The Shadow Theater in Turkey

The Shadows Theater in Turkey

The Shadows Theater in Turkey

The Shadows Theater, an ancient Ottoman tradition, is still one of the most popular entertainment during Ramadan in Turkey.

It is called with the names of the two main characters, Karagöz and Hacivat, an odd couple of friends, the former being a rude peasant with a peculiar bass and harsh voice, that in the comedies keep ruining his more educated and haughty friend’s plans to improve their condition.

As many others street theaters in the world, it is vanishing due to the diffusion of mass media and other forms of live entertainment. And like all street theaters, the amusement for children is accompanied with hinting to the satire against the Power: actually, Karagöz and Hacivat would be real life characters, executed by a ruler annoyed with their jests, at least according to the tradition.

Tradition that goes on, and is kept alive by a handful of Masters, that for the first time this year has included a woman impersonating the role of Karagöz, a task impossible so far because of the peculiar voice of the character. In this age’s more and more modern Turkey, a young actress has trained herself for years to use her voice to be accepted as a performer of the centuries old Karagöz and Hacivat theater.