There's a long series of strenuous duets by the four male dancers. They hold and lift and carry each other, but the progression of movement is interrupted at strategic intervals, so your eye lingers on dramatic moments of surprise, grasping, pushing away, embracing, caressing that you might miss if the dancing were continuous. The duets have atomized into erotic encounters.
Watching these passing scenes, the puppet discovers he's gay, and all six dancers manipulate him in a triumphant and amazingly realistic dance. He falls in love at last, with one of the dancers, and they do a tender duet together.
Wonderboy has a tone of rapt discovery that I found slightly unconvincing. "Something so precious, so real!" coos the puppet, viewing the men's duets. I loved the theatrical ingenuity of the piece, but the sentiment seemed drawn from another era. It was like revisiting the Haight-Ashbury in the Days of Harvey Milk.
Editor's Note: In a previous version of this article theJapanese puppet theater bunraku was misspelled as bugaku. The correction has been made above.
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