The Taiwanese puppet show (“Budaixi”) is a distinguished form of performing arts in Taiwan. Although basically hand puppets, the appear as complete forms, with hands and feet, on an elaborately decorated stage.
The puppet performance is typically by a small orchestra. The backstage music is directed by the drum player. The drummer needs to pay attention to what is going on in the plot and follow the rhythm of the characters. He also uses the drum to the other musicians. There are generally around four to five musicians who perform the backstage music. The form of music used is often associated with various performance , including acrobatics and skills like window-jumping, stage movement, and fighting. Sometimes unusual animal puppets also appear on stage for extra , especially for children in the audience.
In general, a show needs two performers. The main performer is generally the chief or of the troupe. He is the one in charge of the whole show, manipulating the main puppets, singing, and narrating. The performer manipulates the puppets to coordinate with the main performer. He also changes the costumes of the puppets, and takes care of the stage. The relationship between the main performer and his partner is one of master and apprentice. Frequently, the master trains his sons to eventually him as puppet masters.
Budaixi troupes are often hired to perform at processions and festivals held in honor of local gods, and on happy such as weddings, births, and promotions. The main purpose of Budaixi is to and offer thanks to the deities. The shows also serve as a popular means of folk entertainment.