Co-organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia, the INXO Arts and Cultural Foundation conducted the "Tea Philo" E-Talk titled "The Aesthetics of Contemporary Puppet Making (當代戲偶製作美學)," featuring Taiwanese puppetry artist Liang Mong-han (梁夢涵). The ETalk was broadcast through Tea Philo's Facebook page on March 19.
Liang Mong-han is a puppet and mask designer for theatre performances and she collaborated with Chen Chia-hao (陳佳豪) to establish a troupe, "Puppet on the Workbench (偶人工作桌)," combining the experiment and creation of the contemporary puppet show and operative skills of the traditional puppet show. The troupe has created and performed many small puppet shows, such as "Planting baby (種小孩)" "Cocoon (繭)," "Reflection in the Box (箱子裡的倒影)," and "Mo and Dog (小墨與狗)."
Liang stated that a puppet in the contemporary puppet show can be seen as either an animate or inanimate role. Through this medium, puppet makers can express their thoughts and connotations of the puppet character. Moreover, the relationship between the puppeteer and the puppet is an art. The size and appearance of the puppet, as well as the way the puppeteer manipulates the puppet, can convey a variety of connotations of a role to the audience in the play. Because of the "multiple identities" of the puppet, the audience can project their imagination to the infinite.
Liang also mentioned that only puppet makers who know how to manipulate puppets can make puppets that are easy to manipulate. During the puppet-making process, she said puppet makers start by designing their character and form, then they decide on the size, material and color of the puppets based on factors such as the performance venue, lighting and others. To date, Taiwanese puppet troupes have been performing in large theaters. Therefore, puppet makers mainly produce medium-to-large-size or life-size puppets.