Theater - Sample LessonASIAN THEATRE AND KABUKI -Submitted by Ms. Benedetto
I. DESCRIPTION: This lesson is an introduction to Asian theatre in general and Japanese Kabuki theatre specifically. We will compare and contrast Eastern and Western theatrical history, philosophy, and characteristics, and will examine Kabuki in both historical and contemporary contexts.
Students will evaluate the similarities and differences in Eastern and Western theatre types.
Students will be able to identify thematic, sonic, and aesthetic characteristics of Kabuki theatre.
Students will further develop stage skills dominant in Eastern drama: tonal and rhythmic awareness,
stylized motor control, and stage presence.
III. SEQUENCE OF ACTIVITIES:
1. Introduction and overview of Asian theatre. Distribute handout.
2. Discussion of characteristics of Western drama that we have studied to date (up through the
Shakespearean Era) compared to characteristics of Eastern drama.
3. Overview of Kabuki history and sonic characteristics. Music and vocal exercises such as
the Rhythm Game, diction practice, poetry reading, etc.
4. Overview of theme and movement in Kabuki. Pantomime and motor control exercises such as
Who Began, the Mirror Game, and Living Machines.
5. Overview of presentation and visual characteristics of Kabuki. Examine and discuss visual
samples (photographs, books, costumes, masks).
6. As Kabuki is traditionally an all-day affair, including meals and tea ceremonies, we will serve
tea and other customary Japanese fare while we watch a brief (30 minute) video presentation of
a Kabuki drama.
Asian Theatre/Kabuki student handouts, Tea, sushi, rice crackers, miso, tatami, chopsticks
Theatre, 4th ed., Robert Cohen
Japanese Theater: Kabuki
Kabuki, Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Yale University
Photographs, costumes, masks
VI. VOCABULARY: See student handout
VII. STUDENT EXPECTATIONS: This lesson addresses student expectations
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