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Eastern Drama History of Drama. Asian/Eastern Theatre  As the world’s largest continent, there are 1,000’s of identified theatre forms.  Asian drama.

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Presentation on theme: "Eastern Drama History of Drama. Asian/Eastern Theatre  As the world’s largest continent, there are 1,000’s of identified theatre forms.  Asian drama."— Presentation transcript:

1 Eastern Drama History of Drama

2 Asian/Eastern Theatre  As the world’s largest continent, there are 1,000’s of identified theatre forms.  Asian drama is almost never just spoken –Chanted –Danced –Mimed –Sung

3 Asian/Eastern Theatre  Asian drama that is just spoken is considered influenced by the West  Imagery, rhyme, and alliteration are as important as dialogue and logic is in Western Drama  More visual  Reading plays not seeing them is an odd past time to the culture

4 Asian/Eastern Theatre  Brilliant costumes  Thick makeup  Elegant danced battle scenes  Live instruments

5 Becoming an Actor  Train through an intense apprentice system  Most are born or adopted into their trade  Train from early childhood through early middle age

6 Today  Western influence is evident  However, its near-universal consonance with folk history, ancient religions, and cultural myths is remarkable

7 Timeline  Hindu (Theatre of India) began 500 B.C.  Chinese Drama began as early as 2000 B.C.  Japanese Drama began in 6 th century but was formalized in 14 th century A.D.

8 Hindu Drama 500 B.C. - present  Golden Age of Hindu Drama B.C.  Reflected caste system – people are classified by heredity –Placed in caste when born and could not change occupations.  No violent or improper actions permitted (including kissing, yawning, or sleeping)  No mention of calamities like plague or war.

9 Hindu Theatre  96 feet x 48 feet  Divided equally into stage and auditorium  4 pillars, each with a different color –Indicated where different castes could sit.  Curtain or door divided stage in 2 parts, one for acting and one for dressing rooms  Formal scenery was not used

10 Actors  Actors relied on elaborate costumes  Used –Dance –Symbolic gestures –Music Also relied on fixed characters: –Clown –Narrator

11 Language  Plays were written and performed in Sanskrit  A language of higher castes  Lower people spoke a hybrid of Sanskrit and local dialect  Dramas were mostly for nobility, since lower castes couldn’t understand them.

12 Indian Epic Literature  Most plays were based on early Indian epics  These epics were well-known to royals

13 Famous Indian Playwrights  Bhasa  Kalidasa

14 Bhasa  Most productive playwright  Wrote in 4 th century A.D.  13 plays survive  “Father of Hindu Drama”

15 Kalidasa  A.D  Wrote Shakuntala, masterpiece of Indian drama  Subtitled as “The Fatal Ring,” or “The Recovered Ring”  Wrote in lyric poetry

16 Shakuntala  Story elements include: a secret marriage, forgetfulness caused by a curse, and a magic ring.  Also included ideas from Indian philosophy, religion, and psychology.  Serious and comic elements  Performed today in play, opera, and ballet form.

17 Misc. Hindu information  May have been the first culture to permit women to act onstage  Used mime elements with dance  Hindu drama always ended happily

18 Chinese Theater 2000 B.C. - present video

19 Early Chinese Theater  Dates back to 2000 B.C., interpretive dancing became dramatic.  Put on during ancestor worship and military celebrations.  Not as a form of entertainment  Audience included only the emperor, priests, and high court.  Classical Language style

20 Ideal Chinese Drama  Every play has a moral  Some short (30 minutes) others broken into acts which may not be the same story  Singing actor (similar to Greek chorus)

21 Subjects  Historical and contemporary  Rarely about love (marriages were arranged) but sometimes about faithfulness to husband  Comedies  Emperors who “save the day”  Frequent scenes of violence, suicide, and torture.  Good actor can accurately portray torture  No matter all the violence, always end happily

22 Theatre and Costumes  Little scenery  No curtain  Costly, gorgeous costumes  Heavy make-up

23 Actors  Not considered high in society  Women forbidden until 18 th century  56 actors in a troupe  All actors must know plays—no prompter

24 Famous Plays  Little Orphan in the House of Tchao –Brought to France in 1735 –Translated by Voltaire  The Sorrows of Han  The Story of the Magic Lute –14 th century

25 Props  Symbolic props: –White paper from red umbrella = snow –Man with whip = riding on horseback –Actor with flag = army –Flag with wavy lines = river

26 Colors  Every actor wore colors that signified a meaning –Red = faithfulness –Blue = cruelty –White = evil –Black = worn by prop man to remain “invisible”

27 Propaganda Period  Communists took over China after WWII  After 1949, the government rewrote many of the well-known classical plays to preach government policy

28 Japanese Drama

29 Early Japanese Drama  Earliest records from Heian period ( )  Court entertainments  Juggling, skits, dancing  Very few details and proof of theatre before this time.

30 Nō or Noh Drama  Emerged in 14 th century  Formal and classical  Musical Drama  Short, philosophical studies with poetry, dance, and music  Series of sedate postures to express an attitude.

31 Noh Theater  Wooden stage (18 ft. square)  Audience sits on 3 sides  Pointed roof over stage with 4 pillars  Polished floor with jars underneath for good sound.

32 Actors  Actors enter from green room through a bridge (a narrow corridor).  Each character bows as he enters  Announces –name –origin –purpose  Chorus (6-8 men) sits at left and provides chanting background music.

33 Actors cont.  1500 professional Noh actors today  Begin at age 3 and study throughout their life  Mostly men although a few women whose fathers are professional Noh actors have begun to perform

34 Scenery and Props  Single tree tapestry hanging on back wall.  Common props: fan, boat, altar, well

35 Noh Costumes  Silk was worn by all characters, no matter what station.  Cut of costume and make-up determined social class.  Major actors wore wooden masks expressing stereotypical expressions.

36 Noh Masks

37 Noh Plays  Characters based on literary or historical figures already familiar to the audience  Traditionally an all day experience. Now, one Noh play, followed by a short Kyogen play, ending with another Noh  250 plays

38 Kyogen  Comic interlude during Noh plays to break from depressing tones.  Farce comedies without music and no masks.  Usually included a summary of Act 1  Video-Short Noh with Kyogen Video-Short Noh with Kyogen

39 Kabuki  The common man’s drama  Began in 1600  Became a form of theater by  Women banned from acting in it because of sexual advances.  Men promoted the theater.  More melodramatic and sensational than Noh theater—often rowdy  Many different subjects

40 Kabuki Theater  Wide platform  Characters enter from “flowerway,” a ramp from the back of the auditorium  Trap door on floor for dramatic entrances and exits  Revolving stages and the trap door have been borrowed from Western influence in recent years.  Extravagant scenery

41 Kabuki Costumes  Elaborate silk costumes  Thick, detailed make-up is used  Wigs denote station, personality, and age.  Wigs may weigh up to 25 pounds.  video video

42 Japanese Acting  Mostly men  Life-long study  Symbolic, artificial, rhythmical  Every movement has a meaning


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