In this shadow play, Do All Daddies Have Gray Suits?, the artist deconstructs the official narrative as well as her family history about her father’s assassination and its aftermath during the brutal junta of 1980 in Turkey. This timeless story depicts both the psychological and physical cruelty and the violence that nationalism and militarism triggered.
By generating a fairytale, the artist targets an ethical question of how we remember a traumatic past and how we move beyond that. She employs a personal story to target two forms of silence; one that defines her personal life growing up with an incomplete memory of her father and one that defines a collective silence, which shaped the society after the 1980 Coup. She takes an artistic approach to reconstruct her story as an adult to confront the official narratives and transform the theoretical discussion of trauma and postmemory into an intergenerational act of confronting our past. It is both the confusion of living through a painful historical trauma and the desire to decipher a palimpsest of silence that evaded the story.
Following in the footsteps of Karagiozis and Hadjiavatis (Turkish and Greek/ Anatolian shadow-puppet theatre) she creates a new narrative that combines multimedia/video projection with puppeteers, cutouts, and live shadow casters. Unlike Karagiozis and Hadjiavatis that utilize humor as a method to unravel the hypocrisy of the society, the artist uses the power of imaginative characters like wind daddies, memory trees, and underground creatures etc. to entertain and communicate her criticism of the society. Using darkness as a metaphor for hidden stories, the shadow play is a perfect medium to express these untold tragedies to the public audiences throughout the world. Once completed, Do All Daddies Have Gray Suits? will be a powerful work of mobilizing memory through critical aesthetics that defines the artist’s portfolio.
The live presentation will consist of 3 acts totaling 70 minutes and will be shown in 2018 (first in USA and then in Europe). The performance is written and conceived by the multi-media artist, directed by Stuart Fishelson in collaboration with award winning shadow master Larry Reed and ShadowLight Productions. The original sound is composed and designed by Erdem Helvacioglu.
Video and Photograpy by Johanna Case-Hofmeister
Please see below a trailer of the play: