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Reviews Stathis Damianakos, editor. Στάθης Δαμιανάκος, εισαγωγή — επιμÎ-λεια, ΘÎ-ατϕο σκιών, παϕάδοση και νεωτεϕικότητα. Athens: Plethron. 1989. Pp. 285 + 32 pages of illustrations. An international conference on "The Shadow Theater Today: Museum Object or Live Cultural Expression" was organized in September 1982, in CharlevilleM ézières, France, within the broader context of the World Meeting of Puppet Theaters. The organizers were Jean-Pierre Lescot, a shadow puppeteer in Paris, and Stathis Damianakos, a researcher working on popular cultural phenomena. The papers of the conference were first published in French by the Institut International de la Marionnette in 1986, in a volume with the title Théâtres d'ombres, tradition et modernité. Stathis Damianakos, the director of the series on Λαϊκός Πολιτισμός / ΤοπικÎ-Ï‚ Κοινωνίες ("Popular Culture / Local Societies") for the Plethron publishing house in Athens, brought out the translation of the French edition in 1989. Yorgos Spanos and Anita Mihali were responsible for the Greek versions of die articles. The book contains a total of twenty-one articles preceded by an introduction written by the editor. The articles are divided into three parts. The first includes three studies of the Asian sources of the shadow theater; the second discusses various aspects of the Mediterranean variants; the third includes eleven articles whose common concerns are theatrical practice and symbolic values. Given the large number of contributors to the volume, an individual analysis of each article is not feasible within the limits of this review. To do justice to all of the contributors, I will start by mentioning who they are and what they discuss. Christine Hemmet opens the volume with an article on "Nang Talung," the surviving part of a long shadow-theater tradition in rural southern Thailand. Mel Helstien compares two performances with leather puppets in Karnataka, India. The last article on the Asian tradition is Roger Long's discussion of the influence of technological progress (brought about by electricity and the radio, etc.) on the Javanese shadow theater. All three articles are of great interest to the Greek reader because they reveal surprising similarities to the more familiar Turkish and Greek counterparts in all aspects of artistic creation. The methods of analysis are partly philological and partly anthropological, with a number of sociological observations as well. The second part, on the Mediterranean variants of the shadow theater, opens with a parallel reading of one Greek and one Turkish shadow-theater play by Stathis Damianakos in which he demonstrates mat Karaghiozis and Karagöz are in fact variants of the same cultural phenomenon. Metin And Journal of Modem Greek Studies, Volume 13, 1995. 139 140 Reviews discusses some of the functions of the Karagöz within the context of Ottoman society. Altan Gokalp compares the representative puppets of the Ottoman Empire's capital to those of the provinces, and explains the role of their inclusion in the shadow theatrical group. Gayé Petek-Salom attempts a "census" of the Karagöz situation in contemporary Turkey. The articles on the Turkish shadow theater are followed by studies of its Greek neighbor. Loring Danforth writes on tradition and change in the Greek shadow theater, Walter Puchner on the traditional audience of Karaghiozis performances, and Zachos Siaflekis on the shadow theater's assimilation of the Alexander legend. In the third part of the book, the shadow theater is studied under refreshingly different perspectives ranging from psychology to postmodern theatrical practices. Mariano Dolci, using Piaget's theories as a basis, deals with how children perceive their own shadow. Xavier Fà bregas discusses realism and illusion as theoretical concepts from East to West within the shadow theater context. Psychologist Annie Gilles attempts a semiological reading of the shadow theater in the West drawing on theatrical/performative bibliography in combination with psychoanalytic concepts. Françoise and Chérif Khaznadar deliver a general evaluation of magic, speech, and movement in the shadow theater throughout time and space. From the viewpoint of the director of a shadow theater in New York City, Jo Humphrey discusses the challenge of preserving the Chinese shadow theater tradition of Luanchou in modern day America. Natalie Smirnova describes some Soviet attempts at shadow performances after 1917 by theater intellectuals. Robert Baze considers the shadow theater as a precursor of both cinema and cartoon art. Finally, three practitioners—Luc Amoros...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 139-141
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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