DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE PUPPETS, THEY TAKE CENTER STAGE LIKE AN ARTIST.
First, dream of it. Next, drawings are made on a piece of paper. These drawings are transferred onto a linden tree and cut up. Moreover, the wood is trimmed, carved, rubbed with sandpaper, the pieces are put together, painted and dressed up… And puppet comes to life! Even so, the ropes of the artists in this business are now in their hands.
Çağrı Yılmaz is an artist who let the puppets have the strings long ago in such a way. Upon realizing during his philosophy study at METU, there was not any university in Turkey providing training on art of puppet; he took training in Prague on puppet design and puppet play. He says that here in Turkey, the question “What exactly are you doing now?” takes the place of the respect he received when he met people there on the saying “I am a Puppetry artist.” He is still not complaining about it, and he is staying afloat with his puppets.
The puppets we are talking about bear no resemblance at all to Hacivat-Karagöz that we watch when we come across a couple times or dollies just whose arms and hands are moving. There are such characters among them that you should observe closely a few short minutes, if possible, watch them on a stage to discover all the details. Ballerina dancing with all its extremities is among them… The only thing that it takes power from is its guide, puppeteer who gives all his energy to it, and you do not feel this anyway. They are becoming two-headed and two-bodied creature on the stage.
Puppet plays its own role
Unlike an actor leaving his or her own character outside and performing on the stage, puppet plays its own role; does not pretend and animate somebody else. The audience starts watching and regarding that the puppet is not a player and you cannot expect it to bear human qualities. Just then, you are caught unprepared for its capabilities. While expecting imitation, simulation, which you come across, begins to push your mind. Although it is easy for adults to cope with this situation, this is not the case for children; they are willing to go on the stage during performance, and stand up to talk to puppets. This is no different even when they come to Wooden Frame Puppet Theatre atelier in Beyoğlu. They come here, and look at them closely and make puppets if their age and the time they can spend permit.
When you see the puppet even made of a sock, you can guess its cost is not worth mentioning. What children create by using their imagination is certainly invaluable. Çağrı Yılmaz said that they had seen the most beautiful examples of this in the province of Van immediately after the devastating earthquake. The puppets, which he had city’s children who had never gone to the theater and probably never seen a puppet make, are his most valuables.
Anyone who has a pair of eyes and hands can make a puppet.
In this atelier, not only children but also all age groups who apply for are taught how to make puppet and have it play. All you need to do is a pair of hands and eyes! Making a puppet with classic string takes about 35 hours. You can work on any type of puppet you prefer. If you try hard, you can set up your own atelier and start making puppet design. It is also an advantage that this team has received awards several times inside the country and abroad. Although it is not guaranteed that you will be successful when you are finished with training, no doubt you will enjoy it.
Puppets wish to go on stage
Even though you are successful in making puppet and performing puppet play, you need to be cautious when making plans on this occupation. In this area of business, not any proletarian has been seen become affluent yet. Just as the theater, Puppet Theater also has a number of entrenched spectators, but not so much due to the fact that it is little known subject. Having started to perform puppet shows in Ankara in 2001, Çağrı Yılmaz observed that there had been an increasing number of audiences since 2006. Nevertheless, the audience sometimes drops to 10 people. Even if the theater is fully filled with people, it hardly compensates for the expenditures spent on. At this point, moral satisfaction of artists comes into play. The characters that the artists create behind the scenes force them to perform on the stage. If you happen to go to a puppet theater by any chance, you will figure out the reason for their insistence.