Karagöz & Hacivat Explored in Captivating Presentation

Yazıcı-dostu sürüm

On February 8th, 2024, in collaboration with the University of Illinois, Yunus Emre Institute USA presented a showcase exploring the unique form of comedic Turkish shadow theatre, Karagöz & Hacivat, in front of an eager online audience.

Dr. Burcu Eğilmez of Izmir Ekonomi Universitesi first explained the meaning and history of Karagöz & Hacivat, tracing its origins to the 16th century by adopting aspects of shadow play from Egypt. Karagöz & Hacivat performances are led by people called Hayali, who act as both talented craftsmen and intricate performers through the use of expressive vocal skills and hand movements. Dr. Eğilmez then illustrated an example of the figures, called tasvir, used in the performances and explained how they were made of animal skin, such as camel or ox.

There is also a lot of depth to the characters in the plays, as Dr. Eğilmez explained how the plays represent a microcosm of Ottoman society with the characters representing the diverse types of people present in Ottoman society while also incorporating political and social satire.

Karagöz & Hacivat still has a lasting legacy today as it has provided inspiration for Turkish contemporary arts and was inscribed into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

At the end of the presentation, the online participants were delighted to have immersed themselves in the world of Karagöz & Hacivat and left the presentation with a lasting taste of one the beautiful forms of Turkish culture.