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Theatrical Presentations in Villages

Traditional Theatre


Village plays are ritual plays performed by villagers on special days, festivals and wedding ceremonies, and are aimed increasing abundance and good health or else to welcome in the New Year. These plays are performed either in open spaces or indoors on winter days. These plays have come down from ancient times, although they have changed in the process, but the first examples were performed to give thanks to the god and supernatural powers for abundance and prosperity in life. These plays are based on myths and similar beliefs and contain the cultural essence of the people of Anatolia, cultural elements brought in from Central Asia and some other Islamic elements which entered Turkish culture after conversion to Islam.

Village plays are examples of primitive theatre. More than artistic concerns, they have social and religious functions.

There are different types of village plays, such as those dealing with daily life (the blacksmith, barber, ploughing etc.), plays that refer to animals (the camel, bear, fox, eagle, etc.), those that concern themselves with the changing seasons (a bride that has very sparse hair), plays that are performed for the increase of abundance (saya visits, ram mating ceremonies, the cemal play etc.), and plays for rain.

Cemal Play: This is performed on the day of sowing or at the end of the harvest.

Ram mating: This aims to control the reproduction season of the animals, since their young are unable to survive or feed themselves in the winter months. This is one variety of seasonal festival.

Face of Camel, Face of Sheep: Performed on the day when the unborn young grow their first hair inside the wombs of pregnant animals.


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