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.
Karagoz’un Sairligi (Karagos in the Poetry Contest): Karagoz enters a poetry contest among minstrels and beats all the other poets who present themselves having droll manners and costumes. He wins the prize, not by his talent in improvising poems on given rhymes and themes, but by his rudeness and violence.
Timarhane (The Madhouse): Karagoz, by talking too much to madmen who have escaped from an asylum, himself shows signs of insanity. Hacivat throws him in the Bedlam and chains him up. A few people make fun of him and a doctor recommends absurd drugs to cure him. Hacivat later saves him from the madhouse.
Yazici (The Public Scribe): Unemployed, Karagoz becomes a public scribe in a haunted shop, where he writes nonsensical latters for his clients. At length he is seen to be hanunted by a djin, hired for this purpose by Hacivat.
Salincak (The Swing): karagoz and Hacivat hire out a swing to their customers and Karagoz swindles his partner, Havivat of his share of the takings. To check up on Karagoz’s story, that nobady has come to be swung. Hacivat disguises himself as an old woman. A jew comes and feigns death and there follows a burial scene in which other jews bring in a coffin only to be frightened away by karagoz who heaves the dead jew out of the coffin.
Agalik (Karagoz, a rich Gentleman): Karagoz becomes rich by breaking the confidence of a rich Persian who had entrusted him with some large sums of money. He then tries to deal with each person who wants to be employed by him.
Orman (The Forest): Karagoz, while running an open air coffee house, becomes the unwilling accomplice of some highwaymen. They are caught after they have robbed several travellers.
Kirginlar (The Offended Ones): Karagoz kills Hacivat and his three stupid brothers, hides them in a large earthenware jar and sits on it. Hacivat’s cunning son succeeds in moving Karagoz from his seat and reveals the murder. Tuzsuz is going to punish him but later he is forgiven.
Cazular (The Witches): Two rival witches respectively have a son and daughter, who are in love but have quarrelled. Each of the lovers complains to the other’s mother. The two witches hold a contest during which several people are transformed into animals.
Sahte Gelin (The False Bride): Karagoz is made to disguise himself as a prospective bride to Matiz, in order to make him vow not to drink again. In fact on the nuptial night when Matiz lifts the veil of his bride and finds a bearded Karagoz instead a beatiful bride, he learns his lesson.
Sunnet (The Circumcision): Karagoz, though a full grown man, is circumized unwillingly like a little boy. The ceremony includes the usual spectacles and amusements to distract the boy who lies in bed after the circumcision.
Buyuk Evlenme (The Big Wedding): This includes a long parade in which the bride’s dowry is displayed. On her wedding night, Karagoz’s bride bears a child who is saucy, impertinent and swears obscenely and blasphemously from the moment he is born.
Meyhane (The Tavern): This play depicts the adventures of a notorious drunkard called Bekri Mustafa.
Hamam (The Public Bath): Çelebi, the dandy, has inherited two public bath, each of which is run by a woman who is a notorious lesbian. The woman become angry and leave the bathhouses. Now Çelebi wants them back as they are efficient and ask Hacývat’s help. In this way, they are reconciled. Karagoz, being lealous, watches his wife through the window of the bath house. A fire stars in the bathhouses and everybody comes out including karagoz with half his beard burnt, since the Persian henna-seller has mixed yellow arsenic with the henna. Karagoz is distressed because when there is no bath house he will loose the customers for his spice shop which is opposite.
Odullu yahut Karagoz’un Pehlivanligi (The Purse or Karagoz, the Wrestler): The rich father of a girl dies and makes it a condition that his future son-in-law should be able to bend his doughter’s arm. This is no men feat as the girl is very strong. For a long time, people have tried but none have succeeded. In the end, they ask Hacivat whether he knows, of anybody who could accomplish this. Karagoz succeeds in doing it but the girl’s mother makes another condition; that he should prove himself unbeatable by all other wrestlers. Karagoz accepts this challange also whereupon all the standard characters of the screen wrestler vith karagoz and are beaten. So Karagoz wins the girl.
Bahce (The Garden): Çelebi has a garden. He entrusts Hacivat with the running and concern of the garden and Hacivat recommends that he make it into a pleasure garden. Karagoz wants to get a job as a pipe player in the garden but Hacivat, who is the manager, refuses. Several people come and enter the garden. When Matiz comes, he says that in a respectable neighbourhood dancing and merriment cannot be allowed so he shuts the garden down until a licence is obtained.
Ferhat ile Sirin (Ferhat and Sirin): Ferhat, a young wall painter, is in love with Þirin, whose mother, a rich widow, does not want Þirin to marry Ferhat because he is poor. Eventually she is willing on one condition. Ferhat must succeed in bringing water from the nearby mountain using only a pickaxe, a challange which he accepts. So with the help of Karagoz, who is a blacksmith, Ferhat succeeds in bringing the water. Þirin’s mother who is still unwilling to accept the bargain, tries magic and other means to seperate the two lovers. However by killing the witch called Bok ana employed by the mother, the two lovers are united.
Tahir ile Zuhre (Tahir and Zuhre): A rich gentleman, following the advice of Hacivat, hires Karagoz as major domo in his household. The rich man’s doughter, Zühre and his nephew, tahir, love each other. But the step mother of Zühre also loves Tahir, so in order to stop their marriage, she decides to change her husband’s mind by magic. She enlists the help of Karagoz to put an amulet with magical properties on her husband, in order to make him change his mind upon awakens. In fact, he does change his mind upon awakening and separates the lovers. But later the truth is revealed, and Karagoz explains everything. Not only are the two lovers united but, as a reward, Karagoz also marries a girl from the richman’s household.
Kayik (The Boat): Karagoz and Hacivat both being unemployed and deserted by their wives, decide to work as boatmen. They hire out a boat to those who want to cross from one side of Bosphorus to the other. They encounter various difficulties and funny episodes with their customers.
Ortaklar (The Partners): Karagoz marries a second time, and the religious ceramony is performed by a priest who recites nonsensical prayers. Karagoz mother-in-law continuously pesters Karagoz by her visits. Later Karagoz’s first wife arrives and Karagoz tries to soothe her and hush the matter up but both the first and second wives claim their right over him. The first wive’s sister’s husband, Matiz arrives and threatens Karagoz but later forgives him.
Cambazlar (The Rope Walkers): In this play, we find a series of incidents which have no relation to one another. First Karagoz learns witchcraft from a sorcerer. Than he practices his mgaical knowledge by producing from an earthenware jar some of Hacivat’s belongings. These were in fact given by Hacivat’s daughter to her boy friend. Karagoz rides on donkey and encounters three girls with whom he converses. He later gets involved with tight rope walkers, during which he falls from the rope and dies. The gypsies then come to carry his coffin but Karagoz comes to life again.
There are other plots such as Tahmis (The Coffee Grinding), Bursali Leyla, Hain Kahya (The Villainous Major domo) Leyla ile Mecnun (Leyla and Mecnun) and others making some attempts to enrich the number of plays in the Karagoz repertoire. Also two examples should be given of short interludes, ara muhaveresi. One is Yalanci (The Lair) where Çelebi offers a money reward to the person who can tell him the greatest lie. Karagoz is brought forward by Hacivat as the best liar. He tells the Çelebi that his father lent Karagoz’s father a large sum of money, which he hopes Çelebi will repay. Çelebi is caught: either he must admit of it being just a lie and duly pay the reward or say it isn’t a lie and pay off the fictitious debt. The other is Mal Çikarma (The Treasure Hunting) in which Canan, supposedly a well known treasure hunter from azerbaijan, after transforming himself into a horrible-looking djinn, retrieces from Karagoz’s well various valuable objects including candelabras, clocks, necklaces and belts. Karagoz watching this, sends his dogs and chases Canan away, seizing the objects he has found. In turn, he decides to do same by assuming a disguise. He repeats the magical words but succeeds only in bringing out worthless objects such as snakes, rats, spiders and broken coffee pots etc…
The main plot involves various types of people with different costumes, manners and dialects. Some of these plots have been handed down from generation to generation. Evliya Celebi lists some of the plays which are used to this day. However some puppeteers or Ortaoyunu companies tried to create new plots or vary the old ones by adding or substracing characters or changing the order of appearance or title. A foreign author even claimed that in the 19th century some Karagoz plots were borrowed from Moliere’s play such as L’avare Teartuffle, Les Fourberies de Scapin. The plots contain very little intrigue, action is only incidental. One important structural characteristic of these plots is that they are what we can call “open from” or “flexible from”. That is, each episode is an entity in itself and independent so that in each different performance these episodes coluld change places, could be reduced, added to or subtracted from according to the audiance’s reaction or the puppeteer’s wishes, without upsetting the general course. Surviving titles show a resemblance and close parallels between Karagoz and Ortaoyunu plots. To classify the plots is far from easy. Some of them parody a particular trade or tradition. The major emphasis of the play appears to be on the portrayal of customs. A foreign observer makes the following remark: “He (puppet master) carries on his show through all the details, from the cradle to the wedding, and from the wedding to the grave, with all the alterations of funny episodes”
For instance the plot might deal with given scene from social life and show reaction to this with the “The Circumcision”, which satirises the tradition of circumcision, while “The Purse or Karagoz the Wrestler” does the some for the traditional sport of wrestling. “The Poetry Contest” shows how minstrels used to compete with each other in the old days. The play “The Madhouse” is a satire on the old Turkish bedlams, and also on those people who walk about free but who should be in such institutions. In addition, this play pokes fun at the Greek or Italian physician who is himself not much saner than the majority of his patiens. So most of the themes exhibit historic lore. In this category of plays, Karagoz has an important role. He wins the poetry contest, he is circumcised and wins at wrestling. In this group we also find Hacivat and Karagoz entering into several business partnerships. In one play, they rent a boat to various characters and in another they hire a swing. In “The Public Scribe”, they write letters for people. In these plays Hacivat usually undertakes to find clients for Karagoz. In “The Forest”, Karagoz runs an open air coffee house while in “The Restaurant” he works as cook.
Another type of plot finds Karagoz mixed up, sometimes unwillingly, in some kind of intrigue. Usually he is traying to protect a woman and ends up having trouble with her numerous admirers. In yet another play karagoz tries to enter a place where wanted nor allowed to enter. For example, in “The Public Bath” and “The Garden”, he attempts respectively to enter a bath and a garden either by disguising himself or by mingling with other people who are allowed to enter. In all these plays, Karagoz essays to find out why certain things, which are permissible for a privileged class of people, are barred to him. 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 like Ferhat and Sirin, Tahir and Zuhre where we have two young people in love with each other, the parents of whom put obstacles in their way, while Karagoz and Hacivat help the young lovers by all kinds of intricate means. Here the adaption usually leaves out the romantic or tragic side and deals mainly with the humorous or farcical aspect. In most of these plays, Karagoz is the servant who helps to solve the lovers problems or to soothe the angry father. In all these plays there is unity of action, since they always take place in the same neighbourhood no matter where the original action occured. In some plays, we find supernatural elements, pseudo-magic transformation to add to the possibilities of disguise. Some plays contain a large amount of song and dance and have a festive conclusion or a colorful parade, such as the nuptial procession of the dowry in “The big wedding.”
Most of the extant Karagoz plays have been dictated or transcribed by the Karagoz puppeteer. In other words, they belong to the category of ‘dead’ plays, that is plays recorded without an audiance. Most of the printed texts are generally remote from the original. Even copies written at the direct dictation of the shadow master are unrealiable because of the large part improvisation played in these shows. The best collection of scenarios were collected and published by Professor Helmut Ritter in there volumes, both in Turkish and in German. The first volume (Hannover,1924) contains three scenarios. The second volume (Liepzig/Istanbul, 1941) contains six, while the third volume (Weisbaden, 1963) collects togother nineteen puppet scenarios, all transcribed by Nazif Efendi, a court puppet master. A Turkish author republished Ritter’s out of print work in Turkey in three volumes and added a few more scenarios. There are other published scenarios in Turkish and German. Text in English are few. Matinovitsch’s book contain a few. However a translation in English of “The big wedding” has been published recently. Some versions exist as recorded live on tape, the National Library in Ankara, and the theatre department of Ankara University having several of these reels. However these are scarce. Here are the synopsis of some representative scenarios.
Kanli Nigar (The Bloody Nigar): Celebi, the dandy, after swindling two courtesans out of their money, has escaped. He is stopped by them in the street, one of whom is known as Bloody Nigar. Both women claim rights over him. When they cannot resolve their disputes, women neighboors are called in to decide which is worthy of the handsome young. However each woman decides in her own favor. Eventually, Bloody Nigar drags the young man by force into her house and takes revenge on him for his infedility by stripping him and throwing him out onto the street. A series of types from neighborhood then arrive to find the young man sitting. Each volunteers to get back his clothes for him, including Karagoz and Hacivat, yet each is stripped by the two woman. Soon there are many people in the doorway. Sari Efe, whom the Bloody Nigar respects, solves the problem and everyone gets eventually his clothes back.
Yalova Safasi (The Pleasure Trip to Yalova): Celebi, the dandy, wishes to take a trip with his sweetheart to the Spa of Yalova. He therefore buys a large sack and a jar in which to put provisions for the journey. While he is making last minute preparations, Karagoz appears and teases her with stupid, nonsensical stories the young woman who has remained behind with the sack and the jar. For instance he tells her that her boy friend is dead and somebody has set fire to the sea and that Celebi has been burnt, or that somebody though that he was a mouthful of food and has swallowed him, and so on. Taklits appear, all of whom wish to go on the same trip and are hidden one after the other by the obling girl in the sack and the jar. Among them is the girl’s other lower. When Celebi comes, he puts all these people out of the jar and sack where they had been concealed, hopping to travel without paying their fare.
Mandira (The Dairy Farm): After a quarrel, karagoz is abandonned by his wife. He meets a girl in the street and takes her to his house. After a while all the lovers of this girl try to see her and ask Karagoz to carry their versified messages of love to her. However, while Karagoz agrees to do this, each time he misunderstands and distorts them. They all invite the girl to go on a pleasure trip to a spot called Mandira. Karagoz, chases all these people away and asks the girl on each occasion whether there are more people. The girl always replies: “The next one is the last”. Finally a drunkard comes and chases Karagoz from his own house. To get in again, Karagoz asks the help of all the lovers whom he had previously been chased away by him but all show some signs of cowardice.
Kanli Kavak (The Bloody Poplar): The son of the famous minstrel, Hasan has been imprisonned by the djin of the bewitched poplar tree. When his father implores the spirit to return his son, the djin does so. Meanwhile Karagoz who has been rude to the tree is bewitched by the djin. Eventually Hacivat rescues him, and changes him back to his normal shape. To take revenge , Karagoz tries to chop down the tree but foresters stop him. In another version, the djin, before kidnapping the child, kidnaps several people passing by.
Virtually nothing is known of popular theater under the Anatolian Turks between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. The Byzantine Emperor Manual Palaeologos II records his impression of his visit to Sultan Beyazit’s court sometime before 1407 and mentions companies of musicians, singers, dancers and actors. A very early description of a Turkish dramatic performance may be found in the epic prose poem. The Alexiad of Anna Comnena, the eldest daughter of the Emperor Alexius Comnenus, who describes in the following words how the actors at the Seljuk court ridiculed her father who was suffering from gout: “Never before had the Emperor suffered so severely from that pain… and the Emperor’s suffering in his feet, and the trouble in his feet, become the subject of comedies. First they would impersonate the Emperor, then they would depict the Emperor himself lying on a couch, and make play of it. These puerile games aroused much laughter among the barbarians.”
The description gives an idea of some manifestations of the dramatic instinct of the Seljuk Turks in the twelfth century. Prior to ortaoyunu, which is the Turkish commedia dell’arte, traces of Turkish dramatic art could be founding farces, impromptu productions based on the humorous possibilities of rudimentary situations, characters and costumes. Animal mimicry played an important part in these productions, the deer being a principal character. There were also occasional farces performed in the streets, whenever there was an audience or onlookers ready to take part. These were often pre-arranged comic situations, worked out in front of shops and houses largely through improvisations with practical jokes inserted on the spur of the moment. Players, impersonating officials such as watch-men tax collectors and treasure hunters, teased shopkeepers with practical jokes to obtain money from them.
As time went on all these coarse and crude farces, whether Kol oyunu (company plays), or Meydan oyunu (plays in the round), or Taklit oyunu (mimicry plays), became associated with the Ortaoyunu. Before the influence of the European theater, a raised platform was never used as a stage by these performers. The dancing girls and boys were much like actors and actresses performing for the amusement of the onlookers. They came from different guilds and companies called kol or cemaat. Anyone who has ever seen the shadow play, Karagoz will have noted the similarity between its characters its comic elements, its atmosphere, and those of the Ortaoyunu.
The only difference is that one medium uses puppets and the other live actors. Under western influence, the rich tradition of Ortaoyunu later fell into decay and was eventually transformed into a different kind of improvised theater called Tuluat. Because of its from of expression and the special nature of its rapport with the audience, Ortaoyunu can be called presentational or non-illusionists. The actor does not lose his identity as an actor and shows his awareness of his to the audience. The audience does not regard him as pretending to be a real person but as an actor. The acting area is not separated from the audience, there is no line between them, and no transparent fourth wall. The play is performed with hardly any scenery at all in a circle where the audience surrounds the actors. The principal comic character occasionally violates the traditional dramatic conventions. Ortaoyunu performances (like the shadow theater and storytelling) have no plots in the Aristotelian sense. They have, to use the current terminology, “open from”. They are loose. Episodic structures which do not require the compulsive attention of the audiences. Each episode is independent; consequently, in different performances, the episodes can be interchanged, added to or subtracted from, according to the audience’s reactions or the puppeteer’s or actor’s decision, without upsetting the general course of the action. Surviving titles and scenario show resemblances and close parallels between Karagoz and Ortaoyunu plots.
The second from of the popular theater tradition is the dramatic story told by a single speaker called the Meddah (literally, praise-giver or panegyrist), a clever impersonator who “does many characters with appropriate gestures, voice modulations and accents.
The third from of the popular theater is puppetry, including both shadow puppet theater (Karagoz) which constitutes the subject of this present site, and puppet and marionette theater.
3.The Court Theatre Tradition
Unlike most Asiatic countries, Turkey has no individualized and distinctive court theater tradition. Until the Westernized period, court theater simply imitated popular theater. The customary entertainers attendant upon medieval rulers allover Anatolian had, of course been active. The courts were the patrons of companies, dancers, actors, storytellers, clowns, puppet masters and conjurers. They would perform only for the aristocracy of the palace, hence they were more refined and literary. But the court sustained theatrical entertainment outside the palace as well. The birth of a new or his circumcision, a court marriage, the accession of a new ruler, triumph in a war, departure for a new conquest, arrival of a welcome foreign ambassador or guest, provided occasions for public festivities sometimes lasting as long as forty days and night. These served the double purpose of amusing the courtiers and the people, and impressing the world at large by a display of magnificence. The festivities included not only processions, illuminations , fireworks, equestrian games and hunting, but also dancing, music, poetic recitations, and performances by jugglers, mountebanks and buffoons. Pageants were given on gaudy wagons or on ordinary carts fitted with large-canopied platforms, each carrying a guild group performing scenes appropriate touts trade or representing a characteristic setting. The artistic power of which the Turks gave proof on such occasions was attained only by means of that free intercourse between all classes that formed the basic of Turkish society. With the western influences at the beginning of 19th century, the Sultans started building theatres in their palaces. Sultan Abdulmecit built a theatre in the neighbourhood of the Dolmabahce Palace in 1858, and Abdulhamit built a theatre in 1889 in his Yildiz Palace. This latter building has survived. In these, theatrical and operatic performances were given, employing professional or amateur players. In 1909, Abdulhamit was dethroned and the palace theater was abandoned after only a few performance.
4.The Western Theater Tradition
The development of Turkish western tradition is fairly recent, and can be conveniently divided into three periods, which are phases not only determined by theatrical developments, but also by political and constitutional changes: (a) The first, from 1839 to 1908 can be called the Tanzimat and Istibdat Period, that is the “Reorganization”; (b) The second is from 1908 to 1923, the period of the revolution of 1908 and (c) The third is from 1923 to the present day and can be called the Republican period.
Drunkard and Braggart: He always uses slang and Karagoz can not understand him. He occasionally threatens Karagoz but when the latter becomes angry, the drunkard shows his cowardice and runs away. He blusters in everywhere with his armoury of weapons and lays down the law, as he sees it. His threats are by word rather than by action. He is tipsy, loquacious and moves like a drunkard. Matiz is another name for him. However he is quite often harmless in sprite of his appearance and loud voice, yet a sharp streak of sadism is nevertheless apparent. He is always ready to sing. He is a braggart and always interferes when there is any kind of immoral situation. Authority is represented by this character, sometimes as a kind of gendarme, and at others a deus ex machine who administers justice. He does not always uphold the law as he is in league with some of the immoral woman of the neighbourhood. He is extremely proud of having murdered several people himself, including his own children and family. He has unique methods for killing. He is fond of relating the details of these murders and the locals are so frightened of him that they obey all his orders without question. One of his jokes is to pretend to cut off Karagoz head. When Karagoz tries to avoid having his head cut off, Matiz reproaches him saying: -Would you begrudge such a rotten and worthless head?-. It is certain that there were many different types of drunkard throughout the ages. Swaggering Tuzsuz Deli Bekir who blusters and threatens, carrying a wicked-looking sword and spreading terror in his wake is another. He comes in towards the end of the pieces and makes short work of Karagoz and others. Another kind is the rowdy Kulhanbeyi. His jacket is slung over one shoulder and his walk is lop sides. Around his fez there is a silk scarf, his trousers are hemmed on the lower part; his shoes are low at the back, with egg shaped heels, and he has a silk shawl wrapped down his middle which he tucks in at the waist. He also wears a blue silk shirt, the collar of which is unbuttoned and the sleeves of which are twisted. He holds prayer beads and walks in a unique way. Sometimes instead of being a braggart, he is a swashbuckling character from the Western coast of Turkey where he is known as Efe or Zeybek. He does not act like a drunkard but his appearance makes people obey him. He wears an embroidered jacket which is so short that it barely reaches his elbows. His white cotton salvar, except for their extravagant width, might be a pair of bathing drawers. He has leggings of sheep’s wool but his legs, from the middle of the thigh to his socks, are bare. His fez, which is at least eighteen inches high, is wound with a gaily coloured kerchief, fringed and tasselled. Strapped in front of his waist shawl is a capacious leather pocket containing his scimitar, pistols and tobacco. Slung across his back is his long gun. He tries to restore discipline in the neighbourhood all by himself and is usually a man of good intentions. This completes the descriptions of locals of the neighbourhood.
As the Ottoman Empire consisted of several ethnics groups, its society was rather complex. Most outsiders came to Istanbul to find work or to practice their special trades and crafts. There as a resemblance among the central Anatolian types.
Turk or Baba Himmet, for example, is the invincible wood cutter from Anatolia, a tell man (the tallest of the shadow figures, as we have already mentioned), carrying a large axe on his shoulder. Karagoz sometimes tries to get him to hear by speaking the words into his cupped hands and throwing them up to his ear. This method failing, a ladder is brought and Karagoz climbs up it to shout in Baba Himmet’s ear. -Turk- speaks in a rough way and fails to understand many of the things he sees in town. He often uses blasphemy to answer Karagoz but does not become angry when Karagoz teases him about his rough language or calls him a bear. He has a good heart and always thinks and talks about his sweetheart in his own village. Those from Kayseri and Bolu are similar to Turk but are better acquainted with Istanbul life. The man from Kayseri is a seller of salted meat called pastirma, a grocer, painter or shoemaker, and the other from Bolu is invariably a cook. Contrary to Turk, they are extremely cunning but to not know much about town etiquette. The one from Kayseri wears a rad salvar, and a high fez with a white riband. Over his shoulder, a short red jacket is worn, on his waist is a belt in which he carries weapons. The man from Egin in usually s butcher with red, full plaited knee-breeches and a belt in which he sports a gun. He wears a short red jacket.
Laz, who comes from the Black sea coast, is either a boatman, a wool beater or a tinsmith. He has a strong Black Sea coast accent. He is very talkative and also speaks quickly. He takes approximately fifteen minutes just to say -hello- and is always very jittery. As he usually so busy talking himself, he can not listen to what other people say. He has a habit of becoming angry in a very short time. Karagoz often has to forcibly close Laz’s mouth in order to get a word in himself. His clothes include a yellow vest lined with linen, pantaloons, pleated and creased at the back which reaching to the knees and are called zipka. On his head he wears a hood (sargi). He often dances on the stage a Black Sea dance called horon, which is characterized by alert, tense shivering movements, the trembling of the entire body from head to foot, sudden sharp kneeling and springing up at the rebound. This fits in which the basic traits of his character.
Rumelili or Muhacir is the immigrant from the Balkans. He speaks very slowly and is either a wrestler or carter. He often speaks about his village and the fact that he is a wrestler. He is very proud of his wrestling abilities but actually he usually loses his bouts. He always tries to look intelligent and cautious. He is boastful his supposed success as a wrestler.
Kurd, is the neighbourhood night watchman and often uses Kurdish words. He has a vacant expression but tries to act in a haughty manner. He wears a conical felt cap, and carries a long staff. He wears sandals of raw hide, blue salvar, a half coat without sleeves and a woollen, motley west.
Acem or Persian is a trader in shawls, carpets and woman,s dresses. Either that or he is a money lender. He sometimes enters riding a horse and continually recites poetry which he delivers with emphatic enunciation. He often exaggerates and talks of large sums of money but his actual business transactions usually concern very small sums. He becomes irritable and haughty when Karagoz plays little jokes on him. Hacivat, however, flatters him by calling him -The Rose of Iran-. He is also a connoisseur of poetry. He wears trousers over a kind of vest lined with linen which reaches to the knees, called entari and held up by a white belt. He has a white shirt, a high black lambskin hat, a blue or black robe open in the front with sleeves scarcely reaching to the elbow called cubbe. He is usually from Azerbaijan, the Turk section of Persia.
Arab is a merchant or traveller who wears a shawl on his head, red linen salvar and sandals with straps. He often has a funny name. He is sometimes a beggar, a sweet seller or a coffee grinder. He has a habit of praying whenever he has to pay money and sometimes when he receives money he pretends to pray for the giver but actually curses him. He is very stupid and can not grasps things easily. His conversation consists merely of repetitious question such as Who?, Whom?, When?, Where? Or What?, which he continually repeats, speaking in either the Egyptian or the Damascus dialect. Another type of arab is the negro, -Arab- also meaning ‘negro’ in Turkish. He is shown as a caricature of a eunuch both in dialect and stupidity.
Albanian (Arnavut) either sells a drink made of fermented millet called boza, or he is a gardener, a game keep or a cattle trader. He tries to speak politely but, because of his accent, always creates a humorous impression. He is ignorant and continually sings to himself a song mainly about vegetables. He is also a rogue. When he gets angry, he has a habit of referring to his pistol in an off hand way as though murder were a mere detail. He wears white breeches, baggy at the hips and gathered at the ankles. On his head is a white skull cap. Gaily colored and voluminous towels are swathed around the waist, completing his ensemble is a wide linen skirt and a red vest.
Greek or Frenk, is portrayed as European or Levantine, a la franc, being usually by profession a physician. He enters dancing a polka and interpolating Greek or French words in his speech. He speaks the worst Turkish of all the Empire types. He can also be a tailor, a merchant or a tavern keeper. In spite of his broken Turkish, he is somewhat flippant and tries to make puns in Turkish. He is a coward and an unlikeable character. He wears a European costume and carries a hat and a cane.
Armenian is usually the major of a large house hold. He has no sense of humour, a limited intelligence and is very serious about his work. Called ayvaz, he can also appear as a waiter or butler. His garb includes black salvar, a black jacket with short sleeves, a red girdle, a red pointed hat or fez and a red apron. Another type of Armenian is a jeweller or fancy draper. Contrary to the first type, he is more refined and appreciates the finger things in life. He plays a Turkish lute but is not successful enough to be able to afford the luxuries of this life. Karagoz always teases him. Alternative clothing could be a long black gown, a fez, trousers and an umbrella with a broken handle.
Jew (Cud, Yahudi or cifit), the haggling Jew is a familiar character and is either seen as a money lender, a second hand dealer or a peddler. He tries out many obscene puns on Karagoz and, using his ungrammatical, broken Turkish as an excuse, he maliciously changes Karagoz,s name to give it a bad meaning and a result, Karagoz becomes angry and wants to beat him. He is a malicious and vulgar type. He wears black salvar, a loose linen robe open in the front called cubbe, and a keveza, a black hat with a blue turban. There is a sack on his back. When Karagoz pretends to go at him, or even only to suggest that he intends to do so, the Jew begins to shout and scream as though he were actually being severally hurt. When Karagoz makes the motion of tickling him, even while till at a distance, the Jew begins to laugh. While he is complaining in a loud voice he nevertheless always finds time to revile Karagoz. He is a miser and haggler. Even after he agrees on a price, he complains that it is too high and he can not pay. He is also a coward and when all the other characters in the neighbourhood decide to attack the drunkard, the Jew does not join them but runs away.
These are basic figures and stock characters. On the other hand, each play requires because of the exigency of the plot several additional characters. Here are some to serve as illustrations. The Jew,s child, an old Jew, Jews carrying a coffin, a Jewish rabbi, the conjurer Jew, a malicious witch-like old gypsy woman called Bok ana, a midwife, a gypsy, a tartar, a negro who plays a string instrument, coffee grinders, dancing boys, dancing girls, a furnace operator (is an Armenian), a priest, a servant in the public bath, the chief of the dancers company, a stammerer, a conjurer,s assistant, musicians, a baby in a cradle, Hacivat’s three brothers, the villain, a himhim (snuffler), a sly insane man, minstrels, a magician, witches, the drunkard’s wife, a rope dancer, woman sent to inspect a prospective bride, a pregnant bride, a circadian slave, Hacivat’s and Karagoz,s sons, and daughters, the Laz,s son, Tahir, Tahir,s father, Zuhre’s father, the Persian servant, and a hermaphrodite are among other innumerable character who appear each having different degrees of importance.
Turkish Music plays an important part in traditional Turkish plays called Karagoz. Turkish music as performed in these plays has acquired a characteristic of its own ands become a musical genre peculiar to old Istanbul’s urban light Turkish music.
It is unthinkable to consider a Karagoz play in which Turkish music is not given performance. Music is these plays brings together several different genres and composition forms of Ottoman – Turkish music. Apart from the composition forms of classical Turkish music like the kâr, kârçe, murabba, beste, semai, sarki and vocal and insturmantel improvisations known as the gazel and taksim, other genres like the köçekçes, tavsancas and dance music pieces of urban light Turkish music, Thracian (Rumeli) Anatolian folk songs, songs whose texts are based on Arabic and Judeo-Spanish, the language of the Ottoman Jews, Gipsy songs, Greek and Armenian songs, waltz, polka and opera arias were also given performance in the in the Ottoman shadow plays. The variety of subjects of the plays caused the musical repertoire to expend in the course of time. The notated repertoire of Turkish music consits of compositions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, the presence of other songs, though not great in number, which were composed in the preceding centuries, and also the Western melodies, are indications of the fact that the reportiore Karagoz music was not unchangeably established but one which seeked conformity to changes both in the sphere of music and in social life. Recently there have been composers who wrote Turkish music exclusively for Karagoz performance.
Musical instruments used in shadow plays may be divided into two groups: the ones which appear on the curtain and those used behind the curtain. The spectators see the rular folk music instruments on the curtain while they hear the performance of those used in classical and urban music
The cultures of religions and ethnic communities in the Ottoman society have been represented in a most vivid manner in shadow plays. Since some of the popular songs have been identified with the social types they were designed to describe. Such songs fit the social types in term of their text and melodic character. Karagoz plays the actors who played woman’s part would sing, too, and this aspect of karagoz performance has also been represend. On the other hand, rular folk melodies performed in Karagoz plays reflect the provincial cultures of the Empire. A man from Harput, for instance, sings local folk songs of the area, while an Albanian sings the local pieces of the Europan section of the Empire. Hence, the musical taste of the periphery is introduced to the Ottoman capital, to the central culture.
In old Istanbul, from the Sultan to the simple man in the street, from the learned to the illiterate took pleasure from this shadow play. Karagoz was a product of true urban culture. This aspect of Karagoz has clearly been reflected in its music whose repertoire extends from classical songs to light melodies and dance pieces. This amazing repertoire is a significant expression of old Istanbul’s urban music.
*Kalan Music Karagoz-hacivat CD
Some notes and midi about Turkish music of Karagoz:
The shadow theatre, which involves two-dimensional figures casting their shadows on a screen, had important place in Turkey as well as throughout the larger area of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks, before they came to know shadow theatre in the sixteenth century, had enjoyed a long-standing established puppet tradition. There is virtually no kind of puppet show that Turkey has not tried. Puppet tradition came from Central Asia, but shadow theatre did not. Central Asia and Persia do not have shadow theatre. It was borrowed from Egypt in the sixteenth century. One question, however, remains and that is the origin of the Egyptian shadow theatre. There seems-little doubt that the shadow theatre was borrowed from Java by the Arabs. Arab trading and raiding expeditions kept them in continuous contact with Java. Now the question as to whether there was any indirect influence via Egypt of the Javanese on the Turkish shadow theatre is difficult to answer; yet there are several points in common between Turkish and Javanese shadow theatres. Turkish shadow theatre appears to be the product of a historical process whereby the Mameluke-derived shadow play technique was taken over by the Turks from a technical point of view only. In addition, it can be assumed that the Turkish shadow theatre borrowed movements, postures, and costumes of the Ottoman shadow theatre along with human actors such as Ottoman jesters and grotesque dancers, both of which had been in existence long before the advent of shadow theatre.
We do not know what early karagoz figures looked like as the oldest puppets extant today are no more than one hundred years old. However we have a rich source reference in the Ottoman miniatures of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These depict jesters and grotesque dancers, which conform to the style of karagoz figures not only in their costumes and headgear but also in their characteristic postures. Whether it was through the Egyptians or others that Turkey got Karagoz, all might have bequeathed a slight influence in their way. However, in essence, Karagoz is a rich cross section of Turkish culture, namely, of poetry, miniature painting music, folk customs, and oral tradition. So then, all these elements merged and fused in the early preparatory years of the sixteenth century to result in what is today known as Karagoz. By the seventeenth century, Karagoz was wholly identified. The name of Karagoz, as well as of kukla which in Turkish means a -puppet-, appeared for the first time in the seventeenth century.
Welcome To Traditional Turkish Puppets Shadow Play Karagoz
FOUR TRADITIONS OF THEATRE IN TURKEY*
Theatrical art in Turkey is currently believed to have developed from the same religious, moral and educational urge to imitate human actions that accompanied its growth in other countries, particularly in ancient Greece. The puppet shadow play, which involves two-dimensional puppets (figures) casting its shadow on a two-dimensional area of screen, had an important place in Turkey as well as throughout the larger area of the Ottoman Empire. To understand its place let us glance at four main traditions of theatre in Turkey. These are the “folk theatre tradition”, the “popular theatre tradition – shadow play (karagoz), storyteller”, the “court theatre tradition”, and the “western theatre tradition”. In order to understand the significance of Turkish puppets shadow play, these deserve special brief study.
1.The Folk Theatre Tradition.
The Turkish peasantry, which constitutes about three quarters of the whole population, is the most homogeneous and articulate element of the nation, and has throughout many centuries, retained its own peculiar character. The isolation of Turkish villages has caused in their unique forms, of traditional peasant dances, puppet shows and puppets shadow play. During public festivals, a type of crude drama sometimes accompanies the singing, dancing, mime and shadow plays. This is most likely a legacy from ancient religious rites, handed down from generation to generation. Maybe it originated in the shamanistic rituals of the Ural-Altaic region, which was the birthplace of the Turkish people, or perhaps it was part of the folklore of the Phrygian or Hittite civilizations of Anatolia. It is also through that many of the Anatolian peasant plays originated from festivals honoring such gods as Dionysus, Attis and Osiris, or from the Egyptian mysteries celebrated in Eleusis and other places. These dramas frequently display symbolic elements like puppets shadow play.
Although today these plays are, almost without exception, no more than mere diversions, they frequently display symbolic elements. Because of gradual additions, innovations and corruptions the centuries, and augmentations or reductions in the cast of characters, no standard versions of these plays exist.
There are two chief incidents upon which all the folk dramas are based. The first is deadly battle, in which one of the combaants is kiled and subsequently restored to life, either with the help of a doctor or through magic. This may very well be a survival of such vegetation cults as the festival of Dionysus, where in the god of vegetation was killed, or it may derive from the days when an aged king was slain in order to give new life to the soil. There is no question that this theme is a dramatized symbol of the waning year and its rebirth as the new one.
The first sequence, frequently mimed, shows a battle between groups or individuals. This is a survival of ancient rites in which opponents comforted each other in such symbolic struggles as that between life and death, light and darkness, summer and winter, the waning and the new year, father and son, or the old king and the young. Anatolian peasant dramas often include Arab, a black-faced individual, dressed in a black goat or sheepskin, who represents night or winter. His opponent, in emphatic contrast, is usually white-bearded and wears a white goat or sheepskin.
The procession or quest sequence shows men either wearing animal skins, or with blackened faces, moving from house to house. The play that follows may take place inside or in front of one of the houses, and sometimes includes dancing and singing. Nearly all of them display such common features as blackened faces, following the tradition of Greek mysteries where the actors covered their faces with soot. Event the actors roles are sometimes transferred to people in animal disguises.
Every region in Turkey, every village even has its own dance. In all, these number around fifteen hundred, and some are in the nature of pantomime. The five general categories in which these may be placed are: the dramatization of animal actions; the everyday routine of village life; the exaltation of nature; and courtship. Even today these Turkish folk dramas, puppet performances, puppets shadow play and dances contain a vast source of artistic energy, which must be exploited if Turkey is to build up a strong national theatrical tradition.
2.The Popular Theater Tradition (Meddah and puppet shadow play KaragozHacivat)
The Turkish theater developed in two distinct geographical areas: in old Istanbul and other cities, and in the villages popular theater was a pastime of the urban middle class. It was presented to the public by three classes of professional performers: live actors; story tellers (Meddah) and puppeteers ( both puppet shadow play and marionette or puppets – Turkish mean is Kukla). Its characteristic traits were imitation and mimicry of dialectic peculiarities, and imitation of animals by stock characters called taklit, easily recognized by the audience because of their standard costumes and signature tunes and dances. The comedian, puppet shadow play master , puppeteer and storyteller memorized certain stock phrases some in rhymed couplets and enacted scenes from everyday life, using the colorful idiom of their time. They relied very title on properties and hardly at all on scenery . Men played woman’s parts. Performances were given, not in special buildings set apart for the purpose, but whatever they could be accommodated- in public squares, at national and religious festivals, at weddings , circumcision ceremony (Turkish mean is Sünnet) and fairs, in the yards of inns, in coffee houses, in taverns and private residences. Everything was done to music: wrestling matches were carried on to musical accompaniment, conjurers performed to the sound of the tambourine. The plays had little or no action, depending for laughs on lively slapstick and on monologues or dialogues involving puns, ready responses, crude practical jokes, double meanings, misunderstandings, and interpolated quips. There were clearly formulated rules of intonation. Performances were often include with songs or dances, or both.
Regarding presentation, the Karagoz puppet theatre stage is separated from the audience by a frame holding a sheet of any white translucent material but preferably fine Egyptian cotton. It is mounted like a painters canvas, stretched taut on a frame. The size of the screen in the past was 2 m x 2.5 m; in more recent times it was reduced to 1 m x 1.60 m. The operator stands behind the screen, holding the puppets against it and using an olive-oil lamp as a light source from behind. An oil lamp is preferable as it throws a good shadow and makes the characters flicker, this giving them a more lifelike appearance. The light is fixed behind and just below the screen. The light distance is determined by the need and curtain on which the shadow is to be thrown. The screen diffuses the light, and the light shines through the multicoloured transparent material, making the figures look like stained glass. The puppeteer holds the puppet close against the screen with rods held horizontally and stretched at right angles from the puppet. With horizontal rods held at right angles to the screen there is far less shadow on the screen, but control is limited. The Turkish puppets are worked by horizontal rods, unlike the Javanese and other Southeastern shadow puppets which are moved and supported by vertical rods. However, there are two devices which provide alternatives to the usual horizontal rods employed in Turkish shadow show. One is hayal agaci -puppet-tree-. The operator can manipulate only two figures at a time; so when there is a demand for more than two figures on stage, he uses this device. The puppet-tree is a Y-shaped rod. Y-shaped rods are stuck into the holes on the ledge at the bottom of the screen so that they stand vertically. The horizontal rods of the figures are placed in the cleft of these rods, so that when the puppeteer presses the ends of the horizontal rods against the screen with his chest or stomach, these figures stand still and do not move. Through this device a crowd scene can be easily accomplished. The second device is called by the shadow puppeteer firdondu, a -swivel-, which is designed to overcome a disadvantage presented by the horizontal rods- that is, the puppets can not be turned round to face the other way. This device is similar to that used in the Chinese shadow play. It is simply a rod wire fixed in a wooden handle, the curved end of which is inserted in small leather socket on the outer edge and at the back, in a sort of hinge attached to the figure. The puppeteer can give it a quick flip in order to make the figure face in the opposite direction. There are a few Turkish shadow puppet theatre figures fitted with this device in the Hamburg and Topkapi Palace collections, showing that it has been known by the Turks for some time. Puppets are operated on the plane of action and the length of the control rods can be adjusted to the socket of the puppets, allowing the puppets to work in the upper areas without the shadow of the operator’s hands being visible. Along the bottom edge at the back of the screen is a batten to act as a rest for the legs of puppets. Underneath this there is a horizontal ledge to put the oil lamps on. This ledge also has some holes on its surface to stick the supporting rods, the puppet-trees.
The figures are flat, clean-cut silhouettes in colour. Animal skin is used in the making of the puppets, especially that of the camel. The skin is well rubbed and soaked in a solution containing bran to remove its oil properties and to make it softer. The skin is dried under the sun during the months of July and August. It is smoothed out and treated until it is almost transparent, and it is well scraped with a piece of broken glass to remove hairs. Finally it is rubbed and polished. The outline is drawn by applying a mould or a pattern and the lines cut out with a small curved knife called nevregan. The cut-out is then stained with translucent vegetable dyes of tender blue, deep purple, leaf green, olive green, red crimson, terracotta, brown and yellow. Jointing is done with a piece of gut threaded through each of the two pieces at the point of overlap and then knotted on both sides. The action of the figures dictates their shapes. Each of them has a hole somewhere in the upper part of the body, which is reinforced by a double leather piece like a socket into which the control rod may be snugly inserted from either side. A second rod gives Karagoz his distinctive action. A good number of Turkish puppets have an articulation between head and body, which is usually the only articulation, the rest of the body below the neck being in one piece. In such puppets, the manipulation-rod hole is in the neck. In this way a figure can do a complete somersault with a twist of the rod. Apart from this, Karagoz,s arm is made up of two joints, and his headgear is attached by a loose joint at the back of the head; so with a quick flick of the puppeteers wrist, the headgear can fall back to expose Karagoz,s bald head. Karagoz is not the only figure that is manipulated by two rods. The socket of the rod is carefully placed so that the puppet will balance properly. Figures can thus make sweeping bows to the ground or incline their bodies backward to gaze at the sky.
The achieve magical transformation, the shadow puppet theatre uses various devices. For instance, there is a puppet with two heads, one of which is concealed behind the body. When the action calls for a figure’s head to change into a donkey’s head, by turning the rod in one complete revelation, the concealed donkey,s head takes the place of the actual head, which in turn is hidden behind the body. However, in order to change a character’s costume or strip, two separate representations of the same figure are used. Puppets range in size from 24 centimeters to over 35 centimeters in height. An average size is about 30 centimeters (12 inches). The smallest figure is a dwarf, approximately 20 centimeters in height, while the tallest is Baba Himmet, a little over 57 centimeters