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'The Old Man and the Monkeys & Other Chinese Tales' returns to Atlanta | Arts & Culture

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'The Old Man and the Monkeys & Other Chinese Tales' returns to Atlanta
'The Old Man and the Monkeys & Other Chinese Tales' returns to Atlanta

ATLANTA -– Expert Chinese artists weave together five traditional and not-so-traditional stories of ancient China in The Old Man and the Monkeys & Other Chinese Tales by Dragon Arts Studio.

For two weeks only, Sept. 24 through Oct. 5, Center for Puppetry Arts will present fables of compassion, consideration and cunning, along with the greatest ping pong match of all time.  As part of their final tour before retiring, this performance is Atlanta’s last chance to experience the distinguished puppetry skills of the renowned Dragon Arts Studio artists Yuqin Wang and Zhengli Xu.

When asked why puppetry is such an important part of their lives, Wang and Xu replied (as translated by their daughter Brenda), “the traditional art doesn’t belong to only one country. It is the treasure of the whole world. [We] want not only Chinese people to know this traditional art but people all around the world, to let more people know about the Chinese culture, the history and the puppet art.”

The Old Man and the Monkeys & Other Chinese Tales includes five distinct vignettes:

* When an old man, tired from carrying his load, stops under a tree to rest, he unwittingly sets himself up to be the center of some naughty monkeys’ amusement. The monkeys enthusiastically play with and eventually carry off the old man’s goods, leaving him quite befuddled when he awakes. Tales of clever and playful monkeys are popular throughout China and The Old Man and the Monkeys perfectly captures this element of Chinese storytelling.

* In The Crane and the Tortoise, a proud and beautiful crane flies to a pond and lands near the shore, interrupting a turtle’s peaceful rest. This little turtle is exceptionally witty and uses his cunning to outsmart the self-important crane, who keeps pestering him.

* A farmer’s daughter and her donkey share a special connection in The Donkey’s Best Friend.  The two only want to play, but the farmer insists on burdening the donkey with a heavy load, much to his daughter’s disapproval. Eventually the donkey collapses and the daughter helps her father understand that a heavy load needs to be shared in order to be bearable.

* The Dancer emerges from the mist and with graceful movements and enchanting music evokes the exquisite art of ancient fairy tales.

* In The Super Duper Ping Pong Match, the puppeteers use ingeniously simple effects to perform the best and most hilarious ping pong match ever seen. Two competitors duke it out as the ping pong continually grows in size, adding a comical twist to this vignette that will have the audience bursting with laughter.

Recommended for ages 4 and up, The Old Man and the Monkeys & Other Chinese Tales will run in the Mainstage Theater. Show times are as follows:

* Wednesday – Friday: 10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.
* Saturday: 12 p.m. & 2 p.m.
* Sunday: 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.

Tickets include museum admission as well as the Create-A-Puppet Workshop, where children can make their own Mischievous Monkey hand puppet. Tickets are $9.25 for members and $16.50 for nonmembers, and can be purchased online at www.puppet.org or by calling the box office at 404-873-3391.