After some reflection on the wonderful Random String Symposium and digesting all of the information and feedback, I decided that my itch to explore shadow puppetry, identity and movement are more and more important and relevant to my practice. I met wonderful people at the symposium and was able to have discussions with some lighting designers and a theatre expert, who also enjoys shadow puppetry. There are plans to meet up and play in the next month or so. Incidentally, I also met another dancer from Singapore who has a background in Shadow play and so he and I hope to meet up and work mid-July.
I also have continued to do some research on Hacivat and Karagoz (Turkish Shadow Puppets) and have learned more about the stories and plays that are attached to the characters. Apparently, there are 28 stories that used to be in rotation and toured throughout Turkey. Now the plays are typically seen during the month of Ramadan, and although I am not interested in exploring this religious aspect, I am captivated by two stories in particular- the garden and the public bath. Will explain more about the stories in the future!!
At the moment I am gathering 28 stories from various members of the community and am using these to build a repository that is feeding directly into the choreography. I am also asking the families to find sounds that are familiar to them or that have meaning to their stories. I hope to connect this to the shadow puppets and to then see how the set can be interactive…. Wheels are still turning on that one.
As I have been writing this entry, a series of sad events has hit Turkey with the latest airport bombings! Having literally just returned from Istanbul 3 days after the attacks, this hits close to home, not to mention that my partner is still there and set to fly back soon. So what started as a very light and reflective entry has suddenly taken a very serious tone— APOLOGIES!!! This has reminded me of my initial ideas with this project- to explore identity, to bring voices and people together, to build community and to show that dance is political and activism and arts can go hand in hand.
How can we interact, use DT, dance and these cultural stories to build more tolerance?