TURKISH SHADOW THEATER: KARAGÖZ AND CONTEMPORARY THEATER FOR CHIILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
lecture on English
LECTURE by Prof. Dr. Hasan Erkek (Turkey)
27 April, 10.00 in conference hall of Hotel SADKO
SPECIAL EVENT OF FESTIVAL
Prof. Dr. Hasan Erkek, a playwright and a professor of drama, has been awarded more than 14 prizes over ten years. He has published 20 fiction and non-fiction books. He has given play reading, dramaturgy, dramatization, creative writing, dramatic techniques and contemporary theatre courses in various faculties of Anadolu University. His plays have been performed by over 30 theatres from different countries, Algeria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Cameroon and Kosovo, as well as primarily Turkish National Theatres. Furthermore, he has written poems, radio plays (approximately 16 radio plays were broadcast on national radios in Turkey) and film scripts (some of them have been used in films). His plays have been published by 14 different publishers from seven different countries including France, Germany, Georgia, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. One of his specialize fields is theatre for children. Hasan Erkek has taken part and presented papers at many international theatre festivals, and he has had than a hundred articles published in various journals and newspapers. Hasan Erkek has worked as Head of the Department of Performing Arts at Anadolu University, as the president of the Playwrights and Play Translators Association in Turkey and as an Executive Board Member and Vice-president in ASSITEJ Turkey.
Traditional theatre sources hold a significant place among the sources of playwriting in Turkey. Among these traditional resources are village performances within rural theatre tradition, ortaoyunu (a sort of open air theatre) staged in urban areas, Meddah (a single-player performance by a storyteller), traditional puppet plays and our worldwide known shadow play Karagöz. The literal meaning of Karagöz is ?black eye?. The play takes its name from Karagöz ? one of the main characters of the play. The second main character is Hacivat. The play is also known as ?Karagöz and Hacivat?. Karagöz has a simple, but impressive technique. Small and thin sticks are used to support colorful figures made of camel, buffalo or cattle leather behind a white curtain. The figures are illuminated from the back and manipulated with the help of sticks. The puppet master has to show his mastery in the performance of figures. The master is required to impersonate and voice several human and animal figures and sing songs at the same time. ?Yardak?, the assistant, plays the tambourine and helps the master to hold some figures behind the curtain.
Karagöz masters usually design and create themselves the figures they animate on the curtain. There are also some figures that specialized people create and masters buy to use in their plays.
Karagöz plays are performed without any text. The masters who have performed these plays many times beforehands almost memorize them and perform by improvisation on the basis of main events.
Some of the old Karagöz plays were collected and published. They were used to be performed for adults in the past, but for children now. However, they are not effective enough as they are not targeted at children in pedagogic terms and as they come from another age.
Furthermore, the number of Karagöz masters has reduced considerably. There is no department at the universities for the time being. Through various courses and workshops, the knowledge and skills of masters are transferred to young generations. However, few young players are willing to be involved in shadow theatre.
It is required to conserve and develop Karagöz technique and to combine them with new play texts. However, there are few attempts to this end. Provided that these attempts increase and attain success, Karagöz will acquire a contemporary identity and become more effective and widespread.