What Is The History Of Afro-asian Drama?


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Meg Hayes answered
As far as I can tell through research, there doesn't appear to be any crossover between African drama and Asian drama, they both tend to stay separate throughout their history and progression into modern day drama.

  • African Drama
The earliest recorded performance of African drama was in Egypt around the year 2000 BC. These performances in Ancient Egypt were called 'passion plays' and as part of this, the story of the God Osiris became an annual tradition at festivals.

Yoruba theatre was a common feature often seen in African drama. This type of theatre originated from Yoruba literature, the first spoken and written language that was used by the Yoruba people. During their time, they were the largest ethno-linguistic group in Africa and Nigeria. Their language is still spoken throughout many Yoruba communities all over the world as well as in Benin, Nigeria and Togo.

As part of African drama, a concept was developed in Nigeria called 'Total Theatre', which emerged in the 50s. There were particular features of this art that made it different and unique, such as the flexible language use and physical imagery that appeared to be completely surreal as well as non-naturalistic techniques that had rarely been seen before.

  • Asian Drama
The earliest form of theatre to appear in India was Sanskrit theatre, which is thought to have emerged during a peaceful time in India where hundreds of plays and poems were written. This time would have been between the second century BC and the first century BC, but only really began to flourish before the year 100AD.

The next style of theatre to emerge in India was Kathakali, a classical Indian dance-drama which was renowned for the bold make, detailed costumes and elaborate gestures and body movements.

The latest type of theatre to appear in India is Modern Indian Theatre. Rabindranath Tagore is an extraordinary figure in this area and perhaps the most well known playwright in India. In 1913 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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