West Coast New Area

Witness Laixi puppet shows in Qingdao's old downtown area

( | 2024-02-23


A Laixi puppet show is performed in the old downtown area of Qingdao. [Photo/Qingdao Daily]

Laixi puppet shows have been frequently appearing in the old downtown area of Qingdao in the form of flash mobs and parades, resulting in spectacular performances and engaging interactions with passersby.

"The first month of the lunar year is the best time for puppet shows. In the past, they were mainly performed in rural areas, but the performances have gradually expanded into urban areas and scenic spots," said Jiang Yutao, the fifth-generation inheritor of the Laixi puppet show.

"During this year's Spring Festival holiday, we performed on Zhongshan Road and Dabao Island, which attracted audiences of all ages, especially children," Jiang added.

The Laixi puppet show is a municipal-level intangible cultural heritage item in Qingdao. The puppet designs are based on the facial makeup of traditional Chinese operas, and the performances incorporate the movements, jumps, somersaults, and turns of theatrical characters. Its heritage also includes puppet making.

Laixi is considered the birthplace of Chinese puppetry. Jiang said that the traditional Laixi puppet show involves a dozen plays, accompanied by Peking opera, Lyu opera, and musical instruments such as the Jinghu, erhu, drums, and gongs.

"In order to pass down the art, innovation is necessary," Jiang said. Sichuan's face-changing art has been incorporated into the puppetry, with the puppeteers and puppets changing faces simultaneously, drawing on elements from other theatrical genres. The Laixi puppet show has gained new vitality and received praise from audiences around the world.