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Contents / Ortaoyunu

Not based on a written text, ‘ortaoyunu’, with Kavuklu and Pişekâr in the lead roles, is one of the fundamental genres of traditional Turkish theater.

Besides the other forms of traveling theater, such as the Karagöz or shadow theater which uses puppets and the coffeehouse stories told by a single narrator, there are also major genres of traditional Turkish theater that are staged with live players. If you like, let us begin with a brief history and definition of the so-called ‘ortaoyunu’, whose most salient feature is that it is staged without relying on a written text.

There are different views concerning the origin of ortaoyunu, which dates back to the 13th century. In content, this theater resembles the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, a theatrical genre which was followed by Turks who traded with Venice and Genoa and which they called ‘Arte Oyunu’, a term that may have become corrupted over time to

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