Election Projection

Headed over to Union Square last night to catch Leonidas Kassapides perform traditional Greek shadow puppetry.

The rain had let up enough that costumed revelers were out in force and people stopped to catch a bit of the show before moving on to their final destinations.

Karaghiozis, the main character, who apparently is a staple in a tradition passed down from the Ottoman Turks, runs for public office in a tale that of course had plenty of nods to the current election. At one point he proclaims his desire to drill for oil in sites around the world. He quickly clarifies that he’s talking the kind of oil that goes nice with a little feta and salad.

Although there are all kinds of modern allusions, both political and punny, historical and mythological figures played a part as well, with appearances by the Cyclops, Sphinx and Alexander the Great. Capturing any of them proved a bit difficult, not as you might imagine because they’re shadows cast on a screen on a dark night, but because the winds were whipping the screen all over the place. The slow shutter speed on my camera was no match for it. The performers did a good job of dealing with the wind without being distracted, even making a joke when it tore one side of the screen away before being wrestled back into place by a stage hand.

The musical accompaniment, by the way, was outstanding and the audience called for encores yelling “keep playing!”


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