Each Turkish shadow theatre in three parts:
(1)Mukaddime (prologue or introduction)
(3)Fasil (main plot), which concludes with a brief finale.
Although every Turkish shadow theatre Karagoz contains an example of the basic parts, i.e., prologue, muhavere, and fasil varies almost independently of the content of the other elements which are perfected units in themselves. And each show is composed of an apparently random combination of these prefabricated or ex tempore elements. Thus the individual puppeteer decides which elements are to be put togother for any given show just before the show begins or sometimes even while it is in progress. Every part and every plot are subject to great expansion or cantraction, but this does not mean that the parts are purely improvisatory. Throughout a shadow theatre repertoire there are sets of speeches and certain standard scenes which never vary in content.
Preceding the prologue there appears an introductory picture or a screen ornament called gostermelik which is pinned to the linen cloth screen and remains there for a while. This is sometimes an abstract figure or a picture related to the play. In the ancient shadow theatres, instead of this, sometimes a short scene was played involving animal figures. When the play begins, the gostermelik vanishes to the shrill sound of a whistle called nareke. In the prologue, semai, a song is delivered by Hacivat. In this way, Hacivat introduced himself by first reciting a poem gazel. In most plays, he offers a prayer to God and also prays on behalf of the sultan. He also says that what is to follow is not merely a shadow theatre but it mirrors faithfully the world we live in and teaches us much. Following this, he announces that he is looking for a pleasant companion who can speak Arabic or Persian and has a knowledge of science and arts and also a sense of humour. He says that he very much wants to converse with such a man. After this little speech, he occasionally recites a few couplets. While this is going on, Karagoz,s head appears on the right of the screen. He makes several remarks in his own particular style. However, becoming bored with Hacivat’s speeches and fine phrases which he persistently confutes, Karagoz eventually comes down onto the stage and the two have an argument. Karagoz ends up lying on the floor and in humorous prose rimee complains about Hacivat,streatment. Each time Hacivat appears after this he receives a blow from Karagoz and promptly disappears from the screen. Phases of the prologue always occur in the some order.
After Karagoz,s anger abates, the two begin the muhavere, which is a battle of wit between Hacivat and Karagoz. Contrary to the prologue, the dialouge varies considerably and is not always connected with the fasil. Each puppet-master is inspired and provoked by the actualities and the composition of his audence, as well as by his own imagination, and makes up accordingly his dialogue on the spur of the moment. This varies at each presentation, which may be different every evening. Not only does the theme of the dialogue vary but also its length according to the skill and imagination of the puppet-master. However, basically, all dialogues are the same, showing the contrast between Hacaivat,s formal, superficial knowladge and Karagoz,s common sense and occasional lack of understanding. There is a secaond type of dialouge, known as the gel-gec muhaveresi (come-and-go dialogue), in which Hacivat and Karagoz take turns in appearing briefly on the stage, following up each other,s trouble with their numerous admirers. In yet another play Karagoz tries to enter a place where he is neither wanted nor allowed to be. In other types of plays, the intrigue is better developed, using fewer characters but having a more definite plot, some being on the cuckolding theme. Sometimes the subject of the intrigue is a love affair taken from popular stories or legends, in which we have two young people in love with each other and their parents put obtacles in their way, while Karagoz and Hacivat help the young lovers by all kinds intricate means. Here the adaptation usually leaves out the romantic or tragic side and deals mainly with the humorous or farcical aspect. In all these plays there is unity of action, since they always take place in the same neighbourhood no matter where the original action occurred. In some play, we find supernatural elements, pseudomagic transformation, to add to the possibilities of disguise. Some plays contain a large number of songs and dances and have a festive conclusion or a colourful parade.
*Drama at the Crossroads, By Metin And
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