REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Meddah

Traditional Theatre

MEDDAH

Meddahlik (the art of the meddah) is the art of storytelling and mimicry. The curtain, stage, decoration and costumes are all found in a single person, and it is therefore a one-man show.

The meddah tells stories to audience while sitting on a chair. His stories deal with events from daily life, folk tales, epics, stories and legends.

The stage props of the meddah are a handkerchief and a cudgel. He begins his stories, that are generally funny and have moral and literary conclusions to them, by saying, “r’viy’i ahbar, n’kil’n-i sar ve muhaddiis’n rüzigar söyle rivayet eder ki...” (The skies, legends and the voice of winds say that...) and after giving information about the main characters, he tells his tale. The meddah works alone, sole actor in a play that includes many characters. The meddah would perform at the Ottoman palace, in cities, on Ramadan nights, in coffee houses and at circumcision feasts in an age when listening was much more popular than reading. Meddahlik is the predecessor of the stand-up shows of today.