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Advanced Theatre II: World Theatre

explores historical, theoretical and skill-centered approaches to theatre practices from around the world.

In this course, students will explore selected aspects of performance forms, traditions and styles from Asia, India and Greece. Students will be introduced to elements of theatre, dance-drama, masks, music and dance within different cultural environments. Students will be involved in devising, researching, creating and performing projects that reflect the influences and styles of performance worldwide.

WORLD THEATRE DAY: March 27th, 2013

Advanced Theatre II: World Theatre - Spring 2013 Syllabus

Teacher: Erica Cali
Classroom: HB 113

Materials Required for Class

Pen and pencil
Set of colored pencils/markers
2 Highlighters (different colors)
Folder or binder for handouts.

Semester Outline

WEEKS 1 - 3: Intro to World Theatre and Practices/Ensemble building/Physical Theatre

WEEKS 4 - 7: Theatre of India: Kathakali

WEEKS 7 - 10: Theatre of Japan: Kabuki and Bunraku

WEEKS 11 - 14: Greek Theatre: Mask work, and Antigone

WEEKS 15 - 17: Final exam prep.

Course Expectations

-Be on time for class
-Arrive ready to work- no sleeping on the couches when the bell rings!
-Be prepared, have all required materials ready, and Macbooks fully charged.
-Complete all assigned homework
-Listen carefully and follow instructions
-Respect: Yourself, others, the classroom, equipment, and teacher
-Wear comfortable clothing (i.e. sneakers, no short skirts) If your footwear or clothing is not conducive to the work in the classroom, you will be asked to remove your shoes or change into P.E. clothes.
-On performance days, be prepared to perform for an audience

Grading for this course will be based on the following:

Daily Participation Work 25%
Quizzes, Assignments and Homework 20%
Performances 40%
Final 15%

Students will be given 1 to 10 points each day toward their Participation grade, based on the following criteria. (Excused absences will not be calculated into this grade.)

10-9 points : Student works exceptionally well as a part of a group demonstrating an awareness of
others. Student participates fully offering suggestions and ideas. Student listens very
carefully to others’ ideas with sensitivity and never seeks to dominate.

8 points: Student works very well as a part of a group demonstrating an awareness of others.
Student offers suggestions and ideas but also listens to others’ ideas with sensitivity and
never seems to dominate.

7-6 points: Student sometimes works well as part of a group. Student sometimes offers suggestions
and ideas.

5-4 points: Student finds it difficult to work as part of a group. Student rarely offers suggestions
and ideas/ dominates the discussion and does not listen to others.

4-3 points: Student finds it difficult to work as part of a group. Or is unprepared for class (i.e.
without appropriate materials).

3 points: Student does not participate. Or is unprepared for class (i.e. without appropriate

2 -0 points: Student is actively disruptive to the learning process.

Turning in written work
Written work will be posted on the wiki or turned in as a hard copy at the beginning of the class on the stated due date. Written work will be submitted via student wiki page.

Late work policy
Late work be marked down 10% each class it is late. After three classes, it will remain a 0 in PowerSchool.

Theatre Performances
Students are required to attend KIS evening theatre performances (i.e. the high school play).

Homework Assignments
Homework assignments will be posted on the wiki and on PowerSchool. Please email me at any time with any questions about assignments.









Sung Joon


Ji Soo






What if...Devised Theatre Moved Mainstream?? (an article by Rachel Chavkin)

For this project, due to its amorphous nature, we will attempt to follow the steps below, just to make sure that we can begin to create some sort of structure. You've now seen how a few physical theatre companies begin to develop their pieces, so now it's your turn to try it out.

1) You and your team must choose which of the given stimuli you will be using to create your piece. Please try to make sure this is as unanimous as possible so that everyone is on board. This may require much discussion, but that's ok. Often, this is where ideas and images for the piece begin to be generated.

2) Now that you've chosen, please go and write your own, personal, unique response to the stimulus. This response can be in poetry or prose, but must be recorded in your class journal (links are above).

3) Return to your group and discuss your responses. Everyone must be given enough time to be heard. You may read your written response in its entirety, or you may select only those lines you feel would lend themselves well to being physicalized. It's your choice what you'd like to share with your group.

4) Once everyone in your group has shared, the group will start to discuss their reactions as a whole and favorite images from each person's written work. Make sure to choose a group secretary for this step, so that the group's ideas and suggestions are recorded.

5) Get on your feet. Which images or responses can you start to physicalize? How can you represent those ideas or images physically? You can do this in a number of ways- you can divide up the images/ideas and have each person work on one and then come back to the group and teach the rest of the group what they came up with, or you can just go through all of it together.

6) Refine. Show all of the physical images to the group. What needs fixing/adjustment/refinement?

7) Start piecing the images together. Where might you want to include text (from your responses) to support the physical image? This is where you start to actually look at the piece as a whole.

8) Start to rehearse the images/sections in sequence.

9) Soundtrack your piece. listen to different music, choose a piece that will support (or be in counterpoint to, if that's part of the message) the message you're trying to send. Try rehearsing with the music.

10) Add text to the piece. This can be recorded and added to the music track, or may be spoken live. Divide up the text among your performers.

11) Rehearse & get feedback from an outside eye.

12) Rehearse, record, watch and fix.

13) Rehearse.

14) Perform.


PUSH Physical Theatre Promo

PUSH Dracula Preview

PUSH other clips


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Physical Theatre Project Final Performances:

All four performances are here! Check out them out:


QUESTIONS FROM VIDEO INTRO: (please answer on your class journal page)

1. Historically, why have (and do) Indians go to the Theatre?
2. How do audiences in India treat the actors onstage?




1. Choose your team. You will need actors and musicians.
2. Choose the section of text from the Mahabharata that you will interpret in the Kathakali style.
3. Musicians will write the script from which they will sing.
4. Actors will choose the appropriate hand mudras to represent the text.
5. Actors choose the eye movements, stance and other staging they will use to enact the text.
6. Musicians find or create their instruments.
7. Actors find or create their costumes
8. Team chooses makeup colors (paint) with each color having a specific meaning.

Kathakali: full video intro

Kathakali: shorter video

Examples of eye control

Samples of Indian Theatre- today and yesterday

an example of a Kathakali play

Pictures of 24 Mudras and their meanings

Info about Kathakali characters

Script of Ramayana

Face Paint:

Green: Heroic or Noble Characters
Red: Evil characters
A combination of Green & Red can mean that the character is of noble heritage, but has committed evil deeds
Black: Forest dwellers or uncivilized characters
Yellow: Holy Man or Virtuous Female

MUSIC examples:

The Complete Mahabharata
The Mahabharata

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Carol, Jane, Kate, Jenny, Cindy

Sara, Jerica, Razan, Sam, Yena

Arnold, Jimmy, Andy, Edward



Kathakali Performances:
Jerica, Razan, Yena, Sam, Sara:
Kathakali 1

Edward, Arnold, Andy, Jimmy:
Kathakali #2

Carol, Jane, Jenny, Kate, Cindy:
Kathakali #3


Welcome to Japan! In our next unit, we will be moving farther east, bringing us to Japanese Theatre and in particular, Bunraku puppetry and Kabuki.


What is it?

Bunraku is the traditional puppet theatre of Japan, a high-level stage art of which Japan can be very proud. Bunraku was originally the name of the theatre in which this puppet drama was performed, but gradually it came to be used as the name of the art itself and is today used as the official name of the puppet theatre. The art only came to be known as "Bunraku" around the end of the Meiji era (1868-1912); up until that time, the art was known as ayatsuri joruri shibai ("puppet joruri plays") or ningyo joruri, or "puppet narrative drama." Now, joruri is a type of shamisen music, and the name reflects that the puppet plays were performed to a joruri accompaniment. Bunraku's world renown stems not only from its high-quality artistic technique, but also from the high level of its joruri music and the unique nature of manipulating the puppets―each puppet requires three puppeteers to bring it to life. Throughout the world there are a number of types of puppet theatre, and they all treat with simple stories such as myths and legends. There is no other art that requires a whole day for its long, serious drama to unfold. Furthermore, in most of the world's puppet theatres, great pains have been taken to hide the manipulation of the puppeteers from the audience. There are several methods of achieving this: suspending the puppet from strings attached to the ceiling, as with marionettes; placing a hand within the puppet and moving it with the fingers, as with guignol puppets; and casting shadows upon a screen, as with the wayan kulitshadow puppets. But in Bunraku, the manipulators appear openly, in full view of the audience. These two characteristics, which make it completely different from the other puppet theatre traditions around the world, can be said to be the reason that Bunraku is called the most highly developed puppet theatre art in the world. (from

Assignment #1:

Take a tour! Please learn about kabuki through prints on display at the British Museum via the following link:
Kabuki Assignment #1
As you are working through this assignment, please answer the following questions in your class journal:
1. In what ways is Kabuki theatre like Shakespeare? Or, in particular, in what ways is it like Macbeth? Why has Macbeth been adapted into a Kabuki style- why does it lend itself so easily to Kabuki?

2. What specific elements of the Kabuki acting styles did you learn from this assignment?

3. Who are the onnagata?

4. What is one of the acting tips or piece of advice that Sakata Tojuro gives to Kabuki actors?

5. What did Sir Rutherford Alcock say about Kabuki audiences? (one or two points will suffice)

6. What's the most important instrument in Kabuki?

Kabuki Acting Techniques:
Acting techniques

A kabuki stage:

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Kabuki expression in performance:

Bunraku video #1

Bunraku video #2

Kabuki video #1

Kabuki video #2

Kabuki video #3

Kabuki video #4


Grab your popcorn- it's movie time! Watch all 5 of the following clips and figure out how to incorporate more of the Kabuki performance style as well as samurai qualities into your specific role/lines/scenes.

The Way of the Samurai:
watch from 14:11 to 22:22
PBS: The Way of the Samurai

Short clip from The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise:
The Last Samurai

Kabuki Theatre (in English)
The 47 Samurai: scene 1

The 47 Samurai: scene 2

The 47 Samurai: last scene

Japanese Traditional Dance (for banquet dance choreography)

KABUKI MACBETH FINAL PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, April 16th in the Conference Hall. 12:45pm


Kabuki Macbeth Part 1
Kabuki Macbeth Part 2
Kabuki Macbeth Part 3
Kabuki Macbeth Part 4
Kabuki Macbeth Part 5
Kabuki Macbeth Part 6

Performance Rubric:

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Ancient Greek Theatre
Everything we think we know from the Ancient Greek theatre, and about the origins of theatre, comes from the following sources:From the 5th century B.C.:Three Playwrights: (214)Tragedies:Aeschylus - 525-456 B.C. - 80 plays, 7 extantEuripides - 480-406 B.C. - 90 plays, 18 or 19 extantSophocles - 495-406 B.C.-100 plus plays, 7 extant


Aristophanes - 448-338 or 380 B.C. 50 plays, 11 extant. Lysistrata, 411 B.C.
  • 45 plays extant total 32 tragedies, 12 comedies, 1 satyr play (satirical parody-short)

From the 4th century B.C., there are some lengthy extant fragments of some of the 100 plus plays of :

Menander - 342-291 B.C., the only one of some 64 writers known about - The Grouch is the longest play fragment - influenced Roman comedy

This period was called the period of New Comedy (Aristophanes was Old Comedy)

8th century B.C. -- the first drama in recorded history.
By 5th century B.C. The "polis" or city-state was the governing unit.

Athens was the strongest polis for art and literature - the first democracy -- all could participate (citizens -- no women, slaves, or foreigners)

Pericles (c. 460-430 B.C.) -- "first citizen" of Athens -- led Athens in the "Golden Age of Greece" -- "Age of Pericles" -- he emphasized culture --architecture, art, and drama
Had temples and public building built, including the Theatre of Dionysus (Dionysus) and the Parthenon
Athens was defeated in the Peloponnesian War in 404 B.C.

Greek society viewed gods in human terms - gods held grudges, etc., fought with each other - therefor their destiny (and those of humans) was uncertain
A strong concern for humanity - the founders of philosophy came from this period
Humans were elevated from animals, but harmony depended on a conjunction of human and divine forces. If disharmony, peace was endangered.
Drama therefore focused on human struggles, but with a "supernatural" element.

Four Qualities of Greek Drama:
1. Performed for special occasions (festivals)
Athens had four festivals worshipping Dionysus -- (Bacchus in
Latin, Roman) god of wine, fertility, rebirth
The son of Zeus [a god] and Semele [a mortal], reared by satyrs, killed, dismembered, and resurrected (was actually reborn) --

  1. Competitive -- prizes awarded

Actors and playwrights competed --Oedipus apparently didn't win
(was 2nd) -- 430 B.C.
3. Choral -- singing seems to have been an important part
a chorus of men (varied in size form 3 to 50) -- many think the choral song -- dithyramb-- was the beginnings of Greek drama (but origins are unclear)
4. Closely associated with religion - stories based on myth or history

Some believe the chorus sang, moved, danced
Most believe the chorus underscored the ideas of the play, provided point-of-view, and focused on issues of the play and implications of the action, established the play's ethical system, and participated in the action

The Greek Tragedy
Structure of Greek Tragedy:

  1. Late point of attack
  2. Violence and death offstage (Sophocles's Ajax is an exception)
  3. Frequent use of messengers to relate information
  4. Usually continuous time of action (except Aeschylus's Eumenides)
  5. Usually single place (except Ajax)
  6. Stories based on myth or history, but varied interpretations of events
  7. Focus is on psychological and ethical attributes of characters, rather than physical and sociological.

"The Artists of Dionysus" seem to have been a sort of actors' union in the 3rd century B.C.

The Three Greek Tragedians:

1. Aeschylus - his are the oldest surviving plays - began competing 449 B.C. at Dionysus Theatre. Most of his plays were part of trilogies; the only extant Greek trilogy isThe Orestia.
He is Believed to have introduced the 2nd actor (Thespis was one, the 2nd added; after 468 B.C. Sophocles is believed to have introduced the 3rd actor, which Aeschylus then used.

Characteristics of Aeschylus's plays:

characters have limited number of traits, but clear and direct
emphasizes forces beyond human control
evolution of justice, impersonal
power of state eventually replacing personal revenge
chain of private guilt and punishment - all reconciled at end

2. Sophocles: (496-406 B.C.) won 24 contests, never lower than 2nd; believed to have introduced the 3rd actor; fixed the chorus at 15 (had been 50)

Characteristics of Sophocles' plays:

emphasis on individual characters
reduced role of chorus
complex characters, psychologically well-motivated
characters subjected to crisis leading to suffering and self-recognition - including a higher law above man
exposition carefully motivated; scenes suspensefully climactic; action clear and logical; poetry clear and beautiful -few elaborate visual effects; theme emphasized: the choices of people

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3. Euripides (480-406 B.C.)very popular in later Greek times, little appreciated during his lifesometimes known as "the father of melodrama"
Characteristics of Euripides' plays:

dealt with subjects usually considered unsuited to the stage which questioned traditional values (Medea loving her stepson, Medea murdering her children)
dramatic method often unclear -not always clearly causally related episodes, with many reversals, deus ex machina endings
many practices were to become popular: using minor myths or severely altered major ones
less poetic language, realistic characterizations and dialog
Tragedy was abandoned in favor of melodramatic treatment.

Theme emphasized: sometimes chance rules world, people are more concerned with morals than gods are.
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The Satyr Play

The Satyr Play, of unknown origin, had to be mastered by tragedians
Chorus-half-man, half-beast - satyrs, companions of Dionysus
sometimes the story is connected with the tragedy it accompanies, but not usually
burlesque of mythology - ridiculing gods or heroes
structure similar to tragedy
everyday and colloquial language
shorter afterpieces to tragedies


The Cyclops - Euripides - from The Odyssey - where Odysseus meets the Cyclops and a captive band of satyrs
The Trackers - Sophocles - much is extant - about Apollo's attempt to find a herd of cattle stolen by Hermes, god of thieves.

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Greek Comedy
-not admitted to Dionysus festival till 487-486 B.C. - late
-unknown origins or influences
-perhaps from improvisations of leaders of phallic songs or from mime - satirical treatment of domestic situations or burlesqued myths

-6 comic dramatists besides Aristophanes (his is the only extant work) Called "Old Comedy" (Menander's plays are considered to be Greek "New Comedy") commentary on contemporary society, politics, literature, and Peloponnesian War.

Based on a "happy idea" - a private peace with a warring power or a sex strike to stop war exaggerated, farcical, sensual pleasures.

Structure of the Comedy:
Part One:

  • prolog - chorus gives debate or "agon" over merits of the ides
  • parabasis - a choral ode addressing the audience, in which a social or political problem in discussed
Part Two:

  • scenes show the result of the happy idea final scene: (komos) - all reconcile and exit to feast or revelry
  • in 404 B.C., Athens was defeated in the Peloponnesian War; social and political satire declines.
Production / Finance:
Playwrights applied to the archon (religious leader) for a chorus.
Expense borne by a choregai, wealthy citizen chosen by the archon as part of civic / religious duty
Choregus paid for training, costuming, etc. (tho' term choregus also refers to leader of the chorus.
The State responsible for theatre buildings, prizes, payments to actors (and perhaps to playwrights). Prizes were awarded jointly to playwrights and choregus.
Dramatists themselves probably "directed" the tragic plays, but probably not the comedies.
Aeschylus and others in his time acted, trained chorus, wrote music, choreographed, etc.
Playwrights called didaskalas (teacher) -- [didactic = teaching].

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Actors and Acting:

Playwrights originally acted, but by 449 B.C. with the contests for tragic actors, they didn't.
Actors were semi-professional, at best.
Three-actor rule (that only three actors were in productions) - seems supported by evidence, but questioned by some.
Oedipus at Colonus - could have only three actors, but only if a different actor played the same character in different scenes.

Fewer restrictions
Playwrights cast till 449 B.C., with the advent of the contests, then the main actors were chosen by lot and the others by the main actors and the playwright.
Actors were paid by the State.
Only the leading actors were eligible for competition.

A vocal acting - declamatory - to project appropriate emotional tone, mood, and character.
Three kinds of delivery: speech, recitative, and song.

No facial importance - masks used.
Gesture and movement were broadened and simplified.

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Acting styles:
Actors usually played more than one role
Men played all the parts
Stylized - used masks, choral declamation, etc.
Tragedy leaned toward idealization; comedy toward burlesque.

Other elements affecting 5th century Greek productions:

The chorus - tragedies
dominant in early tragedies (so main actors could change roles ?)
by Euripides, chorus only loosely related to the action

traditional view : from 50 to 12 to 15.
Generally believed to be 15 by the time of Sophocles and Euripides.
Later diminished in time.
Entered with stately march, sometimes singing or in small groups.
Choral passages sung and danced in unison, sometimes divided into two groups.
Sometimes exchanged dialog with the main characters, rarely individual speaking (though some say the choregus may have spoken / sung alone).
The type of groupings are unknown.
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Chorus for "Old Comedy" (Menander's plays are considered to be Greek "New Comedy"):
24 people, sometimes divided into two
Could have both genders (Lysistrata).
More varied entrances, groupings, etc.
More active

In both comedy and tragedy, the chorus probably entered after the prolog and then stayed.

Functions of the chorus
1. an agent: gives advice, asks, takes part
2. establishes ethical framework, sets up standard by which action will be judged
3. ideal spectator - reacts as playwright hopes audience would
4. sets mood and heightens dramatic effects
5. adds movement, spectacle, song, and dance
6. rhythmical function - pauses / paces the action so that the audience can reflect.

The chorus was usually made up of amateurs - 11 months training - the most expensive part of the production.

Music - most believe music was integral-most dialog was recitative (retch-ee-tah-teev') probably a singe flute, sometimes a lute no one knows who composed the music nor what it sounded like probably resembled oriental quarter tones different modes of music associated with comedy or tragedy

Dance: mimetic - expressive of character or situation
in comedy - less dignified - jumping, spinning, etc. In satyrs - lewd pantomime, etc.

many say a standard costume: sleeved, decorated tunic, full-length usually, derived from robes of Dionysian priests - called a chiton.

Cotharnus is a high boot or soft shoe, perhaps elevated with a thick sole.
A short cloak may also have been worn, called a chalmys, or a long one called a himation.
Vase painting are our major evidence, but the vases are earlier than the 5th century B.C.; many vase painting show other garments, including nudity.Perhaps there were symbolic uses of some costumes/props - warrior with a spear, king with a scepter, etc.

The plays themselves have few references to costumes. Chorus usually had more realistic costumes. Most agree more on comic costumes: adapted from everyday Greek life Chiton made too short to emphasize comic elements. Male characters, not the chorus, wore a phallus. Slaves and old men wore comically exaggerated costume. Women probably wore more everyday costume.

Satyr plays:
Goatskin loincloth with phallus in front and tail in back.

All tragic players (except flutes?) wore masks.
None survive - made of cork, linen, wood.
In 5th century, probably not exaggerated. Later became so.
Covered whole face - hair, beard, etc.
Comedy - more varied- often birds, animals, etc. Probably not realistic.
Characters had exaggerated masks, some in chorus wore identical masks.
Satyr chorus...hairy, bearded, painted ears, sometimes horns.

Greek "New Comedy":
The plays of Menander are the only surviving fragments...
Instead of Old Comedy's focus on social, political, and cultural satire, Greek New Comedy dealt with romantic and domestic problems.

Antigone summary & analysis


Step 1: Directors need to begin to develop their CONCEPT. They will need to read and re-read their scene to understand what the underlying message or theme is in their scene and how they are going to portray this within the staging, blocking, set design and costuming choices they will make. First, however, you will need to start getting some inspiration. After reading the text a hundred times or so, find an image that best represents the major message of theme you will portray. Do the same for a piece of music. Be ready to bring in both of those media and explain how they relate to your theme. Due Wednesday, May 1st.

Step 2: Have your actors read their scene for you a few times. Then, you will need to start thinking about your set design. It's important to have a solid designbefore you begin blocking. Otherwise, you won't know how to block the scene. You will need to have a sketch of your set design to bring in and show the class. Due Thursday, May 2nd.

Step 3: Now you are ready to get the scene 'on its feet' by having them improv a bit, or start developing your ideas for blocking. We will watch this in class together, but this is for your reference as you begin to block: Please watch the following video carefully on blocking.

Here's one of my favorite actresses (Juliet Stevenson) in a 1984 BBC version of Antigone. The entire play is here on youtube but here's the first part (the Antigone/Ismene scene). You can find the links to all the other parts through this:
Antigone BBC 1984 version (part 1)


(rehearsals and final filming)

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Please refer to the following document outlining your exam. (this was also handed to you in class)

Seniors: (you will be presenting Wednesday, May 22nd)

Directors: Below are some examples of director's concepts. Check them out!

Good description of a complete director's concept:

Once on This Island:
The Crucible:
Flowers for Algernon:

Underclassmen: (you will be presenting during your F block exam May 31st)

Everyone: Please take a moment to watch the following TED talk by director Julie Taymor (Lion King, etc).
Julie Taymor TEDtalk- on directing and powerful images


first, the SENIORS:
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Now, everyone else (underclassmen):

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