In our increasingly diverse classroom students should learn to know and respect their own cultural heritage and that of others. Such an education helps students to live and work in communities that incorporate a variety of cultural traditions. The more students learn about other traditions, the more they are able to share in the cultural riches and experience personal satisfaction through involvement.
Students will discuss and compare African drama to Asian drama. Below is a description that may be used to show similarities and differences between the arts styles of the two cultures.
European explorers landed on the West Coast of Africa called Nigeria. They were amazed to find civilized kingdoms where beautiful bronze art objects were made and that large cities looked sophisticated. The great kingdoms fell to ruins, but many art forms, folktales, myths, and tribal rituals survived and continue to the present day.
The Yoruba tribe of today, numbering about ten million, are descendants of these ancient kingdoms. Nigeria has modern cities and small villages and try to preserve old tribal ways. They earn their living by farming or raising livestock.
In most parts of Africa, storytellers go from village to village telling tales, usually at night or around a fire. Animals are popular characters in these tales some stories are used to teach moral, others are told for entertainment.
For many centuries, public storytelling in Japan was a profession. The Hanashika, or teller of tales, wore special clothes, used formal language and narrated his tales in a large room. Japanese actors spend years learning to act. Symbolism is a keynote. Gestures are exaggerated, movement and speeches are synchronized. Poses are held by the performer after important speeches. Costumes and makeup are elaborate. Actors paint their faces in expressive, decorative patterns.