What should i do my "Theatre History" Paper on?
I have a long paper (10pgs) due at the end of the term for Theatre History II the only problem is i have no idea what i want to do it on. Luckily the prof is pretty lenient so i can do it on basically anything that connects to theatre hist, whether its a play or a time period etc. Any ideas?
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How about the role of women in the Kabuki Theatre of Japan?
As you may know, that theatrical art form was started by a woman but when the female performers proved to be as popular off stage as on, the Shogunate forbid women from performing on stage. They did the same for young boys who were also popular off stage. What to do? There were already many popular plays with female characters, and as a popular entertainment having no female characters at all wasn't going to be much fun for anyone.
Thus was born the onnagata. The male actor who performs as an onnagata is not attempting to impersonate a woman, but rather he is attempting to capture the very essence of femininity.
You might examine the female characters themselves in several plays, or, the role of the actor who plays these parts.
As contrast you could look at the Elizabethan Theatre which faced a similar problem and arrived at a similar solution. However, Western Theatre eventually relented, the Kabuki did not. Indeed, although women perform in kabuki plays here in the US, in Japan it is still an all male art form.
The Kabuki Theatre by Earl Ernest
Theatre East & West by Leonard Pronko
Kabuki Five Classic Plays by James R Brandon
You should write your paper on the difference between the way Shakespeare treated women in his plays (often using them as powerful, vibrant characters with the ability to affect change) and the way women were treated at the time (lack of social/political power; it was even considered "vulgar" for a woman to be an actor, and consequently outlawed.)
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