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Modern Asian Theatre - Research Paper Example

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This paper aims to explore the nature of modern Indonesian theatre by taking a close look at its relation to the nation’s rich socio-political background. Specifically, it intends to display the ideological nexus between the historical development of a ‘national theatre’…
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Modern Asian Theatre
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Download file to see previous pages In this regard, this paper will be divided into three parts. The first part will provide a brief review on what theatre is and its basic foundations, as well as describe the common characteristics of Asian theatre. The second part will zero in on Indonesian theatre and its tight connection with the country’s socio-political history. The last part will present a conclusion that justifies the paper’s thesis—that modern Indonesian theatre is a strong reflection of the birth and growth of a nation.
Theatre, unlike painting and sculpture, can be regarded as a unique art form for it consists of actors that perform in real time before a live audience. Although it is difficult to trace the exact origin of theatre, most scholars and historians agree that the first known dramatic presentation happened in Africa, possibly as early as 3300 B.C.
The basic foundations of dramatic presentations are anchored on the culture and tradition of people. As such, theatre is comprised of two essential elements—ritual and storytelling (Cohen 222). A ritual is a collective ceremony performed by members of society for religious and cultural reasons. Ethnic plays are usually filled with activities that aim at impressing or advocating a specific belief over its intended audience (like the killing of an animal to worship a god or dancing uninhibitedly to celebrate an important occasion). Storytelling as a key component of theatre, on the other hand, necessitates an audience to artistically relay a significant message. Because of this, storytelling plays often generate character impersonation and utilize a more coherent narrative.
Asian theatre, unlike Western ones that put premium on the clear narration of a story, is more sensual and melodic. Thus, it is claimed that there are five common characteristics of Asian theatre (whether it be an Indian Sanskrit drama, a Chinese Xiqu or a Japanese Kabuki):
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