Shan Puppet Theater

Journey to the West: Mischief in Crystal Palace  

The Shan Puppet Theater combines traditional Taiwanese hand puppetry with indigenous Hakka culture, song, and language. Founded in 2002 by performing artist Huang Wu-shan, Shan Puppet Theater performs with live musical accompaniment, masterful vocal characterizations, and hands-on demonstrations for audiences after the show.  

Journey to the West recounts the sixteen-year pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Hsüan-tsang (596-664), who journeyed to India to return lost Buddhist sutras to China. This hundred-chapter epic combines religious allegory with romance, fantasy, humor, and satire. It is one of the most popular literary works in East Asia and continues to be adapted into new media such as live-action and anime films.  

Mischief in Crystal Palace features the Monkey King and trickster hero, Sun Wukong, who was born from a stone and acquired supernatural powers through Taoist practices. He was punished by the Buddha with imprisonment under a mountain for 500 years for rebelling against Heaven, only to be released when he agreed to accompany Hsüan-tsang on his journey. In this story, he matches wits with the Demon Bull King and raises a hilarious ruckus for the ages in the Crystal Palace. 

Program runs 40 minutes and will be presented in Hakka, with Mandarin and English subtitles. 


This program is made possible through partnerships with the Michigan Taiwanese American Association and Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York and is is supported through a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation.