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Asian drama India Performer playing Sugriva in the Koodiyattam form of Sanskrit theatre.

Main article: Theatre in India The earliest form of Indian drama was the Sanskrit drama.[33] It began after the development of Greek and Roman drama and before the development of theatre in o ther parts of Asia.[34] It emerged sometime between the 2nd century BCE and the 1st century CE and flourished between the 1st century CE and the 10th, which was a period of relative peace in the history of India during which hundreds of pla ys were written.[35] With the Islamic conquests that began in the 10th and 11th centuries, theatre was discouraged or forbidden entirely.[36] Later, in an attem pt to re-assert indigenous values and ideas, village theatre was encouraged acro ss the subcontinent, developing in a large number of regional languages from the 15th to the 19th centuries.[37] Modern Indian theatre developed during the peri od of colonial rule under the British Empire, from the mid-19th century until th e mid-20th.[38] Sanskrit theatre Main article: Sanskrit drama The earliest-surviving fragments of Sanskrit drama date from the 1st century CE. [39] The wealth of archeological evidence from earlier periods offers no indicat ion of the existence of a tradition of theatre.[40] The ancient Vedas (hymns fro m between 1500 to 1000 BCE that are among the earliest examples of literature in the world) contain no hint of it (although a small number are composed in a for m of dialogue) and the rituals of the Vedic period do not appear to have develop ed into theatre.[41] The Mahābhāṣya by Patañjali contains the earliest reference to what may have been the seeds of Sanskrit drama.[42] This treatise on grammar from 14 0 BCE provides a feasible date for the beginnings of theatre in India.[43] The major source of evidence for Sanskrit theatre is A Treatise on Theatre (Nātyaśāstr a), a compendium whose date of composition is uncertain (estimates range from 20 0 BCE to 200 CE) and whose authorship is attributed to Bharata Muni. The Treatis e is the most complete work of dramaturgy in the ancient world. It addresses act ing, dance, music, dramatic construction, architecture, costuming, make-up, prop s, the organisation of companies, the audience, competitions, and offers a mytho logical account of the origin of theatre.[44] Its drama is regarded as the highest achievement of Sanskrit literature.[45] It utilised stock characters, such as the hero (nayaka), heroine (nayika), or clown (vidusaka). Actors may have specialised in a particular type. It was patronized by the kings as well as village assemblies. Famous early playwrights include Bh asa, Kalidasa (famous for Vikrama and Urvashi, Malavika and Agnimitra, and The R ecognition of Shakuntala), Śudraka (famous for The Little Clay Cart), Asvaghosa, D aṇḍin, and Emperor Harsha (famous for Nagananda, Ratnavali and Priyadarsika). Śakuntalā (in English translation) influenced Goethe's Faust (1808–1832).[46] Modern Indian drama Rabindranath Tagore, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, is probably India's best-known modern playwright.[47] His plays are written in Beng ali and include Chitra (Chitrangada, 1892), The King of the Dark Chamber (Raja, 1910), The Post Office (Dakghar, 1913), and Red Oleander (Raktakarabi, 1924).[48 ] China Main article: Chinese opera Chinese theatre has a long and complex history. Today it is often called Chinese opera although this normally refers specifically to the popular form known as B eijing Opera and Kunqu; there have been many other forms of theatre in China. Japan Japanese Nō drama is a serious dramatic form that combines drama, music, and dance into a complete aesthetic performance experience. It developed in the 14th and 15th centuries and has its own musical instruments and performance techniques, w hich were often handed down from father to son. The performers were generally ma le (for both male and female roles), although female amateurs also perform Nō dram

as. Nō drama was supported by the government, and particularly the military, with many military commanders having their own troupes and sometimes performing thems elves. It is still performed in Japan today.[49] Kyōgen is the comic counterpart to Nō drama. It concentrates more on dialogue and le ss on music, although Nō instrumentalists sometimes appear also in Kyōgen. Kabuki dr ama, developed from the 17th century, is another comic form, which includes danc e.