The Magic of Arab Shadow Theatre


Location: New York University Abu Dhabi Institute

Li Guo, Professor in the Arabic Studies Program at the University of Notre Dame, has been invited to give a lecture at New York University Abu Dhabi Institute on October 22nd titled, "The Magic of Arab Shadow Theatre."

Shadow play, known as khayāl al-ẓill, karagöz, or li‘b, is a performing art with a long and rich history in the Arab world. Like Aladdin’s magic lamp that transforms the real world into a fantasy land, the shadow master’s lantern projects fairytales and spectacles with intricate, cartoonish figures onto a screen for enchanted audiences to enjoy. This talk surveys this enduring tradition—from its earliest sighting in the tenth century, to its gradual decline on the eve of modernity, and finally to the modern-day efforts to preserve it.