19 Theater


As we take a look at theater can we find the answer to these questions?

  • How did theater develop?
  • How do people connect through theater?
  • How does theater reflect and influence society?
    How does an audience communicate with actors?
  • What life skills can we learn from theater?
  • How does culture affect drama through history?
  • How does drama bridge cultural diversity?
  • How have the events in history molded drama?

Pasty Rodenburg: Why I do theater

Patsy Rodenburg says the world needs actors more than ever. In this talk at Michael Howard Studios, she tells the story of a profound encounter that reveals the deeper role theater can play in people’s lives.


Theatre or theater[a] is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, typically actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance. Elements of art, such as painted scenery and stagecraft such as lighting are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience. The specific place of the performance is also named by the word “theatre” as derived from the Ancient Greek θέατρον (théatron, “a place for viewing”), itself from θεάομαι (theáomai, “to see”, “to watch”, “to observe”).

Modern Western theatre comes, in large measure, from the theatre of ancient Greece, from which it borrows technical terminology, classification into genres, and many of its themes, stock characters, and plot elements. Theatre artist Patrice Pavis defines theatricality, theatrical language, stage writing and the specificity of theatre as synonymous expressions that differentiate theatre from the other performing arts, literature and the arts in general.

Modern theatre includes performances of plays and musical theatre. The art forms of ballet and opera are also theatre and use many conventions such as acting, costumes and staging. They were influential to the development of musical theatre; see those articles for more information. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre

Kabuki: The people’s dramatic art – Amanda Mattes

The Japanese dance and theater art of kabuki, derived from the word kabuku, meaning “out of the ordinary,” can be traced back to the streets of seventeenth-century Kyoto. Kabuki became a dramatic art for the common people, with its use of makeup and facial expressions rather than masks, as well as a playful take on current events. Amanda Mattes tracks the evolution of kabuki and its place in Japan’s rich cultural heritage.


Answer these questions as you listen:

One way Kabuki differs from the _______ theater is that it relies on heavy makeup, rather than masks.

A Bunraku

B Kunqu

C Noh

D Commedia

The dry Kamo riverbed, where Izumo no Okuni first danced, was located in which city?

A Tokyo

B Kyoto

C Osaka

D Edo

The Onnagata were introduced into which form of Kabuki?

A Yaro Kabuki

B Mega Kabuki

C Wakashu Kabuki

D Onna Kabuki

Due to the influence of the Tokugawa Military and Bunraku, Kabuki soon evolved into a structured _______ play.

A Comedy

B One-act

C Musical

D Five-act

When Japan re-opened it’s borders to the rest of the world, many artists, such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh, as well as composer ________, began to use Kabuki styles to influence their work.

A Scott Joplin

B Claude Debussy

C Igor Stravinsky

D Johann Sebastian Bach

Two Eastern philosophies shaped the early development of Kabuki. The first, Buddhism, was used by Izumo no Okuni to create unique dances, which were originally used for prayers. What was the second, and in what ways did Kabuki change due to its implementation?

Name three sanctions the Bakufu placed against Kabuki theatres during the Tokugawa Era.

What are the major differences between the dance form Izumo no Okuni established and Onna-Kabuki, Wakashu-Kabuki, and Yaro-Kabuki?

When the Tokugawa Shogunate fell, what Emperor rose to power, and thus, opened Japan’s ports to the rest of the world?

What type of stories did Kabuki originally focus on, which set it apart from Noh dramas?

Oskar Eustis: Why theater is essential to democracy (What do you think?)

Truth comes from the collision of different ideas, and theater plays an essential role in showing us that truth, says legendary artistic director Oskar Eustis. In this powerful talk, Eustis outlines his plan to reach (and listen to) people in places across the US where the theater, like many other institutions, has turned its back — like the deindustrialized Rust Belt. “Our job is to try to hold up a vision to America that shows not only who all of us are individually, but that welds us back into the commonality that we need to be,” Eustis says. “That’s what the theater is supposed to do.”


Adam Driver: My journey from Marine to actor

Before he fought in the galactic battles of Star Wars, Adam Driver was a United States Marine with 1/1 Weapons Company. He tells the story of how and why he became a Marine, the complex transition from soldier to civilian — and Arts in the Armed Forces, his nonprofit that brings theater to the military. Because, as he says: “Self-expression is just as valuable a tool as a rifle on your shoulder.” Followed by a spirited performance of Marco Ramirez’s “I am not Batman” by Jesse J. Perez and Matt Johnson. (Adult language)


Adong Judith: How I use art to bridge misunderstanding

Director and playwright Adong Judith creates provocative art that sparks dialogue on issues from LGBTQ rights to war crimes. In this quick but powerful talk, the TED Fellow details her work — including the play “Silent Voices,” which brought victims of the Northern Ugandan war against Joseph Kony’s rebel group together with political, religious and cultural leaders for transformative talks. “Listening to one another will not magically solve all problems,” Judith says. “But it will give a chance to create avenues to start to work together to solve many of humanity’s problems.”


(Other videos on Theater)



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Introduction to Humanities II Copyright © by loribethlarsenclcmnedu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book