Asian and Greek Theater
In the Asian theater traditions we have studied, there is a strong similarity with some aspects of traditional Greek theater. First there is the connection with the dominant religion of the time and place. While in Greece most theater was centered on an annual festival for the god Dionysus, most theater of all kinds occurs in temple complexes in India (or at least the folk forms of theater). The same can be said of Bali, where there are long plays commissioned to be performed at the dedication of family shrines and other times. There is less connection between theater and religion in more Islamic areas of Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asia. This may be because of the admonitions against the depictions of human beings in Islam. There have even been attacks by Muslim extremists against dalangs in some areas.
There is also a similarity in the type of masks used by each, though there is a greater variety in the Asian theater forms. The Greeks, as far as we know, used mainly or exclusively full helmet masks. These are also present in Asian theater, but are far form the only form of mask. There are half and whole masks and even heavy applications of makeup that appear masklike.
The preparation process between the two forms of performance appears to be similar in many respects. There is a spiritual cleansing process (for some performances) and the actor spends time with the mask learning about it and trying to deal with it as a separate person before placing it onto the face. While we can't be sure that this is what the Greeks did, the process is recorded and painted in several places and at least seemed to be an important part of an actor’s preparation.
There at least appear to be differences in the emphasis on what makes good theater. The most popular forms of Asian theater involved stories that were already familiar to the people performed over and over with shades of difference drawn by different performers, the Greek system generate a lot of new plays and put a fairly strong emphasis on the written text. Awards for new scripts were given out at the festivals of Dionysus. This means that the two forms of theater, despite a few similarities, are approaching theater form fundamentally different space.

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