Global Puppetry in the United States

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presents Global Puppetry in the United States livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Monday 30 October 2023 at 3:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco UTC -7) / 5:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 6:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

Join us for an evening celebrating the work of New York-based international puppet theatre company Chinese Theatre Works and Washington’s US Karagöz Theatre Company. Ayhan Hulagu (KTC), Kuang-Yu Fong, Stephen Kaplin (CTW) will present short excerpts from their repertoires and demonstrate the puppets. The panel will be joined by Professor Marvin Carlson, editor of one of the latest Segal Center Publications: Turkish Traditional Theatre: Karagöz Puppet Plays. Moderated by Frank Hentschker.

Chinese Theatre Works (CTW) was created in 2001 by co-founders and artistic directors Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin out of the merger of the Gold Mountain Institute for Traditional Shadow Theater (GMI) and Chinese Theatre Workshop. Both companies had a long, successful history of bringing contemporary and traditional and Chinese performing arts to local New York City, national, and international audiences. CTW’s goal is to weave Chinese and Western performance styles and techniques into new innovative forms. The company provides educational programming and informative lecture/performances in English and also produces both traditional and original shows on Chinese and Chinese/American cultural themes. CTW productions fuse Chinese Opera and shadow puppetry with modern dance, downtown performance art, European folk tales, toy theatre, and object theatre—while drawing on Chinese folk tales and literary classics as well as on aspects of the contemporary Chinese immigrant experience in the United States and slowly changing gender roles its communities.

US Karagöz Theatre Company (KTC) was founded in 2017 by Ayhan Hulagu as the first traditional Turkish theatre in the United States. The company carries out contemporary stagings based on karagoz (shadow theatre) and Meddah (storyteller), which are included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. KTC conducts research on village theatrical performances and traditional Turkish improvisational comedy (orta oyunu), incorporating these elements as integral parts of the performances. Focusing on modern stagings of traditional theatre, KTC presents world classics with a unique interpretation. The company seeks to construct a contemporary narrative theatre while drawing inspiration from traditional Anatolian theatre. It aims to create a shared space between Eastern and Western cultures and humor—while drawing from the dramatic structures found in Anatolian storytelling and theatrical traditions, incorporating imitations, characterizations, and grotesque stagings.