Greek Shadow Theatre data file / base

Introductory note

The whole history of the Shadow Theatre in Greece is presented by biographical evidences and news about the repertoire and technique of the already known Karagkiosopektes. A number of different monographs and various publications have been produced on the topic. Furthermore, the image is enriched by the biographies and autobiographies that circulate in auto-sufficient books and magazines, or by their interviews in the press and mass media. However, for most people, and mainly for the eldest ones, news is often few or lacking.

There are also contemporary people who devote professionally to this field. News about them comes mainly from the press and mass media but also from personal web pages, which number is increasing in the last years.

Relatively difficult is the issue of registering a complete number of those who work part-time with the Shadow Theatre. Same thing applies to those ones who act mainly in the countryside out of Athens. In 1925, the era of flourishing of the Shadow Theatre, the Greek Body of Karagkiosopektes was founded, which registered 120 members. Nowadays, in this catalogue created by the Body, 298 members are registered, and only a little number of them is alive (about 1/4). However, what is sure is that the number of those who devote professionally, part-time or amateur to the Shadow Theatre is quite bigger. In the last years, other union bodies have also appeared (see tab “Organisations”), but it is large as well the number of those who prefer to stay out of the union organizations; this fact hinders their localization and the formation of a precise figure of their number and their actions.

Most of the well-known Karagkiosopektes, especially those who remain in the area of the capital, perform representations in all the Greek territory and in Cyprus. Same thing happens with specific ones from the county, although the action of most of them is usually restricted to their cities or the surroundings.

Calculations published in the daily press raise the current number of Karagkiosopektes to 150 in all Greece, although all of them show that the number is bigger. What draws our attention is the fact that, during the last years, an important number of young people, even teenagers, have become interested and they try to fit in by introducing themselves in such a field, which until recently was field of action of the biggest and most famous professionals. Definitely, their presentation represents an excellent example of endurance and provides a warranty for its continuation.

It is equally remarkable that most of them, professionals and non-professionals, endeavour efforts to attract the attention of the majority of adults, by including trendy topics (depending on the preference of the social and cultural character) concerning history, regional legends and traditions, national and universal literature as well as tales, combined with new techniques (of light and sound) or already different spectacles (live music, live theatre, dance, etc).

It is equally worthy to make reference to the still small representation of women, who see themselves forced to orientate their play-writing out of the typical Karagkiosopektis and to adapt their repertoire to topics mainly taken from the Greek and non-Greek tales and from the child literature. This situation is due to the particular character of these typical regional spectacles, which require the well-known laryngeal voice.

Therefore, in general lines, the current Greek Shadow Theatre shows a capacity for fitting into the current times and presents as well an unawareness about the future complexity, which enriches it and sets it on a road that leaves important hopes about its survival and maybe about the expectation of better days.

 The research will focus on: a) the localization, to the fullest extent possible, of the greatest number of Karagkiosopektes over the history b) the record of their evidences and news about their activity, technique, repertoire, relevance in the audience and mass media, and c) the creation of an archive of digital and non-digital pictures and sounds of their production (pictures, paintings, sound recordings, tapes, discography and so on).

The evidences that, every time, will occur from the research will be presented in a personalised bulletin specially devoted to every Karagkiosopektis.


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