2Asian/Eastern Theatre As the world’s largest continent, there are 1,000’s of identified theatre forms.Asian drama is almost never just spokenChantedDancedMimedSung
3Asian/Eastern Theatre Asian drama that is just spoken is considered influenced by the WestImagery, rhyme, and alliteration are as important as dialogue and logic is in Western DramaMore visualReading plays not seeing them is an odd past time to the culture
5Becoming an Actor Train through an intense apprentice system Most are born or adopted into their tradeTrain from early childhood through early middle age
6Today Western influence is evident However, its near-universal consonance with folk history, ancient religions, and cultural myths is remarkable
7Timeline Hindu (Theatre of India) began 500 B.C. Chinese Drama began as early as 2000 B.C.Japanese Drama began in 6th century but was formalized in 14th century A.D.
8Hindu Drama 500 B.C. - present Golden Age of Hindu Drama B.C.Reflected caste system – people are classified by heredityPlaced 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.
9Hindu Theatre 96 feet x 48 feet Divided equally into stage and auditorium4 pillars, each with a different colorIndicated where different castes could sit.Curtain or door divided stage in 2 parts, one for acting and one for dressing roomsFormal scenery was not used
10Actors Actors relied on elaborate costumes Used Dance Symbolic gesturesMusicAlso relied on fixed characters:ClownNarrator
11Language Plays were written and performed in Sanskrit A language of higher castesLower people spoke a hybrid of Sanskrit and local dialectDramas were mostly for nobility, since lower castes couldn’t understand them.
12Indian Epic Literature Most plays were based on early Indian epicsThese epics were well-known to royals
14Bhasa Most productive playwright Wrote in 4th century A.D. 13 plays survive“Father of Hindu Drama”
15Kalidasa A.D. 373-415 Wrote Shakuntala, masterpiece of Indian drama Subtitled as “The Fatal Ring,” or “The Recovered Ring”Wrote in lyric poetry
16ShakuntalaStory 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 elementsPerformed today in play, opera, and ballet form.
17Misc. Hindu information May have been the first culture to permit women to act onstageUsed mime elements with danceHindu drama always ended happily
19Early Chinese TheaterDates back to 2000 B.C., interpretive dancing became dramatic.Put on during ancestor worship and military celebrations.Not as a form of entertainmentAudience included only the emperor, priests, and high court.Classical Language style
20Ideal Chinese Drama Every play has a moral Some short (30 minutes) others broken into acts which may not be the same storySinging actor (similar to Greek chorus)
21Subjects Historical and contemporary Rarely about love (marriages were arranged) but sometimes about faithfulness to husbandComediesEmperors who “save the day”Frequent scenes of violence, suicide, and torture.Good actor can accurately portray tortureNo matter all the violence, always end happily
22Theatre and Costumes Little scenery No curtain Costly, gorgeous costumesHeavy make-up
23Actors Not considered high in society Women forbidden until 18th century56 actors in a troupeAll actors must know plays—no prompter
24Famous Plays Little Orphan in the House of Tchao The Sorrows of Han Brought to France in 1735Translated by VoltaireThe Sorrows of HanThe Story of the Magic Lute14th century
25Props Symbolic props: White paper from red umbrella = snow Man with whip = riding on horsebackActor with flag = armyFlag with wavy lines = river
26Colors Every actor wore colors that signified a meaning Red = faithfulnessBlue = crueltyWhite = evilBlack = worn by prop man to remain “invisible”
27Propaganda Period Communists took over China after WWII After 1949, the government rewrote many of the well-known classical plays to preach government policy
29Early Japanese Drama Earliest records from Heian period (794-1185) Court entertainmentsJuggling, skits, dancingVery few details and proof of theatre before this time.
30Nō or Noh Drama Emerged in 14th century Formal and classical Musical DramaShort, philosophical studies with poetry, dance, and musicSeries of sedate postures to express an attitude.
31Noh Theater Wooden stage (18 ft. square) Audience sits on 3 sides Pointed roof over stage with 4 pillarsPolished floor with jars underneath for good sound.
32ActorsActors enter from green room through a bridge (a narrow corridor).Each character bows as he entersAnnouncesnameoriginpurposeChorus (6-8 men) sits at left and provides chanting background music.
33Actors cont. 1500 professional Noh actors today Begin at age 3 and study throughout their lifeMostly men although a few women whose fathers are professional Noh actors have begun to perform
34Scenery and Props Single tree tapestry hanging on back wall. Common props: fan, boat, altar, well
35Noh 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.
37Noh PlaysCharacters based on literary or historical figures already familiar to the audienceTraditionally an all day experience. Now, one Noh play, followed by a short Kyogen play, ending with another Noh250 plays
38KyogenComic interlude during Noh plays to break from depressing tones.Farce comedies without music and no masks.Usually included a summary of Act 1Video-Short Noh with Kyogen
39Kabuki 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 rowdyMany different subjects
40Kabuki Theater Wide platform Characters enter from “flowerway,” a ramp from the back of the auditoriumTrap door on floor for dramatic entrances and exitsRevolving stages and the trap door have been borrowed from Western influence in recent years.Extravagant scenery
41Kabuki Costumes Elaborate silk costumes Thick, detailed make-up is usedWigs denote station, personality, and age.Wigs may weigh up to 25 pounds.video
42Japanese Acting Mostly men Life-long study Symbolic, artificial, rhythmicalEvery movement has a meaning