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Theatre Traditions: East and West

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1 Theatre Traditions: East and West
Chapter 7 Cohen, THEATRE (Brief edition)

2 Theatre exists in the present, but is deeply rooted in its past

3 Many plays seen today are revivals…

4 Contemporary theatre artists are compared to their predecessors

5 Some ancient plays adapt to modern times

6 Many of the world’s great plays are closely based upon preceding ones

7 One theory suggests that the origins of theatre are in tribal groups, dating as far back as 6000 years…

8 Another theatre suggests that theatre evolved from rituals that can be seen as collective ceremonies…


10 Storytelling requires an audience

11 Storytelling involves character impersonation

12 In Animism SHAMANS are guides to the spiritual world

13 Mediums are examples of spiritual guides like Shamans

14 The Sri Lankan sanniyakuma

15 A Bundu Devil Dancer

16 Traditional theatre and drama seems to have its earliest expressions in Ancient Egypt

17 Abydos Passion Play is likely the first known drama in Egypt.

18 It was associated with the rites of burial.

19 Egyptian ceremonies and rites date as far back as 2500 BC
The Abydos procession to the Nile was not unlike a modern parade

20 Other rites appeared in Babylonia and other locations in the Middle East but did not flourish.

21 The next wave of development occurred in Attica (Greece).

22 5th Century Athens stands as one of the great ages of theatre

23 Attic rites developed both tragedy and comedy

24 Evidence exists in mosaics and vases from the period
A dithyrambic chorus

25 Attic rites honored the God of fertility, harvest and wine

26 City Dionysia held in Athens in theatre at base of Acropolis

27 Model of Theatre Dionysia

28 Artists reconstruction of Greek Theatre at its height


30 Components of Greek drama
Performed for special occasion to celebrate the seasons or some important civic event It was competitive. Prizes were awarded. They featured CHORAL singing and dancing…the chorus was comprised of from 3 to 50 members. The plays were based upon familiar stories and myths.

Comedy and tragedy were the most popular types of plays in ancient Greece. Hence the modern popularity of the comedy and tragedy masks to symbolize theatre.

32 Aeschylus 524 – 456 BC The Persians Seven Against Thebes
The Suppliants The Oresteia Agamemnon The Libation Bearers The Eumenides Prometheus Bound

33 Sophocles ( BC) Oedipus Rex and Antigone

34 Euripides BC Alcestis Electra The Bacchae Trojan Women

35 Greek masks and musicians

36 Greek masks and chorus

37 Greek Comedy

38 Aristophanes ( BC) The Birds (pictured), The Clouds, Lysistrata

39 The satyr play

40 Theatre at Epidaurus


42 Greek costumes

43 Onkos Himation, Chlamys kothurnoi

44 A Greek Chorus

45 Greek drama introduced...
Tragedy and comedy Conventions in costume The third actor Skene (elevated stage) Choral singing Stock characters Trilogy Satyr (parody)

46 Roman Drama Terence Plautus

47 Roman Theatre

48 Roman theatre in Syria

49 Medieval Drama After the fall of Rome, theatrical activity in the West was brought to an end. It re-emerged in the 10th century with QUEM QUERITAS

50 By 1250, Bible-based dramas (Mystery Plays) were common in Europe

51 Mystery cycles were staged by guilds in European cities
York Wakefield

52 Pagaent wagons Logo for York Mystery Play today

53 Valenciennes Mansion Stage

54 Morality plays

55 Renaissance Drama 16th century Commedia dell’Arte troupe

56 Plautus and Seneca were first translated in the 1470s
Agamemnon Hercules Medea Phaedra Phoenician Women (4BC-65AD)

57 The Elizabethan Age (1558-1603)

58 Theatre’s golden age Christopher Marlowe Ben Jonson John Webster
William Shakespeare ( )

59 Shakespeare’s first folio-1623

60 The Plays of William Shakespeare Sir John Gilbert - 1849

61 The King’s Men William Kemp

62 Richard Burbage

63 Elizabethan Playhouse

64 A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Theatre

65 Globe Theatre

66 Globe Theatre (exterior)

67 Interior

68 Shakespeare Festival Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon

69 The Royal Theatre In Spain, there was Pedro Calderon at the
court of Philip IV

70 Louis XIV in France  Moliere at court Pierre Corneille Jean Racine

71 In England, The Restoration

72 The Royal Theatres of Europe defined the Neoclassical age
Theories of drama were adapted from Aristotle Development of neoclassical ideal of “reasonableness” Onstage violence eliminated Strict unity of style and genre Theatres were moved indoors to encourage new stagecraft

73 The classical unities TIME PLACE ACTION

74 Corneille’s LE CID

75 Moliere’s TARTUFFE

76 Congreve’s THE WAY OF THE WORLD

77 After Neoclassicism came the Romantic Era
A rebellion against Neoclassicism and its rigidity and decorum The dominant form of the 18th and 19th centuries Celebrated the exotic and grotesque and emphasized the individual over society Focused on compassion rather than style Gave rise to the form of melodrama

78 Major authors of the romantic age
In Germany Johan Wolfgang von Goethe Friedrich von Schiller In France Victor Hugo

79 Cyrano de Bergerac (1897)

80 Theatre in the East is rich and diverse
ASIAN Theatre is never just spoken, but danced, chanted, mimed and sung Dramatic language is rhythmic and melodic and sound has multiple meanings Eastern forms of theatre are more visual and sensual than literary or intellectual

81 There is a strong emphasis upon storytelling, but is not tightly plotted It has a rich and long heritage, literally hundreds and thousands of years Asian theatre forms are highly stylized Actors train in traditional forms through an intense apprentice system Asian theatre is deeply traditional with significant connections to folk history, ancient religions and cultural myths

82 Indian Sanskrit Drama Dates from 200 BC. Performed indoors. Natyasastra (treatise on theatre) dates from around 100 a.d.

83 Indian Kathakali (story play)

84 Chinese Xiqu (tuneful theatre) often referred to as Chinese Opera

85 The Monkey King

86 Scale and spectacle in Xiqu

87 Japanese Noh

88 Noh theatre groundplan

89 Noh masks

90 NOH masks change identity in light and shadow

91 Kabuki Theatre ka (song) – bu (dance) – ki (skill)

92 Two major forms – history plays and domestic plays

93 Modern kabuki actors are descended from 11 families dating to the beginnings of the form.
Sakata Tojuro Tojuro playing the courtesan Ohatsu opposite his son Nakamura Kanjaku as her lover Tokubei in "Sonezaki Shinju"

94 The Lion Dance

95 "Yoshitsune Senbonzakura (Yoshitsune and 1,000 Cherry Trees)"
1851 2008

96 Chikamatsu (1653-1725)was the greatest Japanese dramatist

97 Chikamatsu also wrote for Bunraku

98 Theatrical Tradition: East & West
COHEN identifies twelve great theatre traditions Greek Roman Medieval Renaissance Royal (Neoclassical) Romantic Sanskrit Kathakali Xiqu Noh Kabuki Bunraku All of these traditions influenced THE MODERN THEATRE

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