Traditional Turkish Puppets Shadow Play Karagoz and Hacivat, Karagöz Hacivat, Radyo iz








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Traditional Turkish Puppets Shadow Play Karagoz


Traditional Turkish Puppets Shadow Play Karagoz and Hacivat



Traditional Turkish Puppets Shadow Play Karagoz and HacivatKaragöz (meaning blackeye in Turkish) and Hacivat (also written Hacivad) are the lead characters of the traditional Turkish shadow play, popularized during the Ottoman period. The central theme of the plays are the contrasting interaction between the two main characters: Karagöz represents the illiterate but straightforward public, whereas Hacivat belongs to the educated class, speaking Ottoman Turkish  and using a poetical and literary language. Karagöz's native wit always gets the better of Hacivat's learning (but his money-making ventures always fail).


Karagöz-Hacivat plays are especially associated with Ramadan. Until the rise of radio and film, it was one of the most popular forms of entertainment in Turkey. It survives today mainly in a toned-down form intended for audiences of children.


When the plays were first performed is unclear. Some believe that the first Karagöz-Hacivat play was performed for sultan Selim I (reigned 1512–1520) in Egypt  after his conquest of the Memluks, but 17th century writer Evliya Celebi  stated that it had been performed in the Ottoman palace as early as the reign of Beyazid I  (reigned 1389–1402). Karagöz and Hacivat themselves are supposedly modeled on two laborers whose banter entertained their co-workers (and slowed down the work) during the construction of a mosque in Bursa during the reign of Orhan I  (who ruled the nascent Ottoman Empire 1326–1359). They were executed for the resulting delay of the work, but became folk heroes. One version of the legend says that a contemporary of theirs, one Seyh Kusteri, made camel-hide puppets of them and began to perform plays.



Karagöz can be deceitful, lewd, and even violent.


Other characters in these plays are the drunkard Tuzsuz Deli Bekir with his wine bottle, the long-necked Uzun Efe, the opium addict Kanbur Tiryaki with his pipe, Alti Karis Beberuhi (an eccentric dwarf), the half-wit Denyo, the spendthrift Civan, and Nigar, a flirtatious woman. There may also be dancers and djinns, and various portrayals of non-Turks: an Arab who knows no Turkish (typically a beggar or sweet-seller), a black servant woman, a Circassian  servant girl, an Albanian security guard,  an Armenian (usually a footman or money-changer), a Jew (usually a goldsmith or scrap-dealer), a Laz  (usually a boatman), or a Persian (who recites poetry with an Azeri  accent).



Karagöz plays are structured in four parts:

  • Mukaddime: Introduction. Hacivat sings a semai (different at each performance), recites a prayer, and indicates that he is looking for his friend Karagöz, whom he beckons to the scene with a speech that always ends "Yar bana bir eğlence" ("Oh, for some amusement"). Karagöz enters from the opposite side.

  • Muhavere: dialogue between Karagöz and Hacivat

  • Fasil: main plot

  • Bitis: Conclusion, always a short argument between Karagöz and Hacivat, always ending with Hacivat yelling at Karagöz that he has "ruined" whatever matter was at hand and has "brought the curtain down," and Karagöz replying "May my transgressions be forgiven."




Animators (the puppet masters)


Animators (or the puppet masters) of Karagöz plays are called hayalî, meaning both 'imaginary' and 'image creator'. (They are also known as Karagözcü or hayalbaz.) A single hayalî impersonates every single character in the play by mimicking sounds, talking in different dialects, chanting or singing songs of the character in focus. He is normally assisted by an apprentice who sets up and tears down, and who hands him the puppets as needed. The latter task might also be performed by a sandikkar (from "sandık", "chest"). A yardak might sing songs, and a dairezen play the tamboirine.

The puppets themselves have jointed limbs and are made from the hide of a camel or a water buffalo.  The hide is worked until it is semi-transparent; then it is colored, resulting in colorful projections. The lamp for projection is known as a şem’a (literally "candle"), but is typically an oli lamp. Images are projected onto a white muslin  screen known as the ayna ("mirror"). Projections is from the rear, so the audience does not see the puppeteer. Puppets are typically 35–40 centimeters in height.





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A Brief Information About The Turkish Folk Music

As in most societies we come across Turkish folk music dealing with daily life and Turkish classical music, the music of the courts. A folk song usually deals with things of daily life, be it a work song, a story-telling ballad, a love song, or a dance song.


The subject of the song usually reflects the way people live and work, the language they speak, the instruments they play. Folk songs called "türkü", reflects the events experienced by Turks. Türkü changes with the changing times.

Folk songs always have a story behind them. Sometimes it is a love story and sometimes it is the expression of deep emotions even though modern and the latest technical developments are used to convey the powerful feelings of a regional people with traditions stretching back for centuries. You can feel the sorrow of a mother asking about her son lost in the war, or a young newly wed couple not wanting to leave each other alone for fear that something may happen to one or the other. The regional mood also affects folk songs. For example folk songs from the Black Sea are lively in general and express the customs of the region. Songs about betrayal have an air of defiance about them instead of sadness.






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