puppet performance is uninhibited by tradition. However, the group does depend a lot on its founding member, Huang Wu-shan, a puppet performer with the renowned I Wan Jan Puppet Theater.
Huang trained the All Star' performers for two months. Unfortunately, a lack a of technical expertise still shows.
True to the spirit of Dorama, all melodramatic elements are present. A boy and a girl fatefully fall in love, while a bad guy is always leering at her; just when things are looking up, she becomes stricken with cancer. Fortunately, the predictable plot is scattered with surprising comic relief throughout.
It's an open question whether performing Dorama is the desirable future for puppet theater. However, Millennium Countdown might be a nice way to wile away an evening with more than a few laughs.
Millennium Countdown will be performed tonight, tomorrow and Sunday, and from July 19 to July 21 at 7:30pm at the Residence Salon, 46 Su Chuo Rd. Matinee performances will be held at 2:30pm tomorrow and on July 20. Tickets are available for NT$300 through Acer ticketing outlets. A special "lovers' discount" is offered at NT$240 per seat. For details, see the group's Web site at http://allstartheatre.tripod.com.