The Taiwanese budaixi and the French Guignol of Lyon are both traditional hand puppet theater and are considered as one of representative local images, or even national ones, but their origines are deeply related with outlands. This research aims at comparing their development, predicament, and preservation, through related cultrual policies of the Taiwanese and Franch government and responses of puppeters.
The first chapter introduces the historical background of the budaixi at Taiwan and the Guignol at Lyon along with their evolution, which will serve as the basis of the comparative analysis later on. The discussion focus on three topics: the evolution of forms and performance of these two puppet theaters, the debate about “authenticity” and “tradition” in terms of their changes, and the controversy concerning the commercialisation. This chapter tries to compare the difference between these two puppet theaters and their management.
The analysis of the second chapter is based on the age of the audience. Discussions on their variation along with causes of these changes are advanced to compare the adaptation made by Taiwanese and French government, puppeteers and amateurs as facing this crisis in commun: the loss of spectators. It presents not only similarties and differences among the traditional budaixi, the jin’guang budaixi, the pili budaixi, and the Guignol theater, but also how the government assistes the puppeteers in both preservation of puppetry and the commercialisation.
The third chapiter emphasizes on the link between these two traditional puppetries and the politics in their country. Through comparing related governmental cultrual policies and activities, we can find that Taiwanese and French government’s attitudes towards puppetry shift from censorship to encomium, from suppression to subvention. This distinctive transition has possitive enfluence on puppeteers. Nevertheless, the intention of government sometimes diverges from the vision of artistes. Although the budaixi and the Guignol theater are both considered as important cultural heritage in Taiwan and in France, the former is more politicized than the latter due to its delicate political situation, complicated historical background, and vulnerable diplomatic ties with others countries.
How do the traditional puppet theaters survive under the influence of modernisation, urbanisation, and globalisation? How do they adapte with the new generation of audiences without losing their essential caracteristics? That is the question that every generation of these puppeteers ask themselves recurrently.