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

Book chapter


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 Amsterdam and New York Rodopi.
AuthorsIgweonu, K.
EditorsDiala, I.
Abstract

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.

Year2014
Book titleSyncretic Arenas: Essays on Postcolonial African Drama and Theatre for Esiaba Irobi
PublisherRodopi
Output statusPublished
Place of publicationAmsterdam and New York
SeriesCross/Cultures - Readings in the Post/Colonial Literatures in English
ISBN9789042038981
Publication dates
Print15 Oct 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Mar 2014
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/87129/african-drama-and-the-construction-of-an-indigenous-cultural-identity-an-examination-of-four-major-nigerian-plays

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