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:
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 is almost never just spoken –Chanted –Danced –Mimed –Sung
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
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
Today Western influence is evident However, its near-universal consonance with folk history, ancient religions, and cultural myths is remarkable
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.
Hindu Drama 500 B.C. - present Golden Age of Hindu Drama 500-300 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.
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
Actors Actors relied on elaborate costumes Used –Dance –Symbolic gestures –Music Also relied on fixed characters: –Clown –Narrator
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.
Indian Epic Literature Most plays were based on early Indian epics These epics were well-known to royals
Famous Indian Playwrights Bhasa Kalidasa
Bhasa Most productive playwright Wrote in 4 th century A.D. 13 plays survive “Father of Hindu Drama”
Kalidasa A.D. 373-415 Wrote Shakuntala, masterpiece of Indian drama Subtitled as “The Fatal Ring,” or “The Recovered Ring” Wrote in lyric poetry
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.
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
Chinese Theater 2000 B.C. - present video
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
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)
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
Theatre and Costumes Little scenery No curtain Costly, gorgeous costumes Heavy make-up
Actors Not considered high in society Women forbidden until 18 th century 56 actors in a troupe All actors must know 100-200 plays—no prompter
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
Props Symbolic props: –White paper from red umbrella = snow –Man with whip = riding on horseback –Actor with flag = army –Flag with wavy lines = river
Colors Every actor wore colors that signified a meaning –Red = faithfulness –Blue = cruelty –White = evil –Black = worn by prop man to remain “invisible”
Propaganda Period Communists took over China after WWII After 1949, the government rewrote many of the well-known classical plays to preach government policy
Early Japanese Drama Earliest records from Heian period (794-1185) Court entertainments Juggling, skits, dancing Very few details and proof of theatre before this time.
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.
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.
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.
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
Scenery and Props Single tree tapestry hanging on back wall. Common props: fan, boat, altar, well
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.
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
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
Kabuki The common man’s drama Began in 1600 Became a form of theater by 1616. 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
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
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
Japanese Acting Mostly men Life-long study Symbolic, artificial, rhythmical Every movement has a meaning