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Theater - Sample Lesson

ASIAN 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.

II. OBJECTIVES:

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.

IV. MATERIALS:

Asian Theatre/Kabuki student handouts, Tea, sushi, rice crackers, miso, tatami, chopsticks

V. SUPPORTS:

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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