The 16th International Istanbul Puppetry Festival will host 60 performances by selected groups from 15 countries. The festival, which starts today, will be organized in various venues of the city with fringe events including exhibitions, conferences, workshops and film screenings. The festival will run from 8th May until 19th May.
Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, the festival’s director Cengiz Özek said that Turkey had a deep-rooted tradition of puppetry but the puppet types in Anatolian folklore had vanished over time. He said that only Karagöz and Hacivat, who have a place in Istanbul folklore, had survived until the Istanbul Puppetry Festival started its journey 16 years ago based on Hacivat and Karagöz.
The festival will also present the annual Honorary Award to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Theaters for bringing together the traditional art of puppetry with audiences through various productions.
Opening with ‘Hotel de Rive’
The official opening of the festival will take place on May 10 by German-French-Swiss production “Hotel de Rive” at the French Culture Center. The show is based on four surrealist texts by Giacometti, which are centered around the theme of time, and provide insight into the different periods in Giacometti’s life. Both the puppetry performance and the music are inspired by Giacometti’s sculptures and drawings and cumulate in a unique visual poetry experience. His work is both the starting point and the path that takes us to another level. An invisible space is born where visual and performing art and literature meet.
Among the other shows, the magical world of “The Marionette Insect Circus” will invite the audience to forget reality and become immersed in the strange and beautiful world of insects. Beetles and grasshoppers, spiders and dragonflies, will demonstrate their dexterity with great skill and humor. Presented using short-string marionettes and with live musical accompaniment, String Theater breathes new life into the traditional techniques used in Victorian trick marionettes.
Turkish puppetry show “İbiş Becomes a Writer” will be performed with the İbiş hand puppets, one of Turkey’s most important puppet techniques. The audience will see a piece from the classic Karagöz repertoire, “The Writer” through the medium of İbiş. Açıkgöz Puppet Theater is widely known as Turkey’s foremost İbiş artists.
Puppet master, writer and researcher Toni Rumbai will give a conference on his latest book “Routes of Pulcinella” as part of the festival. Also, Scott Koehler from French group Philippe Genty will give two workshops during the event.