July 19, 2012

A guardian angel singing snatches from the greatest hits of the British rock band Queen is perhaps the strangest apparition in “Hand Stories,” an autobiographical work from Yeung Fai, a Chinese-born puppeteer, presented at the Clark Studio Theater as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. Mr. Yeung, the show’s creator and the principal puppeteer, was born to a father celebrated for his glove puppetry, a traditional Chinese art form that dates back centuries and is passed down directly through families. In an early sequence we watch a film from the 1960s of Mr. Yeung’s father, Yang Shen, performing a scene of courtship between a lord and lady projected on a narrow strip of screen at the back of the stage. Mr. Yeung then performs the same scene live, using beautifully fashioned hand puppets that move with a delicacy that evokes real movement and also gently lampoons it to humorous effect.