Taishan's one-man show
A shadow puppet show by Fan Zheng'an.[Photo by Wang Qian / China Daily]
But the young boy could not afford to buy the tickets which cost 5 fen (less than 1 cent). He sneaked into the performance by hiding among adult legs or making a hole in the sorghum walls. When he got caught, he would linger outside and listen through the walls.
Four years later, when Fan was 12, he dropped out of school and joined Liu on the road as his apprentice.
"Taishan puppetry is especially good at fighting scenes, and its most representative play is about a Taishan hero named Shi Gandang, who captured a lot of evil spirits," Fan is always enthusiastic about his favorite subject and he says he can talk about it for three days without stopping.
"The singing is strongly flavored by the Shandong dialect. And just as Shandong people never hesitate to show their true nature, Taishan puppets are very close to life."