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Asian Theatres and the Western World: Culture,  Alterity and Representation.


11,12 &13 January 2008
Asian Theater

‘Asia’ or ‘Asian Theatre’ is not at all inclusive of the cultural intricacies inherent in the region. In a similar vein, apart from the eighteenth century constructions of the West, West is also not a unified entity which is consistently engaged in producing cultural others to resist the imminent fragmentation intrinsically. Geographical distance ceases to separate passionate observers of Asian theatres in the West and the Asian followers of the Western theatre practices. The focus on Asian theatres has grown beyond an intense longing for a deeper and inexorable experience of theatre. The Academia in the United States and Europe have developed an exceptional interest in theatres of Asia, in the recent decades and attempted to reconstitute their theatre curricula updating recent innovations in approaches to theatres in Asia.

The conference is a crucial academic effort to examine approaches to Asian theatre forms in the Western academia and theatre schools. In the last two centuries, the focus of academics in the West on theatre practices of Asia has considerably shifted from the alluring fictions of the ‘oriental theatre’ which is misrepresented, misinterpreted and mystified in the contours of Western theatre academia. A number of influential and significant studies of Asian theatres were brought out by theatre scholars from the West in the last part of the last century. The conference attempted to focus on a wide variety of theatre traditions in Asia such as Chinese Kunju, Huaju,  post-revolutionary Chinese theatre, Japanese Kyogen, Bunraku, Shingeki Movement, Butoh, Masks in No¯ theatre, contemporary Japanese theatre, Indonesiandance drama in Java, Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia; Spoken drama in Indonesia, Thailand’s Likay, Khon Dance, Burma/Myanmar’s Puppetry (Yokthe Pwe), Cambodian  Classical (Khmer) Dance, PhilippinenesSpanish-influenced forms (Komedya, Zarzuela), Religious Drama (Sinaculo); American-influenced forms (bodabil, spoken drama), Theatre of PETA (Philippines Educational Theatre Assocation), Protest theatre, contemporary spoken drama, Vietnamese Water Puppetry, Cai Luong, Hat Boi and Indian Kathakali, Chaau, Tamasha and Sanskrit plays.


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