An important chapter of our popular tradition and a genuine expression of Greek popular development is the art of shadow theatre. Its roots, traced in the nearest East but also in ancient Greece. Karagiozis, the dominant figure of Greek shadow theatre still attracts and entertains not only tradition lovers, but also younger generations, imposing with mysterious and immense charm.
Shadow theatre is both entertaining and educational, by dramatising legends and traditions, topics of history and current affairs. It is part of contemporary life in a purely artistic and genuinely theatrical way.
Most popular karagiozis-performers consider rime as the dominant element, figures, even though they are the “tools” in the words of D. Mollas, is the most vital part during a performance. The basic material out of with these figures were made was paper. With the appropriate cutting and shaping, they manage to create the physical characteristics and attributes of the heroes that were reflected under the alteration of black and white. Later on, new materials are introduced such as leather and gelatin.
The genuine power of this “carton” hero, the remarkable coexistence of speech,
music and movement entails many elements from the soul of Greeks, in the way
that it evolved through history.