International Shadow Theatre Festival

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Θέατρο σκιών.pngPlaying with shadow and light in all possible ways, is undeniably something magical. Numerous Karagiozi happenings are hosted in Patra and other municipalities throughout the year, while the Municipality of Patra has been organizing, for the past few years, the International Shadow Theatre Festival.

Patra is directly associated with the Shadow Theatre, since the puppet master of Karagiozis (the Greek version of Mr. Punch), Mimaros (Dimitrios Sardounis), was from Patra and he was the one that gave to the art of Karagiozis all its Greek elements.
The International Shadow Theatre Festival is the nucleus of the gathering of various new, young artists that come from different cultures and innovative styles. It is an important element for the continuation, the revitalization and development of this art, however, many traditional performances of Karagiozis still go on at the Greek cafes of many mountainous villages in Achaia.
Karagiozis is the main character of the traditional Greek and Turkish shadow theatre, which is often called by the name of this central character. In Turkish, is called Karagöz and means Black-eyed.
mimaros.jpgIn Greece, Karagiozis is the folk hero who represents the poor, gritty, cunning Greek during the Turkish Domination. The Hellenization of the Karagiozis happened in Patra by the puppet master Mimaro (1865-1912), in the late 19th century, who freed Karagiozi from the obscenity and immorality of the Turkish Shadow Theatre and introduced to his repertory new subjects that reflect the citizens’ pursuits. Furthermore, he introduced changes regarding the stage, innovations in manufacturing the figures and a rare musical dialect that served as a creative bridge with the social classes.
Καραγκιόζης.jpgKaragiozis is hump-backed and surrounded by his family, his friend Chatziavati, his uncle George and many other characters. He lives in a shanty, he is barefooted and lives across the vizier’s palace. The subjects of the plays of the Shadow Theatre are usually satirical that raise the audience’s laugh, and in many cases, the subjects refer to real issues that concern the world.