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Theater, Film, and Television

Asian Theater

Asian countries, mime, puppets, storytelling, live performance

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Asian Theater, live performance, featuring actors or puppets, native to Asia, a continent with more than 2 billion people of many nations and cultures. Asian theater typically combines storytelling, dance, music, and mime and incorporates masks, makeup, scenery, costumes, props, and scripts. In contrast to theater in the West, the focus of Asian theater is generally on performance rather than on a specific text.

Asian theater is not a unified entity. Differences among Asian countries in language, culture, history, economics, politics, and religion have resulted in several hundred distinct theater genres, not all of which have been studied or catalogued. As elsewhere in the world, theater may function as entertainment; as confirmation of cultural or social unity; as religious, political, or ethical education; or as a combination of these.


Sorgenfrei, Carol Fisher, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Theatre, Univercity of California, Los Angeles. Author of "The Impostor" and "Medea: A Noh Cycle Based on the Greek Myth".

Article key phrases:

Asian countries, mime, puppets, storytelling, live performance, props, music, people, continent, makeup, costumes, dance, history, masks, scenery, entertainment, religion, economics, politics, culture, actors, West, language, combination, Differences

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