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Puppet - Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre, Stavrakas, 1960s Object Reg. No: SH 911433

Alternative Name(s): Stavros [in the Argo dialect]

This puppet was made in the 1960s by the Greek puppeteer and popular artist Abraam (Antonakos) in his Athens workshop, and used in performances in Greece during the 1960s. This and most of the puppets in the collection were brought to Australia by Abraam Antonakas for his performances at the Astor Theatre in Melbourne in 1977. He then left the collection with Dimitri Katsoulis who used them in all his subsequent performances in Victoria and in South Australia from 1978 to 1991. Dimitri Katsoulis migrated to Australia in 1974 to escape a regime that repressed Greek artists. He had trained in Greece with theatre and film companies as an actor and technician. A master of the traditional Greek shadow puppet theatre, his performances explored contemporary issues such as the isolation of migrant women and children. Unable to obtain funding and support, he returned to Greece in 1991, leaving his entire collection to the people of Victoria. It includes 32 shadow puppets and around 170 props, set backdrops and technical tools and stage equipment. Dimitri has since returned to Melbourne and assists the Museum to continue to document this rich art form within both local and international contexts.

Stavrakas is a character in the centuries-old Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre (Karaghiozis) tradition. He represents the typical character in the town square of Psirris in Athens from 1910 until the beginning of the 1930s. He is a serious character of few words. He is a 'pretend' hero, he is underhanded and a blackmailer but he is a man of his word. He is constantly promising love to the detriment of women. He is also a boaster and therefore brags a great deal. Stavrakas takes part in comedies and in romantic dramas. In the play 'Karaghiozis the Servant' he portrays a potential suitor for Eleni [another Greek shadow Puppet Theatre character] to whom he professes his love, but he is really after her father's money. She also acts as if she is in love with him and behaves as though she is expecting an engagement ring. However, she has prearranged with Karaghiozis to go out to greet him when he arrives and when Stavrakas asks for a ring, Karaghiozis starts beating him up and runs him off.

This puppet is connected by two puppet rods so that it can be manipulated on the stage. One moves one hand which is slightly longer and holds his string of worry beads. The other is at the shoulder so that it can be moved as required.

Information supplied by Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre master Dimitri Katsoulis, 2007.
A two-dimensional acrylic figure, jointed at the waist, with a multiple-jointed arm which includes a flexible vinyl extension piece. He wears a black hat which is a separate piece, attached by a rivet so that it is hinged but not removable. He wears a brown jacket, red sash and blue trousers. A gun is tucked into the sash.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 68.00 cm (Height), 23.00 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: cultural maintenance, greek communities, greek immigration, karaghiozis theatre, shadow puppetry, theatres, working life
Themes this item is part of: Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre - Dimitri Katsoulis, Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre - Lighting Technology, Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre - History, Working Life & Trades Collection, Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours, Immigration Museum Exhibition, 2011-2021
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Ethnicity - Creative Practice
Tertiary Classification: puppetry
Artist: Mr Abraam Antonakos, Athens, Greece, 1960-1969
User: Mr Abraam Antonakos, Athens, Greece, 1960-1977

Abraam made the puppet in Greece, and used it in performances during the 1960s and 1970s; and then in Victoria in 1977.
User: Mr Abraam Antonakos, Victoria, Australia, 1977

Abraam made the puppet in Greece, and used it in performances during the 1960s and 1970s; and then in Victoria in 1977.
User: Mr Dimitri Katsoulis, Australia, 1978-1991

Dimitri was given the puppet by Abraam in 1977 and then used it in his performances in Australia until 1991.
References: http://www.cv.vic.gov.au/#; Malkin, Michael, R. Traditional and Folk Puppets of the World, A.S. Barnes & Co., Inc., N.J., 1977; Simmen, Rene, The World of Puppets, Elsevier, Phaidon, London, 1975; Hogarth, Ann & Bussell, Jan, Fanfare for Puppets!, David & Charles Publishers Ltd, USA, 1985; Yayannos, A & Ar and Dingli, J. The World of Karaghiozis, 1976

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