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Encomiast (Meddah)

Encomiast is one of the most important traditional Turkish theatrical plays Although Meddah
is separated from the dramatic genres such as Karagöz and light comedy in the sense that it
is an narrative type, it is easily regarded as a dramatic genre because the narrative, imitative
and personification sections are arranged between the narrative sections. Although Meddah
is very close to the Karagöz and light comedy in terms of its methods, and these are merely a
comedy theater, for the meddah is based on rich sources, has a diversity of storytelling, and
as well as being a laughter it reflects the humor, it differs from them.
Dede Korkut, Köroğlu, religious subjects from the Islamic tradition, SeyyitBattal Gazi, various
parts of the Karbala event, topics from Hz.t Hamza, Hz. AU, legends from Iranian traditions,
legends and stories arising from Şahnames can be a Meddah`ssubjet and for this reason it
involves various temperaments. Meddahs have turned to comedy in later ages. However, it
knows how to present realistic folk tales such as HancerliHanım and Binbirdirekby awakening
suspense, stillness and interest– in a different way from Karagöz and light comedy who have
presented the same stories as comedy.
The Karbala event, which is epic for it involves a bravery story, may be no more natural than
the different impression that the stories, which create religious sentiments and religious
dignity,make on the listener.

There is a very important conclusion to be drawn: Karagöz and the light comedy (ortaoyunu)
are purely showcasing theater, but according to the subjects chosen by the meddah, it
seems that it pushes the simulator, realistic and illusory theatre. For Karagöz and light
comedy spectators, plays are play, players are players. In this respect, we do not find the
connection with play, its self-infliction, identification with persons; on the contrary, there is a
certain interval between the audience and the play, the coolness in the reactions. However,
meddah creates feelings of exuberance, sadness, curiosity, and pity in the audience
according to the topics it chooses, and establishes a relationship of emotionality and
identification between the viewer and the audience.
As a matter of fact, while the poet Hayli Ahmed Çelebi in Bursa in 1616 told the story of Bedi
and Kasım, people in the village were so impressed by the story that they even support
different sides, Bedi and Kasım.
For both sides, when they heard the name of their own hero, their shouting grew so
vigorously, and Haylî Çelebi, who held Kasım at the time of this exuberance, stabbed another
storyteller called Saçakçızade who he thought making fun of him.
According to what we have learned from an Ebussuut fetwa, in the conflict between the sons
of Hz. Hamza, Bedi and Kasım, the listeners are divided into two and become so confused in
the story that they forget even the prayer time. We learn that the story of Kasım and Bedi is
also told in Lâtifî'sEvsaf-ıstanbul. Meddah who imitates not only dialects such as Acem,
Anatolia, Cherkes, Albanian, Jewish, but also various animal and nature sounds has two
items. One of them is the handkerchief that threw it to the shoulder or wrapped around the
neck, and the other is the stick. Meddah`s stick is used to hit the floor and tell the beginning
of the game, to let the door knock, etc. as well as being a tool used to make various voices,
such as musical instrument, broom, and rifle. Handkerchief also imitates various
headscarves, hats. In an old Turkish dictionary, it is believed that the phrase
"Boğazımamakremetakılı” means“forgive my guilt, I am the mercy of you.”