Mon, Feb 18, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Troupe sends gift to young patient

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA, SAN FRANCISCO

Nine-year-old Trisha Stanford from from Utah, plays with a puppet on Friday given to her by the Taiyuan Puppet Theater Company.

PHOTO: CNA

In an example of traditional Taiwanese culture spreading its influence around the world, Taiwanese puppet theater has brought joy into the life of a young girl from the US suffering from muscular dystrophy.

A nine-year-old girl named Trisha Stanford fell in love with the artform when she saw the Taiyuan Puppet Theater Company stage a performance last October at the Salt Lake City children's hospital where she was being cared for.

The troupe, led by Huang Wu-shan (黃武山), a well-known student of Taiwanese puppet master Li Tien-lu (李天祿), performed at the hospital as part of the Taiwan Cultural Festival held in Utah's largest city from Oct. 15 to Oct. 20.

The festival, sponsored by the Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco and various government agencies, featured Taiwanese film, performances, music and culinary arts.

Trisha, who had been in the hospital for three months awaiting spinal surgery, was immediately drawn to the colorful puppets in the puppet theater show.

"The visit by the puppet troupe was one of the highlights in Trisha's young life," her mother said.

After the show, Huang taught Trisha some puppet manipulation techniques.

Just recently, months after the troupe had left Salt Lake City, the US organizers of the Taiwan Cultural Festival received a package sent from Taiwan by the troupe containing a DVD of a famous Taiwanese puppet theater film and a full-sized puppet of the main character in the film that were meant as gifts for Trisha.

When the organizers sent the loving gift to the young girl, they got some good news. Trisha's surgery had been a success, and she was released from the hospital in November.

The nine-year-old was recovering well and was even able to walk short distances on her own.

Trisha expressed her love for Taiwanese puppetry and her wish to be able to visit Taiwan one day to see its many puppet museums.

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