Use the following drawings to construct the figures
2) Technical Advice
2.a) The Stage
The stage of Karagiozis consists of a well-stretched, semi-transparent, white cloth, i.e. a sheet, which is being lit from the side where the puppet-master is playing.
Naturally, this sheet must be stretched on wooden frame that is ∏-shaped with a second horizontal line in the middle. The figures stand on a ramp, a plank 30cm wide equipped with electric light-bulbs of 100W every about 30-40cm along, fixed horizontally at the height of the second horizontal line of the ∏-shaped frame.
The whole stage is covered around the lit sheet with dark cloth which can be painted. The feet of the puppet-master and his assistants step on a wooden base (which can be the floor or a short table). This is the most complicated but, surely, the right way to construct a stage.
Here’s a simpler way:
We nail 4 planks in a square shape and stretch a white sheet on them using nails or push-pins at the edges. We lit the stage with electric light-bulbs of 100W fixed on a plank that is touching the lower horizontal plank of the frame.
A simpler way to construct a stage is to stretch a white, thin cloth (like a bedsheet) on a window or a double-door. The more the stretch the clearer the shadows of figures will show on the other side. Make sure the players are hidden from the audience by adding a dark cloth below and above the white sheet. Put light-bulbs at the top (and at the bottom if it is easy) hanged from the top of the frame.
2.b) The playing
In order to become a puppet-master of Karagiozis it is imperative that you are an assistant of a professional puppet-master for many years.
Not just to learn how to move the figures, draw and paint them, make the voices, but more importantly in order to learn the plays by heart. Observer how several puppet-masters hold and move the figures.
Try to hold the figures so that they touch the sheet uniformly.
That way they will show sharp, with vivid colors on the other side.
The sheet can be nailed with push-pins not from the front side (of the audience) but from the inside.
2.c) The voice
The voice makes each character of the Theater of Shadows to be distinguished. Try to mimic the voices of the basic heroes (Karagiozis with his children, Hatziavatis etc.)
2.d) The music
The music is also an important part of a performance.
If your voice doesn’t help you much, try choosing several songs from CDs. They will surely help you a lot.
The intensity of the voice is also an important matter, so make sure you speak loudly and clearly.
Remember: the audience doesn’t only see but also hear your play.
2.e) The figure
THE FIGURE is made of cardboard, leather or transparent plastic.
The figures made by leather of cow, ox, buff or camel in the best case, is the material of choice for professional players of Karagiozis.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t use some secondary figures made of cardboard or plastic. Especially, when it comes to figures made of graven cardboard are also considered important pieces of art.
For children it is better to make their figures out of plastic, that’s the easiest way.
Follow the instructions given below and you can begin making YOUR OWN figures:
Cut, with a pair of scissors or a chisel, a piece of flat, transparent plastic. If you can’t find in the market you can also use plastic from an old semi-transparent bowl.
Using a black marker pen with alcohol type ink, draw the contours of the figure on the plastic. Then using color markers you can paint the interior. For combinations of colors take a look at books with paintings which may help you choose the colors you need.
See on our webpage the sort of different colors the puppet-master uses for his figures.
If you’re not satisfied with the colors or make a mistake you can clean the plastic completely using a piece of cotton soaked in aceton or benzene.
Now that the figure has been painted on the plastic the only thing that’s left is to cut it (using scissors or chisel) and put the several pieces together with double-sided nails (which keep the pieces together while allowing them to rotate on the axis of the nail).
If you don’t succeed, you can order a set of 9-figures by e-mail.
It is, however, important that you make on your OWN a complete figure, and you’d better stard drawing its contour with a pencil on a piece of cardboard. Afterwards, copy the shape on transparent plastic.
2.f) The handle
The handle is the tool used to move the figure. It consists of a thin metal rod with a wooden hilt (in order for the hand not to slip while holding it) on the one tip and on the other a simple mechanism like a door’s hinge which permits the figure to turn 180° around so that it can easily turn side.
In the photo below you can see professional handles while in the drawing you can see simple ways to make an amateur one.
2.g) The scenic sets
The scenic sets play an important role as they define the environment where the play takes place and they also… beautify the stage.
They can be painted on cloth, paper or plastic.
Here is a Saray and a Hovel almost complete. You just have to enlarge, print and then paint with colors (with alcohol type ink markers).
Then you must use pins to fix them on the white sheet, from the puppet-master’s side.
Make sure they are well-stretched when you pin them.
If you make your own Hovel or Saray you can take ideas from the photos found in our website, or even from houses in your neighborhood.