Yesterday at UNIMA 2008 festival here in Perth, I talked to the Turkish Shadow Puppet Master and lecturer in puppetry at the University of Ankara, Haluk Yuce. In this interview Yuce explains why he feels that Turkish traditional shadow puppetry is a dying art and what, if anything can be done to preserve this ancient tradition.
Karagöz (meaning blackeye in Turkish) and Hacivat are the lead characters of the traditional Turkish shadow play, popularized during the Ottoman period. The central theme of the plays are the contrasting interaction between the two main characters: Karagöz represents the illiterate but straightforward public, whereas Hacivat belongs to the educated class, speaking Ottoman Turkish and using a poetical and literary language. Karagöz's native wit always gets the better of Hacivat's learning (but his money-making ventures always fail).
Today a limited number of artists continue the studies related to the art of Karagoz and they're conducted by the Presidency of Turkish National Center of UNIMA. Stay tuned for our daily reports from UNIMA 2008 in Perth!