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What is Drama?

A composition in prose or in verse, adapted to be acted and is represented with accompanying gesture, costume, and scenery, as in real life.

Types of Drama
Ancient Drama

The tragedy and comedy originated in Greece in the festivals of Dionysus in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.

Further Detail
The first known tragedy was by Thespis of Icaria around 534 B.C. Of all Greek drama, only the works of Aeschyus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes survived. Fortunately, these playwrights were considered to be among the finest.



Aeschyus Sophocles Euripides


Seven Against Thebes

The Acharnians The Knights The Clouds

Oedipus Rex


Medieval Drama
The mystery play

Based on the Holy Scriptures

The morality play

Philosophical play where characters represented qualities like vice and death. Contained humor

The secular drama

Plays that dealt with everyday characters

Further Detail


Bible stories



This showed how the Medieval man should have acted. The most well known morality play is Everyman

Also known as Manner plays, these plays were similar to morality plays but instead applied to social aspects, instead of spiritual.


Examined the question of Christian salvation by use of allegorical characters, and what Man must do to attain it.

Renaissance Drama

Greek and Roman dramatists were imitated in Italy, France, Germany, and England. The comedia del arte was and impromptu drama preformed on platforms on the streets by strooling players. The masks and costumes told the audience what to expect.

Examples/Further Detail

Elizabethan drama


The most notable of Renaissance drama, with playwrights such as Shakespeare and Marlowe.

Romeo and Juliet

King Lear

th Century 17


England: Under Charles I, dramas were sophisticated, witty comedies France: From France came both classical tragedies and comedies.
Germany: Only one notable playwright: Hans Sachs. But drama devolved into improvised farce.

th 18


th 19

Century Drama

18th Century

France: Farcical Comedy England Comedy of manners and Domestic drama Romantic drama flourished throughout Europe

19th Century

Modern Drama
Norwegian dramatist Ibsen contributed much to modern drama. His work stimulated a great burst of dramatic activity everywhere.

Modern Drama
As a result

In France: Brief revival of romantic fantasy and impressionism Post WWI Germany: Expressionism

England and United States: Comedy

Poetic drama reached new heights in England, Ireland, France, Spain, and the United States

Philippine Drama
Early Drama, before the Spanish

Duplo: Poetical debated held by trained men and women in the 9th night, the last night of the mourning of the dead

The bellacos, the men, were the heads of the game

Philippine Drama

Karagatan: Like the duplo, but the participants were amatures.

Philippine Drama

Spanish Era Cenakulo

A drama showing the life sacrifices and death of Jesus Christ. Celebrated during Holy Week There are the ablada (oral) and kantada (song) presentations

Philippine Drama


A cloak and dagger play depicting the wars between the Christians and Muslims. The Christians always win The first was staged in Manila in 1673, by Fr. Jeronimo Perez. To commemorate Gen. Consuera's victory of the Muslims of Midanao

Philippine Drama


A melodrama with songs and dances. It is a three in one act play.

Meant to make the mass feeling towards any emotional reaction sublime.

Further Detail
The zarzuela replaced the moro-moro at the beginning of the American rule. Early zarzuelas were nationalistic.
Examples: Pag-ibig sa Lupang Tinubuan by Pascual Poblete Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas by Aurelio Tolentino Malaya by Tomas Remigio The zarzuelas were banned by American authorities and Poblete and Tolentino were jailed.

Philippine Drama


A Lenten ritual celebrated in Marinduque during Holy Week Morion means mask

At the climax, the pugutan ceremony is held noon on Easter Sunday

Further Detail

The pugutan ceremony reenacts Longinus actions, that he stabbed Christ on the cross, proclaimed Christ's Divinity after his resurrection, and his exceution for doing so.

Philippine Drama


A pagan ritual celebrated in Kalibo, Aklan every 3rd Sunday of January for Infant Jesus The origin of this drama was forgotten long ago The Spaniards tried to do away with this Pagan ritual but instead chose to give it Christian meaning

Philippine Drama


Rejuvenated upon the establishment of the Repertory Philippines in June 1967

Became the country's leading theater company

Japanese Drama

Noh plays

The oldest Japanese drama. Developed in the 1300s, it reached its present form in the 1600s. They are poetic treatments of history, legends, love and war stories, influenced by Buddhism and Shintoism.

Shorter than Western plays and undramatic. Preformed by masked actors.

Further Detail

2 types: the dramatic and dream Noh Dream Noh is rich in symbolic and poetic beauty Although roughly 1000 plays were written, only about 250 plays are used today. Hagoromo is one of the most performed Noh plays

Japanese Drama

Joruri / Bunraku

A puppet drama. The puppets are extremely complex. The puppeteers are often visible on stage.

Founded 1864 in Osaka.

Further Details

The puppets height range from 2 to 4 feet tall. The mouth, tongue, eyelids, etc. can be manipulated and some can even transform into a demon's face The most popular subject for these plays was the lovers' double suicide

Japanese Drama
The most popular form of traditional Japanese Drama

Originated at the end of the 16th century, it is much more extravagant than the Noh plays Focuses on the visual aspects of theater, heavy makeup, exaggerated acting, and special effects.

Further Detail


While Kabuki is performed with only males today, it was founded by a woman.

Good? Not really, these young men caused the exact same problems.
Kabuki was still too erotic and many of the pretty boys were prostitutes, for women AND men.

However, this early style Kabuki play was too erotic. Many of these performers were prostitutes. So, women were banned from the stage and were replaced by attractive young men.

Eventually, only adult men were allowed to perform Kabuki.

More Stuff

Bunraku and Kabuki were very similar Many plays were performed by both kabuki actors and puppet troups A popular subject was the 47 Ronin, which focused on Bushido

The most famous playwright was Chikamatsu Monzaemon "Shakespeare of japan"

The Love Suicides at Sonezaki and the battles of Coxinga

Sonezaki was so popular, it caused many copycat suicides. Lovers' suicide plays were later banned by the government.

Chinese Drama
Three types of plays

Vun Pan Shi

The oldest form, focuses on patriotism and filial devotion. Music and action are meant to play on the audience's emotion.

Sin Pan Shi

This play presents civil and military condidtions. It differs from the Vun Pan Shi in the manner of singing certain roles and in the acting.

Vun Min Shi

The Modern Play. Colloquial dialects are allowed instead of Mandarin

Further Detail
Until the Communist takeover in 1949, selected and modified traditional operas and dramas were staples of the Chinese theater. War plays were also common but as a whole, theater was varied and modern.
Plays became more contemporary, focusing on social unrest and oppression by the wealthy.

Under Communist rule, Chinese drama was used to condemn and deviations from Mao Tse Tung's philosophy.


The newest and most popular form of drama today Millions either go to the Cinema or watch on TV Subjects range from educational viewing to non-stop action

More than just entertainment, it has intellectual, imaginative, and technical aspects

Brief History

1926 Hollywood silent movies are shown in the Philippines

1927 The Silos brothers make The Three Tramps a short comedy
1929 Collegian Love is written and directed by Carlos Vander Tolosa


Petronilo Tolentino bought the negatives and prints of four movies from Jose Nepomuceno. Asuncion Leyba bought two movies from Nepomuceno.

Nepomuceno's competitor, Rafael Fernandez, formed Banahaw Pictures With attractive salaries, he took man of Nepomuceno's best actors and actresses. Banahaw Pictures was the last to produce silent films.


George Musser produced the first Tagalog talking picture for Manila Talkatone. It was Ang Aswang and was exhibited at the Lyric Theater in Manila in 1932 1933 Nepomuceno started to make Tagalog talkies with Americans

WWII and Movies

The war temporarily crippled the movie industry. The Japanese imposed censorship and introduced propaganda. Many famous actors and actresses went to the stage.

Present Movie Development

Local movies have been gradually improving. The slow pace for Philippine movie development is caused by factors like:

Limited market for local movies Lack of funding Inadequate equipment and facilities

But Philippine movies can compare with other Asian productions in terms of quality