THE-2000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Bertolt Brecht, Noh, David Henry Hwang

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17 Sep 2018
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Asian Theatre
How is it different?
India
China
Japan
Facts on Asia
Largest continent (29% Earths landmass)
Asia has the highest population of any continent 4 billion, 60% of Earths pop
Over 40 countries, including Russia
Parts belonged to the Persian Empire
Performance Traditions
Western
Dialogue and speech expect to be told what’s happening, what characters are feeling and the like
Linear plots something we can follow, chronological
Creates reality more rigid suspension of disbelief, how far that goes
Creates realistic illusions not entirely symbolic illusions
Uses scenery and settings something close to real life
Eastern
Gesture, sound, rhythm less dialogue, small differences in gestures can make a big difference
Non-linear events do not happen in linear way, may skip around in time or even in cause and effect
Transcends reality no desire to make reality happen on stage since it happens all the time, theatre
takes us away from that
Abandons illusion no want to create illusion
Uses platforms and Spaces may see many levels, or big open space that allows lots of movement,
much like English plays back in the day
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Indian theatre
Mahabharata (c. 250) a text very similar to Odyssey, longest epic poem in the world, used largely as a
source of inspiration for Indian playwrights
Bharata (4th century) Thereotician and practitioner
Natyasatra = “Science of Theatre parallels Aristotles Poetics. Aristotle was basing work on
performances and see where things were, what was important. Natyasastra supposedly passed down to
Bharata from the Heavens. Describes theatre as a noble thing to distract people from troubling
pleasures of the flesh
And 100 sons trained as the first actors. Spread across the county to spread the good news of
theatre
Function of theatre
Religion all based in religion, to keep them out of trouble, many places where theatre was
performed had to be blessed
Educate and Entertain
Bharata’s idea
Rasa = emotional “Flavor” all plays have hints of each, just in different amounts.
Erotic
Comic
Furious
Heroic
Terrible
Odious
Marvelous
Tranquility
First performance
Brahma vs. the Demons all encompassing figures on stage, good and evil. Brahma summons all the
demons, goes on a speech of how no one can be rejected out of the theatre, it must accept everyone
Not about physically fighting and defeating the demons, rather shows their transformations into higher
beings with Brahma’s wisdom. That’s what Indian theatre is about
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