Ayhan Hulagu, who established Karagoz Theatre Company in America, has been performing the traditional Turkish shadow puppet theater all over. Taking the stage in America’s various states, especially in Washington DC, Hulagu says that Karagoz attracts more attention abroad.
Since its naming to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, Karagoz has started to draw attention all over the world. Lots of panels, workshops and festivals regarding Karagoz have been arranged. Turkish performer Ayhan Hulagu has organized a group of theatre makers with the aim of traveling around America to introduce Karagoz to more people. Hulagu’s first performance was in Washington DC, the capital of the United States. After that he made special shows in Virginia and Iowa. Ayhan’s performance recently served as the opening show of Great Plains Puppet Festival, which is one of the most well-known puppet festivals in the USA. Hulagu opened the festival with his two shows named Swing and The Forest of the Witch, adapted from Turkish veteran Karagoz performer Muhittin Sevilen’s plays. In general, Hulagu prefers to perform Karagoz using both Turkish and English during the shows. Performing under the same roof of Karagoz Theatre Company, Hulagu underlines that the American people are very interested in Karagoz shows.
Ayhan Hulagu started a project named Karagoz Triplet two years ago in İstanbul. He has taken the stage abroad as part of this project’s second section. He summarizes his project like this: “I started Karagoz Triplet in İstanbul. I performed a Karagoz show in İstanbul’s streets. My second project is Karagoz on the way. Within this framework, I have taken the stage in various countries, especially in America. After I complete my shows in America, I am planning to take stage in Europe. Last part of Karagoz Triplet will be in Turkey, named Karagoz at home. Lastly, I am planning to meet Turkish audiences with Karagoz. In Turkey, I want to express my experiences performing Karagoz shows as I travel all over the world. My time touring in America has been an extraordinary experience for me. Also, it is a big pleasure to have a chance to introduce our traditional Karagoz show all over the world.”