Karagöz and Hacivat is a Turkish shadow play. It hosts amazing puppets named after the comical main characters that were two broken-down construction workers. A Turkish traveler by the name of Evliya Çelebi says that the play was first performed at the Ottoman palaces, in the late 14th century. Others argue that this play originated in Anatolia, after Yavuz Sultan Selim, the conqueror of Egypt in 1517, had brought the shadow play to his court.
As the story goes, Hacivat and Karagöz were working as construction workers building a mosque in the city of Bursa, Turkey. They were known as jokesters’ and loved commenting on societal issues. Although their satirical jokes entertained the workers, it also slowed the building progress of the mosque, because the men were always sitting around and listening to the two jokesters storytelling. Because their jokes were often sarcastic remnants of societal issues, the sultan became annoyed. As a result the sultan became very angry and anxious believing Karagoz and Hacivat could encourage rebellion in the others. To quickly alleviate the possibility of an up rise, the Sultan had the two jokesters executed.
The construction of the mosque was completed without them, but their comrades never forgot the two men. The memory of their jokes motivated the men and helped them complete their hard job of building a mosque in the hot summer sun.
The two men were never forgotten and their stories were repeated time and time again. Opening the way for the well-known shadow puppet theatre we know today.
Our students will have an amazing opportunity recreating these fascinating performances. They will be involved in designing the surroundings and villages and various new and old characters. The will learn how to use their voices, sounds, lights etc. to introduce a modern approach on an old cultural pastime.
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