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Lecture 1

THAR 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Village Theatre, Sympathetic Magic, Strong Interaction

Theatre Arts
Course Code
THAR 201
Anne Quackenbush

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Thar 201
August 1, 2016
Early Theatre in Africa
Storytelling performances both ancient and contemporary
o Narrator (take on character), healer (improvise a story with song and dance)
o Masks and costume pieces to emphasize
o See narrator character in contemporary
Simple enactments
o Hunting dances are functional (gearing everyone up for the hunt) and spiritual
(regarding to power of the natural world)
Ritualized enactments basic form of theater with helping
o Social, spiritual, functional
o Ex: a women teaches how to cook as a ritual for other women to enter
o Sympathetic magic
o Performative, ritualized
Spirit cult performances close to shamanism
o Require a median go into a trance and assume a character
o Usually speak in a spirit laguage others a’t uderstad
o Gestures people oied that other harater is preset
o Strong interaction b/t performer and people watching
o Popular in Uganda
o Drinking, dancing, dialogue
o Practices brought to America during slave trade; also in Brazil (healing ceremony)
o 4 identifiable spirits: old slave (injustice), wild man/native (contacting and connecting
with pre-Columbian period), female/temptress (spirit of fertility and pleasure), trickster
o Secret ceremonies to honor the dead
o Represented by very large masks, over exaggerated costumes, and vigorous dancing
o Narrative that holds them together
Ceremonial performances something theatrical to accompany a ceremony
o “igig, druig, daig, or eatets…. goig alogside a ereoy
o Smaller narrative to help illustrate to explain why ceremony is important
Coedies resemble a play today
o Could’e eoled fro ay other fors aoe, ut as it eae ore itrigue, became
its own category
o Dialogue, can be accompanied by music (singing), men frequently play female roles
(mostly men, sometime women), day to day aspect of village life (funny to them)
o “tok haraters poppig up idiidually eeryhere, ad it’s the same
See it throughout periods of time
In terms of entertainment, see stock characters in animated comedies (ex:
family guy)
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