African drama and the construction of an indigenous cultural identity: an examination of four major Nigerian plays

Igweonu, K. (2014) African drama and the construction of an indigenous cultural identity: an examination of four major Nigerian plays. In: Diala, I., ed. Syncretic Arenas: Essays on Postcolonial African Drama and Theatre for Esiaba Irobi. Cross/Cultures - Readings in the Post/Colonial Literatures in English. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. ISBN 9789042038981

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This article considers four canonical Nigerian plays to explore their potential for constructing an identity that is essentially African through their use of indigenous oral materials and dance. In it, I contend that the four canonical plays, Wole Soyinka’s 'The Lion and the Jewel', Femi Osofisan’s 'Once Upon Four Robbers', Ola Rotimi’s 'The Gods Are Not to Blame', and Duro Ladipo’s 'Moremi', offer ample representations of contemporary African—in this case Nigerian—drama. The article also explores my interest in recent London performances of The Gods Are Not to Blame and The Lion and the Jewel, particularly how issues of identity are addressed in these diaspora productions of African plays. The article argues that the plays’ mode of interaction with language, idiomatic expressions, and dance is indicative of the expectation of a drama that can be as socially functional as the indigenous African model while retaining relevance in a Westernised world. Consequently, the article concludes that the four plays offer a vision of African drama that not only derive from Europe and its imperial agenda of civilisation, but one that relies heavily on indigenous African dance, rhetorical structures, and other aesthetic devices to convey performances that are both accessible and acceptable to the indigenous African mind.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1600 Drama
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR0001 Literary history and criticism
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music
Depositing User: Dr Kene Igweonu
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2014 13:39
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2015 13:45

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00