2/28/2020(Beginning researching on 'Research presentation')
This week, I started to look into different theater traditions in order to pick one that I want to do. To understand the 'Research Presentation' better, we watched some example works from IB and grade them on the IB scale with comparing to IB score. From that process, I get a big picture of what to include, what to focus, and how to manage my time on the research presentation. Then, I briefly researched many theater traditions such as Kabuki, Kathakali, Wagang Puppet, Peking opera, French Farce, Comedy, Tragedy in Greek, Talchum mask dance, Karagoz Shadow Puppetry, and so on. On the path of choosing theater traditions, I record my sources along the way and view them as using a combination of skills such as body, face, gesture, movement, and voice. I could say that I am more aware of my abilities in these aspects and could plan accordingly. Learning these theater traditions also widens my horizon and impresses me of how people bring their cultural elements, ideas and time period to the traditions.
3/9/2020(Gathering sources for the RP)
I have chosen my theater tradition to be Karagoz Shadow Puppetry. I chose this theater tradition due to several reasons. First, I watched some shadow puppets shows which interests me of how they do them. I don't have experience on doing shadow puppetry so I think I could explore more things and extend my skills. By comparing different puppetries, I found out that the Karagoz Shadow Puppetry from Turkey is more accessible. This is because it could be played by one person, the puppets don't have too many joints, and the puppets are comparably easy to make since they are in a 2D form. After determining my theater tradition, I looked into videos, books and articles about Karagoz Shadow Puppetry. I borrowed some books from the University of Washington to start my research. A challenge I met is that it is hard to find sources that have English translations. I decided to look into the historical context first. I found out that Karagoz Shadow puppetry originated in the southeastern part of Asia around Java. It was first performed at the Ottoman palaces in the late 14th century during the reign of Bayezid I (1389-1402) according to a Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi. But some people believe that the play was first performed for the Ottoman Sultan Selim I (1512-1520) in Egypt.
3/17/2020(Choosing aspects of the theater tradition and exploration)
This week, I continued the research on the RP. What I found essential in the Karagoz Shadow Puppetry is the use of the voice. So I chose that aspect to focus on enable to bring the characters to life. I might explore the characters' voices by listening to some examples and train distinguish voice for each character. For example, the main protagonist Karagoz would have a more playful and funny voice. And the antagonist Hacivat would have a more calm, upper voice. I also started to look at the techniques on making the Karagoz shadow puppets, but unfortunately, I could not find any translated sources that provide the making procedures of making the puppets yet. I looked into the materials of making the puppets such as camel, water buffalo, cow or calf skin. But I could not find any way to get them, there are not transparent hard cardboard or fabric available either. At this point, the only plan I can think of is to draw on papers, cut them and use scotch tape to make the puppets stronger. I am looking deeper into characters in the shadow puppets in order to get ideas of which scene I could do in my moment of theater. The investigations are hard to me at this point because of the limited sources and lack of translation. However, I use alternated plan to solve the problems.
4/2/2020(Collecting historical context and finishing the Commedia dell'Arte research)
Because of the quarantine policies from the COVID-19, all classes are online via zoom now. Our attempt to create a Commedia character didn't work. We found it difficult to present the characters online, improvise and interact with each other. Also, my character choice of Arlecchino/Harlequino overlaps with another student so I had to research Pantalone instead. Since we are not physically in a classroom together, it is hard to train babble speech with each other. We thought about choosing a script so that people could be confident of their characters. However, interact with other characters online who have different physical surroundings is challenging. Plus, one of our ultimate goals of learning Commedia dell'Arte's research is to experience the construction of a min-research project, we start to feel like we should spend more time getting through the research presentation itself. Thus, we decided to end the Commedia dell'Arte research before the spring break and turn our wheels to the Research Presentation. I read a lot of different sources on my research presentations the Turkish shadow puppets Karagoz. And I found out that instead of having one determined origin, it has different interpretations of its origin. I also started collecting information on what the puppetry influence and how it is divided into different parts. In this research presentation, I'm planning to make a screen myself as well as the shadow puppets. The screen would be something like a "1 x 1.20 m^2 muslin screen." In order to have a general idea of how they are made. I would borrow some examples of the puppets and the screen in the future. After collecting the necessary information, I would consolidate ideas and build up the presentation more structurally.
4/18/2020(Finishing the historical context part of the research presentation)
This week, I finished putting the information on the historical context of my research presentation together both on my presentation script and the slides I use for my presentation. I discovered more of the religion and historical impacts in the forming of Karagoz shadow puppet theater. I also started collecting the materials and techniques for making my own Karagoz screen and puppets. Thinking back of the plays I read, I figured that the scene between Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing where they eat muffins and argue about their mistakes and decisions of Bunburying is a quite nice fit for my moments of theater since it includes two men arguing with two different attitudes and voice. Moving forward, I will put down more information about the main characters of Karagoz shadow puppetry in my presentation and then learn the voice aspects of the theater tradition because it is one of the most essential elements in a shadow theater where people can't see your face, body, and gesture. During all these processes, I'm glad to learn theater tradition that I'm never been touched on and developing my skills of putting together a presentation.
4/25/2020(Finishing the PRACTICAL EXPLORATION part of RP)
Up to now, I watched different performances, books, and articles of Karagoz shadow puppetry, and put together the characteristics of the main character Karagoz and Hacivat. Karagoz and Hacivat are like the two sides of a coin. Hacivat is an educated and wise opportunist who tries to bring order and always finds Karagoz a job. He tries to end the debates and brings out the topic of the main story. Karagoz, on the other hand, represents common sense and some public morals. He is an ordinary man in the street and often rude with all sorts of faults. I looked specifically into the voice aspect and observed that Karagoz uses nasals a lot and his voice is more hoarse and slow while Hacivat's voice is more light and fast. They both speak with a rhythm where they emphasize some words in a sentence a lot. Due to their varied temperaments, Karagoz speaks in a more casual tone while Hacivat sounds more serious. In class, we come up with a rescheduled plan for managing our research presentation and I feel clearer on the direction I'm heading to despite the background of the fast-changing world with remote-learning. I put the information I got into a document and the PowerPoint to organize my ideas. To further my research on the moment of theater, I decided to start planning on the setting of my performance and learning the script I'm going to use. It is going to be a little challenging since the script is not from the time, place, or tradition of Karagoz puppetry. But I believe that as long as I got the core of the tradition and the scene from the script, I could bring them together through the temperaments of the characters portrayed distinctly with voice.
5/10/2020(Investigating the moment of theater)
This week, I continued on my investigation on my moment of a theater piece for the RP. I watched more Karagoz shadow shows and tried out some vocal exercises. I recorded myself using different voices to interpret the two characters from the script and try to enhance them. I found that vocal warm-ups are pretty useful to get better use of my voice, especially in this case since the two voices need to be distinct and changed quickly. I also made my shadow screen and puppets with some help with my host family and online tutorials. I chose and cut out the frames and fabrics I'm using for the screen, ironed the curtain, and stabled them together. After that, I added two stands so that the screen could stand on its own. For creating the puppets, I collected thin, transparent plastic first from wherever I can think of-- folders, bottles, and the packing of fruits. Then, I measured out how big I want the puppets to be, and drew the table and two chairs of the scene accordingly on the scale. I put as many Turkish elements as I could on these items, but also made them fit the scene of my moment of theater. These settings are cut out and taped on the back of the screen. After that, my puppets are drawn followed by the typical examples of Karagoz and Hacivat. Again, I sketched out the black lines of the figures and then colored them. For the joints, I stabled them and adjusted the pins for its flexibility. I used super glue to stabilize the barbecue sticks on the puppets to control them. During this process of learning this new skill, I tried out different ideas and adjusted them while putting them into practice. It's pretty entertaining and I'm glad to bring the tradition to a script that's in a different culture and time period to experiment with the crossover and collisions of arts.