Master puppeteer Hanne Tierney (My Life in a Nutshell, Leibniz’ Folly) kicks off the HERE Dream Music Puppetry Program’s 20th season with Strange Tales of Liaozhai, two Chinese folktales told through music, drawing, choreography, and with over 100 manipulated strings. According to HERE, “These separate narratives wind in and out of each other, unfolding through movement, images, and gestures, with expressive silks, lanterns, and bamboo poles brought to life in real time.”
The two stories –”one is a love story and the other a tale of magic pigeons” — have been adapted for stage from their original text in the 18th-century collection of the same name. The 500-story volume was written by Qing dynasty writer/scholar Pu Songling, and in his discussion of morality and the human condition, supernatural metaphor is key, complete with ghosts, talking animals, exorcisms, and satire.
Tierney’s production promises to stoke the imagination and challenge the boundaries of perception through her own abstract puppetry, but she enlists reinforcements too: Artist Hannah Wasileski’s projected, hand-drawn images will be featured, and Jane Wang contributes original compositions for toy pianos and the double bass — so much to be seen and heard!