By Osita Okagbue
African Theatres & Performances appears at 4 particular functionality types in Africa and makes use of this to query the tendency to hire western frames of connection with study and delight in theatrical functionality. The e-book examines:
- masquerade theatre in japanese Nigeria
- the trance and ownership ritual theatre of the Hausa of Northern Nigeria
- the musical and oral culture of the Mandinka of Senegal
- comedy and satire of the Bamana in Mali.
Osita Okagbue describes each one functionality intimately and discusses how each one is made, who it's made by means of and for, and considers the connection among maker and viewer and the social capabilities of functionality and theatre in African societies. The discussions are according to first-hand commentary and interviews with performers and spectators.
African Theatres & Performances supplies a desirable account of those practices, rigorously tracing the ways that performances and theatres are distinct and expressive in their cultural context.
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Extra info for African Theatres and Performances
Nne Mmo wore a rich blue blouse on white intricately decorated kente wrapper, and a second neatly folded kente wrapper was placed on her left shoulder. In her right-gloved hand she held a white horsetail whisk. On both wrists she wore huge bangles made from elephant tusk. An elaborate head-tie made from brown chiffon completed her attire. The couple were accompanied by Ezeikolobia (a hunter), and Police Inspector. Both wore military-style uniforms – Ezeikolobia’s was dark blue, while the inspector’s was dark grey with a small green-whitegreen Nigerian flag on the left breast and a row of medals on the right.
However, some groups choose public venues such as a village square or a clearing in a nearby bush. The Ochammili group held their rehearsals in the compound of their patron. They chose this rehearsal space because of its size, location, as well as the security and secrecy which it offered. The patron’s role is that of adviser and supervisor during the rehearsal process, but continues throughout the life span of the performance and group. Although non-professional, the Ocahmmili group took rehearsals very seriously, and non-attendance and disruptive or unproductive behaviour were not tolerated.
Akum belonged to another theatre group. When the procession had arrived at the second compound, the music changed to the quicker icho mmonwu beat again, to which dancers, masquerades and a few spectators heartily joined in and kept dancing until the first animal character emerged from its enclosure. Anukaibie, the zebra, was performed by two actors – one person was the fore legs and front, the other the hind legs and rear – thus movement and dance had to be carefully coordinated between the two.
African Theatres and Performances by Osita Okagbue