Asian and African Theatre

By swolfer
  • 930

    Wayang Kulit

    Wayang Kulit
    Wayang Kulit is Indonesian shadow puppetry that performs dramas based on Hindi epics (Brockett et al. 316). Dalangs use a variety of flat, intricate, and leather-made puppets to perform the drama (Brockett et al. 316). In the beginning, Wayang Kulit "served as an early form of entertainment and a guide for how to live one's life" (Beatch 13). Wayang Kulit is still significant today because it facilitates an atmosphere for traditional Indonesian theatre (Brockett et al. 316).
  • 1375

    Noh Theatre

    Noh Theatre
    Noh Theatre is a traditional Japanese theatrical form that is still significant today. Noh theatre dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries; however, it was revolutionized by Zeami Motokiyo in 1375 (Brockett et al. 304). Performances of Noh Theatre are meant to "suggest the essence of their tale" through movement/dance, sung dialogue, and instrumental music (Noh Theatre). All Noh performances are categorized into five types of plays: God, Warrior, Women, Madness, Demon (Brockett et al. 304).
  • The Peony Pavilion

    The Peony Pavilion
    The Peony Pavilion was written by Tang Xianzu in 1598. The Peony Pavilion is extremely complex; it is fifty-five acts long and when performed in its entirety takes twenty-two hours (Lunden). The opera follows a woman through her life as she pines away for a man she has only met in her dreams (Brockett et al. 313). Xianzu depicts a "love story that transcends time and space" (Lunden). The Peony Pavilion is one of the oldest and most famous pieces of Chinese opera (Lunden).
  • Bunraku Theatre

    Bunraku Theatre
    Bunraku Theatre is one of the three traditional Japanese theatrical forms; it is performed using puppets (Bunraku). The movements of the puppets are accompanied by spoken dialogue from a narrator and instrumental music (Brockett et al. 309). When Bunraku originated, the puppets were very basic. Now, the puppets are three to four feet tall and elaborate. The puppets are operated by three people: one for the right arm and head, one for the left arm, and one for the feet (Brockett et al. 309).
  • Kabuki Theatre

    Kabuki Theatre
    Kabuki Theatre is a traditional Japanese theatrical form that is noted as the most popular form of traditional Japanese theatre today (Brockett et al. 309). Similar to Noh Theatre, Kabuki is performed on a stage with human actors. However, Kabuki performances have elaborate scenery. (Brockett et al. 309). Acting in Kabuki Theatre "is a combination of stylized speaking and dancing" (Brockett et al. 310). The theatre techniques used in Kabuki are significant because they have transcended time.
  • Chikamatsu Monzaemon

    Chikamatsu Monzaemon
    Chikamatsu Monzaemon was a major playwright for both Bunraku and Kabuki (Brockett et al. 309). With more than 100 plays accredited to him, he was known for his "five-act history plays and his three-act plays on contemporary life" (Brockett et al. 309). Most of his plays contain characters that were common in the area in which he resided. An example is the double suicide of lovers (Chikamatsu Monzaemon). Monzaemon is often considered the greatest playwright from Japan (Brockett et al. 309).
  • Athol Fugard

    Athol Fugard
    Athol Fugard is the most famous South African playwright (Brockett et al. 322). Athol's life experiences and the society around him influenced much of his works of art. Fugard is most well known for his play Master Harold and the Boys. The central theme of Master Harold and the Boys is injustice based on race, while also illustrating what was systematically taught to society. Fugard was awarded a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre in 2011 (Athol Fugard).
  • Wole Soyinka

    Wole Soyinka
    Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian-born, playwright, and author. Most of Soyinka's works are inspired by the Yoruba tribe and all of their traditions/rituals (Wole Soyinka). In 1986, Soyinka became the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (Wole Soyinka). Soyinka is the playwright of The Strong Breed, which was a revolutionary piece of work for exposure to African culture. Due to his great success and devoted life, Soyinka is the most dominant Nigerian playwright (Brockett et al. 319).
  • Tadashi Suzuki

    Tadashi Suzuki
    Tadashi Suzuki is a Japanese director that revolutionized a new acting method that combines "martial arts, Kabuki, and Noh techniques" (Brockett et al. 313). Suzuki is known for being the most well-known contemporary director from Japan. The Suzuki Company and the Togo Festival were created by Suzuki (Suzuki Tadashi). Suzuki has altered the theatre atmosphere worldwide with his innovative acting method and ideas on destroying cultural and national barriers within the art form (Suzuki Tadashi).
  • The Market Theatre

    The Market Theatre
    The Market Theatre was established in 1976 by Barney Simon and Mannie Manim (History). During this time period, South Africa was experiencing the terrors of an apartheid government. The stage at Market Theatre became known for challenging the racist ideology of the government through anti-apartheid performances and interracial casts (Brockett et al. 323). Today, Market Theatre still encourages artists to create works that challenge the society that we live in (History).