The Village Square at Aphrodite Hills Resort is scheduled to show a traditional Greek “Karagiozis” shadow theatre on July 18, 2015.
Long before the days of television, radio or even cinema, there existed a different form of entertainment in Greece derived from folkloric traditions. Known as shadow theatre, or Karagiozis in Greek, it included paper-made puppets which were handled by one puppeteer who stood behind a white screen (a piece of cloth or a sheet were also used) that was illuminated by some source of light.
Shadow theatre was developed in many lands, including China, India, Persia, Indochina and Asia Minor. It was often associated with the worship of the dead as well as with deities of the “other world”.
Greece is among the very few European countries that adopted shadow theatre, abandoning, however, its religious aspect and adding the provincial Greek culture’s own uniqueness to it. Thus, shadow theatre slowly developed into an art-form of its own kind, acquiring a Greek interpretation which also included music, acting and social satire incorporated with traditional folklore.
Karagiozis, as it is named in Greek for its main protagonist, was very popular during Ottoman rule. The puppeteer who stood behind the illuminated screen and masterfully moved the paper or leather-made puppets representing humans was known as the “Karagiozopaihtis” (the Karagiozis player).
The Karagiozopaihtis brought the puppets to life by altering his voice according to the character and by changing the storyline depending on his inspirations. In fact, he was responsible for all aspects of the play, as he was the mime, writer, musician, singer, stage-designer and director all at the same time.