Traditional Turkish theatre include shadow play (Karagoz and hacivat, meddah (story teller) and Ortaoyunu. Our main subject is Traditional Turkish Shadow Theatre karagoz and Hacivat.
The shadow theatre spread from the Far East, and having first been recorded in Java, China and India, came to Turkey on its travels westward. Some scholars however have claimed that puppet or shadow theatre originated in the Mediterranean area and spread later to the East, but this theory has been rejected on many grounds, more particularly on the ground that there is no record of shadow theatre in ancient Greece or Byzantium. In these days it s an accepted fact that it came westward from Asia. However there remains still a controversy concerning by which route it came to Turkey.
According to the theory bsed on Dr. Pischel’s thesis, it is ascertained that not only can the origin of the Indian drama be found in the puppet play of that country, but the home of the puppet show is India, from whence it is said to have travelled to Europa. That eminent scholar of the history of shadow theatre, Dr. Georg Jacob, has put forward a thesis based on Dr. Pischel’s theory on puppet theatre that it is most probable that gypsies emerging from northwest India about a thousand years ago, traced a path across Asia and Europa. It is quite likely they brought the Indian shadow theatre with them, and stopping in Asia Minor might well have popularized that art in Turkey. Not only has the untenability of Dr. Pischel’s thesis been proved, but despite his work the origins of Indian shadow theatre must still remain an obscure subject. The shadow play in India is an art confined to South Asia, whereas the gypsies mentioned above emigratedfrom northern India. However supporting this gypsy theory, there is a wealth of reference to gypsy elements predominating and that Karagöz himself is a gypsy, sometimes apperaring as a blacksmith. In addition to this, a figure of Karagoz in his book shows him as a gypsy, selling grills and tongs, which is one of the main occupations of gypsies in Turkey. In brief, while it must be said that there is not enough substantial proof of the above contention in Jacob’s thesis, at least it must not be rejected as a total impossibility.