Southeast Asian Theatre

Featured Books

* Communities of Imagination: Contemporary Southeast Asian Theatres
* The Great Po Sein
* Resistance on the National Stage: Theater and Politics in Late New Order Indonesia
* Contemporary Southeast Asian Performance: Transnational Perspectives
* The Komedie Stamboel: Popular Theater in Colonial Indonesia, 1891-1903

Communities of Imagination: Contemporary Southeast Asian Theatres

Communities of Imagination
by Catherine Diamond
University of Hawai’i Press, 2012

Asian theatre is usually studied from the perspective of the major traditions of China, Japan, India, and Indonesia. Now, in this wide-ranging look at the contemporary theatre scene in Southeast Asia, Catherine Diamond shows that performance in some of the lesser known theatre traditions offers a vivid and fascinating picture of the rapidly changing societies in the region. Diamond examines how traditional, modern, and contemporary dramatic works, with their interconnected styles, stories, and ideas, are being presented for local audiences. She not only places performances in their historical and cultural contexts but also connects them to the social, political, linguistic, and religious movements of the last two decades.

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The Great Po Sein

The Great Po Sein

by Maung Khe Sein
Orchid Press, 2006

This is an exploration of the life of Po Sein, the “father of Burmese theatre”, consummate performer, innovator, romantic and lover. His story is also the history of the development of Burmese performing arts during the 20th century.

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Resistance on the National Stage: Theater and Politics in Late New Order Indonesia

Resistance on the National Stage: Theater and Politics in Late New Order Indonesia
by Michael Bodden
Ohio University Press, 2008

Resistance on the National Stage analyzes the ways in which, between 1985 and 1998, modern theater practitioners in Indonesia contributed to a rising movement of social protest against the long-governing New Order regime of President Suharto. It examines the work of an array of theater groups and networks from Jakarta, Bandung, and Yogyakarta that pioneered new forms of theater-making and new themes that were often presented more directly and critically than previous groups had dared to do.

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Contemporary Southeast Asian Performance: Transnational Perspectives

Contemporary Southeast Asian Performance: Transnational Perspectives
by Laura Noszlopy and Matthew Isaac Cohen
Cambridge Scholars Publishing , 2010

Mutual borrowing, fluid transactions and transformations of performances and performers have a long and enduring history in Southeast Asia, but this trend has been heightened and made more vivid in the contemporary period. The omnipresence of global communications has provoked and inspired yet more novel experiments and collaborations between cosmopolitan artists and globally-oriented performers. This volume offers vital insights into recent developments in Southeast Asian performance. It demonstrates the ways in which contemporary artists and performers are increasingly working betwixt the traditional boundaries of the nation and discourses of identity. The essays collected here are testament to ongoing conversations and relations among scholars, practitioners and scholar-practitioners in Southeast Asia and around the world.

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The Komedie Stamboel: Popular Theater in Colonial Indonesia, 1891-1903

The-Komedie-Stamboel
by Matthew Isaac Cohen
Ohio University Press, 2006

Originating in 1891 in the port city of Surabaya, the Komedie Stamboel, or Istanbul-style theater, toured colonial Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia by rail and steamship. The company performed musical versions of the Arabian Nights, European fairy tales and operas such as Sleeping Beauty and Aida, as well as Indian and Persian romances, Southeast Asian chronicles, true crime stories, and political allegories. The actors were primarily Eurasians, the original backers were Chinese, and audiences were made up of all races and classes. The Komedie Stamboel explores how this new hybrid theater pointed toward possibilities for the transformation of self in a colonial society and sparked debates on moral behavior and mixed-race politics. While audiences marveled at spectacles involving white-skinned actors, there were also racial frictions between actors and financiers, sexual scandals, fights among actors and patrons, bankruptcies, imprisonments, and a murder. Matthew Isaac Cohen’s evocative social history situates the Komedie Stamboel in the culture of empire and in late nineteenth-century itinerant entertainment. He shows how the theater was used as a symbol of cross-ethnic integration in postcolonial Indonesia and as an emblem of Eurasian cultural accomplishment by Indische Nederlanders. A pioneering study of nineteenth-century Southeast Asian popular culture, The Komedie Stamboel gives a new picture of the region’s arts and culture and explores the interplay of currents in global culture, theatrical innovation, and movement in colonial Indonesia.

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