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Puppets Shadow Play Karagoz
Traditional Turkish Puppets
Shadow Play Karagoz and Hacivat
(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
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
When the plays were
first performed is unclear. Some believe that the first Karagöz-Hacivat
play was performed for sultan Selim I (reigned 15121520) 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 13891402). 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 13261359). 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:
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.
dialogue between Karagöz and Hacivat
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.
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 şema (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 3540 centimeters in height.
|| 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.