TNUA Tapei National University of the Arts

Theatre & Drama Studies Department



Ritual Theatre in Asia:

Study of Magic, Trance and Shamanism


Designed by Zachar Alexander Laskewicz, PhD

for non-native speakers of English




Course Description:

This course is intended to give students at a graduate level an insight into many different forms of Asian theatre that make use of religious practice, ritual and shamanism in some way during the performance. Very often such performances involve ‘extremes’ of human endeavour, trance-states or ritualism.  This type of practice is observed in many different Asian cultures including Japan, South-East Asia and India.


Weekly Schedule:

The following set of lectures is given to students who are required to have completed a set of readings related to the topic

1.                  Towards a Definition of Ritual

2.                  Religion – between mysticism and magic

3.                  Krishna: the Raslila Plays of India

4.                  Bali – the Barong

5.                  Zen and Noh

6.                  Magical Ritual Dramas of Sri Lanka & Tibet

7.                  Wayang Kulit

8.                  Dionysis and Greek tragedy

9.                  Christian rite and Christian drama

10.              The search for a new ritual drama

11.              Shamanism

12.              Trance performance

13.              Taksu

14.              Bharata Natyam

15.              Conclusions