Modern Asian theatre and indigenous performance

Anita Singh, Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei, Siyuan Liu, Jan Creutzenberg, Kathy Foley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines modern spoken Asian theatre’s complex relationship with traditional and folk performance in the past century. Examples from India, Japan, China, Korea and Southeast Asia all point to a pattern of initial mixture of western and traditional forms in the development of a new form of theatre. It was then followed by an almost complete rejection of indigenous modes of total theatre and entertainment in pursuit of social critical and illusionist realism in the mode of Ibsen and Stanislavski, which limited modern theatre to the urban elite or, in the words of James Brandon, ‘unpopular theatre’ (1967: 39).1 By the second half of the century, influenced by western absurdist theatre and internal changes - independence (India and Southeast Asia), anti-American movement (Japan), liberation from authoritarianism (Korea) or awakening from cultural nihilism (China) - spoken theatre re-embraced indigenous performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Asian Theatre
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781317278863
ISBN (Print)9780415821551
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 selection and editorial material, Siyuan Liu.


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