Sat, Jul 06, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Archives show celebrates entertainment before TV

HANDS-ON:The puppetry section includes a video showing how a puppet is controlled in a fight scene and a map showing how fans would follow troupes

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A woman watches the trailer of the 1950 Japanese movie Rashomon, directed by Akira Kurosawa, on Thursday at an exhibition titled “Age of Entertainment — Documenting the Decade Without Television” at the Taipei City Archives in the Wanhua District.

Photo: CNA

The Taipei City Archives is hosting an exhibition titled “Age of Entertainment — Documenting the Decade Without Television,” which displays forms of entertainment before the prevalence of TV and handheld electronics.

The exhibition aims to not only allow visitors to relive the past, but also expose younger people to memories from a past era to form an unbroken cultural link between generations, archive director Chan Su-chen (詹素貞) said during the opening.

The show has five themes: hand puppetry, gezai opera (歌仔戲), movies, books and magazines, and radio broadcasts before Oct. 10, 1962, when Taiwan started broadcasting regular TV shows, Chan said.

The curators invited 70-year-old Huang Wen-lang (黃文郎), grandson of Huang Hai-tai (黃海岱), an influential figure in Taiwanese hand puppetry, to perform the opening act for the show The Great Hero of Yun-zhou — Su Yam-bwen (雲州大儒俠—史豔文).

Huang Wen-lang also recorded a scene on display in the hand puppetry zone that shows visitors how the maestro controls a puppet in an action scene.

The hand puppetry area features a map showing how fans would follow hand puppetry troupes to attend their shows, which was one of the main sources of entertainment in agricultural Taiwan.

Before TV, movies were how fashion trends were set, Chan said.

In the movie section, there is a wall of posters of 30 major actors and actresses, as well as the trailers for 10 popular movies, including Rear Window, Gone With the Wind and The Fantasy of Deer Warrior (大俠梅花鹿), Chan said.

As radio broadcasts used to be the main way of distributing information, the curators included an area where visitors can listen to select programs, including a Hoklo-language (commonly known as Taiwanese) program called Newest Jokes Drama (最新笑科歌劇) and one teaching basic dance steps in the 1950s.

The exhibition, which runs until Oct. 6, is being held in Shuxin Hall (樹心會館) in front of the Nishi Honganji (西本願寺) near Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, and is open to the public from 10am to 5pm.

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