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Early and Traditional Drama The study of early and traditional drama has too frequently remained centered on Europe (and often only on certain regions in Western Europe) to the exclusion of other parts of the world. It thus has seemed quite appropriate to offer the following collection of articles, which treat the early and traditional drama of Africa and Asia with a foray also into the traditional drama of the American Southwest. African traditional drama is discussed by John ContehMorgan (Ohio State University), who focuses on its performance aspects. Sacred performances, for example, seem distinctly different from the early ritual drama of the West—e.g., the liturgical Easter plays of the Church—or from the civic cycles such as those performed at York, Coventry, or Chester in England. On the other hand, there seem to be real points of comparison between African traditional drama and such popular drama as the commedia dell'arte. Very fortunately, the African traditional drama is still very much alive, and Professor Conteh-Morgan's discussion will thus be of special interest to all who have an interest in the theatrical practices of our time. Several articles treat major dramatic forms from various Asian countries. Colin Mackerras, Co-Director of the Key Centre for Asian Languages and Studies at Griffith University in Australia , surveys the rise of the Peking Opera, which has its roots in the theatrical styles of the Ming dynasty and earlier periods but developed fully only in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries . Mikiko Ishii (Kanagawa University), in her article "The Noh Theater: Mirror, Mask, and Madness," provides an introduction to a type of drama that has been traced to the fourteenth century. While Noh has not attained a large following outside of Japan, the form is an example of an extremely sophisticated art. There are also some analogies with Western theater that should capture our imagination. Phillip B. Zarrilli (University of Wisconsin-Madison) turns to a remarkable form of drama from South India that combines mime, music, and dance. His discussion of Kathakali, which is unique to Kerala, is in part based on his recent field work and his study of one of the traditional dramas in this genre. Laurie J. 1 2 Early and Traditional Drama Sears (University of Washington) discusses the connection between the famed Javanese shadow puppet theater and the question of influences upon it from the subcontinent. Milla C. Riggio provides an introduction to the virtually unknown Iranian passion play and also reports on an attempt to adapt its form for American audiences in the post-Pahlavi era. The production, at Trinity College where Professor Riggio teaches, was a collaborative effort that included the involvement of Iranian director Mohammad Ghaffari and David Parry, the latter previously associated with well-known performances of medieval drama by the Poculi Ludique Societas at the University of Toronto. As a final offering in the present collection, Max Harris, who is Director of the Wisconsin Humanities Council, has written about traditional drama, influenced by medieval traditions brought from Spain, in modem New Mexico. Clifford Davidson John H. Stroupe ...


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