Greek Shadow Theatre data file / base

Introductory note

When Louis Roussel published Antoni Mollas’ “Ligo ap’ola” in 1921, for sure he could not imagine that he was inaugurating the era of the commercialization of the plays belonging to the Greek Shadow Theatre repertoire. Two or three years later, Markos Xanthos and A. Mollas also published plays of their own in booklets of 32 pages, soon being imitated by Kostas Ganios, Kostas Manos and Yiannis Roulias. Later, some publishing houses, like “Keraunos & Pallas Athina”, “A. Gelantalis kai Sia”, “Saravanos – Vouniseas”, “D. Deli”, “Agyra” and others, started the massive (for the time) publication of plays. It must be highlighted that many of these plays were not written by Karagkiosopektes, but by various authors who often presented fiction stories that did not exist in the typical repertoire of the shadow theatre until then. Their example was soon followed by different magazines, many of which started to include in their issues stories of the repertoire of the shadow theatre, either in complete form or in installments.

Apart from the adulteration of the texts, this unexpected development caused as well a steep breach of the oral tradition, which was the origin of this popular genre. In spite of this, many of these published plays constitute important examples of the Karagkiosis’ typical drama during his early phases, not to forget the linguistic expressions that govern it. Its being one of the most popular texts also contributed to the wide spreading of this particular humour, which deeply invaded the family life. For decades, it constituted part of the juvenile and adults´ entertainment especially while reading out loud. Thus, the stories of the Karagkiosis became a common means of home-entertainment for all ages.

In the course of time, the texts of the popular Karagkiosis started to adapt themselves to illustrated publications, until they finally acquired the form of comics.

Equally, the caustic popular satire of the genre was quickly adopted, mainly by magazines of left inclination, which also started to publish small stories with the typical heroes of the shadow theatre to criticise the country’s social and political life.

The phenomenon of booklets and other texts based on Karagkiosis, is an important chapter of the research and study of the shadow theatre history, and this is why the collection and digitization of all printed material constitutes one of the basic axes of the program.

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