•‘Southern’ Drama – Originated around Hangchow
•‘Northern’ Drama – Peking (Yuan Period)
•Peking Opera – The dominant Theatrical form of
Yuan dramatists drew their stories from history,
legend, novels, epics and contemporary events.
Characters ranged through the entire spectrum of
Although important roles were those of emperors,
scholars or students, govt officials, generals, rebels,
wives, daughters, or concubines.
The plays advocated the virtues of:
Loyalty to family and friends
Devotion to work and duty
Most popular of Yuan dramas is Romance of the
Western Chamber by Wang Shih-fu.
From the southern Yuan dramas, best known is Lute
song, admired by founder of The Ming Dynasty.
His patronage increased the prestige of the
southern drama and helped to make it the
Southern drama must be admired for the resiliency
that permitted it to survive for some 500 years.
Even after 1853, its theatrical traditions and texts
were to influence its successor, the Peking Opera.
Peking Opera was primarily a theatrical rather than a
It emphasized upon acting, dancing, and singing rather
than only text.
Instead of a single work, an evening’s program is usually
made up of a series of short pieces.
Many of them were acts or portions of longer works
(including traditional southern or northern plays),
intermingled with acrobatic displays.
There are no intermissions and scenes are arranged to
ensure that the best actors are saved for the final
Earliest stages were probably porches of temples
(influence of temple stage still seen today).
Permanent properties on stage – chairs and table.
Simplicity allowed rapid change of place.
17th cy – Actors performed in tea houses, while customers
were seated at tables. (temporary)
Once permanent theatres emerged, they retained this
The theatre had different sections for different classes.
For eg. A balcony divided into sections, in some periods
used for the wealthy class and in others it was reserved
4 major forms of traditional Japanese
First great Japanese Theatrical form which
blossomed in the late 14th Century.
First known as sarugaka – no
Zeami – Greatest Noh dramatist
Culminates in a Dance, and Dialogue and
Song preceed to outlined circumstances
Actors lines / Narration – Chorus
› Ordinary speech used to summarise between
Kamimono (Plays praising Gods)
Shuramono (Plays about warriors)
Kajuramono (Plays about women)
Kuruimono (Mad persons or spirits)
Kirinomono (Demons, devils or other
No of Roles: Very small, all performers are
› Rich in colour and design, based on official
dress. Never gaudy
› Silk decorated with elaborate embroidery
- "mad words" or "wild speech”
(Japanese Puppet Theatre)
Known as Ningyo Shibai
Evolved during 17th century, reached height
of popularilty in 18th century.
Dolls constantly changing
The voice and the music
Classical Japanese dance-drama
› stylization of its drama
› elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers
History and Transition
› Female kabuki
› Transition to yarō-kabuki
› The Saruwaka-chō kabuki
Stage - Hanamichi
South East Asian theatre is allied to that of India
because its heritage of Hinduism, Hindu epics and
South East Asian drama consists of folk drama,
operetta, spoken drama, pantomime, improvised
plays ,shadow puppet play, doll puppet plays and
Western-style of drama.
The most distinctive form of Asian drama is the
Shadow Play which is widely performed in
Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand
It is also known as Wayang Kulit in Indonesia.
South East Asian theatre is indigenous in nature.
Between the 13th and 17th centuries the
Indonesian and Malaysian shadow puppets
involved in their present size.
Paintings were usually flat and not in 3-D.
The stage is enclosed by flats painted with
a distant view.
Many scenic pieces were used.
Women were allowed to participate in
Theatre after the end of Japan’s isolation
In the 1880s, the western style of drama was
introduced in Asia.
It reached its peak in 1904 and 1909, and then
An attempt to promote western drama began with
the formation of the Free Theatre Society with
staged plays by Shakespeare and other famous
However, despite all trends towards westernization,
the traditional forms of Asian theatre such as Noh (
doll theatre) and Kabuki are most popular in Japan
Every oriental country has its own
dramatic traditions, often quite diverse
and highly developed.
Korea’s theatrical forms are related to
Chinese and Japanese modes.
They had their own distinct
Ritualistic performances in Korea can be
Korea produced various
types of dance-drama, puppet shows
and after 1908, a western-style drama.
of the most interesting of Korea's
theatrical use of many different kind
variations are numerous indeed.
All dramas are performed on open stage
for the drama play.
Music continues all night in the lights of
b)traditional dance (temple dancers)15th