Feature: Turkish shadow play uplifts spirits during pandemic

ANKARA, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) — As the puppet master started to employ the power of light and curtain, the young audience, all wearing masks, entered the ancient world of Turkish shadow play, a traditional way with a modern twist to cheer up people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Turkish shadow play often uses a half-transparent curtain illuminated by light to show the silhouettes of puppets. But a show play theatre in Ankara adds some modern touches to the old traditional art of entertainment.

Near the Turkish capital Ankara’s old town located in the iconic Genclik Parc, a shadow play theatre holds shows every Sunday in a concert hall for families to uplift their spirits. Different from the traditional show play, the show has comedians explaining stories to children and an orchestra playing the background music.

Most importantly, the audience is required to wear face masks as the coronavirus cases surge in the country.

“We aim to convey to younger generations what shadow theater is and how entertaining it is, especially when we have this pandemic,” Kemal Gunuc, head of the orchestra, told Xinhua.

“Shadow play is all about imagination and we try to pass our traditional history to our children, blending it with a modern theatre aspect and music,” he noted.

“Children from rural parts of Ankara (province) who never went to a theatre or seen a shadow play before are also coming to see our show,” the musician added.

Children seemed much amused by the show.

“This is not the first time that I have watched a shadow play,” said Elif Baser, an 11-year-old girl. “I watched it on television before and liked it very much, it is very funny and entertaining.”

Elif has to stay home most of the week because the government is reimposing part of the lockdown measures to fight the deadly virus.

“At least we have a one-hour happy relief from what is going on in our lives currently, it’s quite difficult,” said Elif’s mother, who is a nurse and has been working around the clock to deal with the increasing COVID-19 cases.

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