TEXT AND PERFORMANCE NEXUS IN SELECTED ANGLOPHONE AFRICAN PLAYS BY OLUSOLA OLASUNKANMI, OSO Matric Number 148592 B.A. (Hons.) (University of Lagos), M.A. (University of Ibadan) A Thesis in the Department of English submitted to the Faculty of Arts In partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN MARCH, 2017 ABSTRACT A common notion among the audience is that a good performance must be explicitly faithful to its text. Studies on Anglophone African dramatic texts and performance have illustrated points of convergence and divergence between the dramatic texts and their stage performances. However, few of these studies have investigated the reasons behind the deviation of the stage performances from the dramatic texts or assessed the fidelity of the performances to the historicity of texts. This study was, therefore, designed to examine the nexus between Anglophone African plays and their stage performances, with a view to identifying the reasons for divergence and the cohesion of historicity between them. Stephen Greenblatts New Historicism and Foucaults Discourse Analysis were adopted. Eight Anglophone African plays were purposively selected due to their African regional representation and thematic preoccupations. They are Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja (TTA), Tawfiq Al-Hakims Fate of a Cockroach (FC), Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa (TMA), Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road (CR), Athol Fugards Blood Knot (BK), Francis Imbugas Betrayal in the City (BIC), Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, and Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman (ICW). Close readings of the dramatic texts were done while available life stage performances of six of the selected plays were watched and their directors interviewed. The video recordings of the stage performances of all the eight plays were reviewed. Data were subjected to literary and performance criticisms. Four divergent features were identified. They were rupturing of the sequence of incidents, coalescing of scenes, addition and removal of scenes and characters, and the infusion of songs. The sequence of incidents is ruptured in TTA. In the stage performance of FC, the first two scenes are coalesced. Two characters play the role of Storyteller in the performance of TMA. Songs are copiously infused into the performance of CR. The directors intentionally deviated from the dramatic texts for logistic and practical reasons such as the duration of the performance and the availability of props and funds. In spite of these, stage lighting, set designs, costumes, casting, and choreography were proficiently used to portray the intended effects in the text. All the performances amply demonstrated strong historical and socio-cultural coherence with the texts. They conveyed power relations and struggles within social systems, power struggle and rebellion. The climactic scene of BK, when Morris brutalised his black brother Zachariah, recreated the oppression of the majority black people by the minority whites during the period of apartheid in South Africa. In the performance of BIC, the subversive proclivity of Jere was fully realised. The stage performance of Kurunmi foregrounds the great pleasure Kurunmi foregrounded the great pleasure derived from the exercise of power over the Ijaye people, while in ICW, there is a strong desire of women to hold power. Directors of stage performances deliberately and pragmatically deviate from dramatic texts without prejudice to the storyline nor the historicity of the text. Hence, the divergence between text and performance is creativity. Keywords Dramatic text-performance fidelity, Anglophone African drama, Stage performance Word count 481 CERTIFICATON I certify that this work was carried out by OSO OLUSOLA OLASUNKANMI at the Department of English, Univeristy of Ibadan, Nigeria, under my supervision ___________________ ____________________ Supervisor Date Prof. Nelson O. Fashina B.A. (Hons) (OSUA), M.A. Ph.D (Ibadan) GSES (Cornwall), Cert in Post-Modernism (Louisville) Department of English, University of Ibadan. DEDICATION To my darling wife, Oluwatosin And my wonderful children Olumuyiwa, Oluwafemi and Emmanuela ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS In the course of embarking on this Ph.D research and writing the thesis, I incurred a number of debts. First, I am eternally grateful to my supervisor, Prof. Nelson Fashina whose mode of supervision of the thesis goes beyond the call of duty. His thorough, albeit fatherly approach really motivated me. His unqualified humility and scholarship served as an inspiration to me. I am also indebted to the Head of Department, Prof. Emmanuel Omobowale who has monitored my academic progress since I commenced my postgraduate programmes in the Department of English, University of Ibadan. Mention must also be made of Prof. Ademola Dasylva who has developed more than a passing interest in my career and Dr Ademola Lewis who made remarkable contributions towards my successful completion of the Ph.D programme. I am indebted to my wonderful parents, Pa Adeniyi and Mrs E.O. Oso, who have seen me through thick and thin. I am indebted to my adorable wife, Oluwatosin, and children, Olumuyiwa, Oluwafemi and Emmanuella, who have to endure daddys marriage to his books and daddys constant travels to Ibadan to keep a date with his supervisor. I am grateful to my siblings Babatunde, Folasade, Irebowale, Omolewa, Busola, and Odunlami for their moral support during the course of the programme. My sisters Mrs Folasade Madariolas financial support in the course of the programme is invaluable.I appreciate my in-laws, Pastor and Mrs. Popoola, and their children. Ibukun, Taiwo, Kehinde and Idowu for all their prayers on my life. I am eternally grateful to all the people who kept me updated and ensured that I did not miss the life stage performances of the selected plays. I am particularly grateful to Mr. Peter Scholin of the Platypus Theatre, Berlin, Germany who left no stone unturned to ensure that I got the video recording of the stage performance of Athol Fugards Blood Knot a play which has sparingly been performed in Nigeria,but which was staged in Germany. I acknowledge the great role which all the books and materials I consulted in the course of the research must have played in the successful completion of the study. Above all, I give glory and honour to Almighty God who has been jealously protecting me for the past forty years. TABLE OF CONTENTS Pages Title page i Abstract ii Certification iii Dedication iv Acknowledgements v Table of Contents vi CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1.1 Introduction 1 1.2 Background to the study 1 1.3 Statement of the Problem 5 1.4 Objectives of the Study 9 1.5 Justification of the Study 9 1.6 Significance of the Study 10 1.7 Scope of the Study 11 1.8 Research Methodology 12 1.8.1 Theoretical Framework 13 1.8.2 Analytical Models 21 1.9 Delimitation of the Scope of Study 23 1.10 Limitations of the Study 23 1.11. Definitions of Terms 24 CHAPTER TWO NEW HISTORICISM AND TEXT AND PERFORMANCE IN AFRICAN DRAMA A CRITIQUE 2.1 Introduction 26 2.2 Overview of Historical Criticism 26 2.3 The Interplay between Drama and History 35 2.4 History and African Drama 44 2.5 The Interplay between Text And Performance In Drama 56 CHAPTER THREE AFRICAN TEXTUALITY AND PERFORMANCE AESTHETICS IN DRAMA 3.1 Introduction 67 3.2. African Textuality in Drama 67 3.3 Performance Aesthetics in Drama 78 3.4 Theatrical Aesthetics in African Drama 92 CHAPTER FOUR INTERLAY BETWEEN TEXT AND PERFORMANCE IN SELECTED HISTORICAL AFRICAN PLAYS 4.1. Introduction 94 4.2. Text 1 Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja 94 4.3 Text 11 Ola Rotimis Kurunmi 125 4.4 Text III Athol Fugards Blood Knot 149 CHAPTER FIVE THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN TEXT AND PERFORMANCE IN SELECTED SOCIO CULTURAL AFRICAN PLAYS 5.1 Introduction 165 5.2 Text 1 Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In The Chest of a Woman 165 5.3 Text II Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa 183 5.4 Text III Francis Imbugas Betrayal in the City 200 CHAPTER SIX INTERPLAY BETWEEN TEXT AND PERFORMANCE IN SELECTED SOCIO-POLITICAL AFRICAN PLAYS 6.1 Introduction 211 6.2. Text 1 Tewfik Al-Hakims Fate of a Cockroach 211 6.3 Text II Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road 221 CHAPTER SEVEN SUMMARY, FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION 7.0. Introduction 249 7.1 Summary 249 7.2 Findings 250 7.3 Conclusion 255 References 257 CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1.1 Introduction This chapter gives a general introduction into the study which is on the text and performance nexus in selected Anglophone African plays. In this introductory chapter, the background of the research, the statement of the research problem, the objectives of the study, the justification of the study, the significance of the study, the scope of the study, the research methodology, the theoretical framework, the analytical models to be employed in the study, and the definitions of terms shall be discussed. 1.2 Background to the study The work is a study on the nexus between text and performance in selected Anglophone African plays, using Stephen Greenblatts New Historicism and Foucaults Discourse Analysis as the theoretical framework. The selected African plays are Tewfik Al-Hakims Fate of a Cockroach (1973), Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa (1975), Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road (2009), Francis Imbugas Betrayal in the City (1976), Athol Fugards Blood Knot (1987), Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja (2012), Ola Rotimis Kurunmi (1971), and Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman (2008). There is, indubitably, an interplay between text and performance in drama. In his perceptive book, Textual Strategies Perspectives in Post Structuralist Criticism, the French philosopher and author Michel Serres (1979440) concisely defines a text as a system of laws. He goes on to define criticism as a generalized physics which describes the states of the text (440). Like nature which resolutely abhors a vacuum, texts do not exist in a vacuum. They remain hostage to available language, available practice, and available imagination. Roland Barthes is a scholar of no mean repute who has researched extensively on text. Barthes (198132) defines text as the phenomenal surface of the literary work it is the fabric of the words which make up the work and which are arranged in such a way as to impose a meaning which is stable and as far as possible. Barthess afore-stated definition of text suggests that text guarantees the stability of meaning. In contrast, performance imposes variability on it. Text has an edge over speech, which is susceptible to the fallibility of human memory. Barthes (198133) posits the text is a weapon against time, oblivion and the trickery of speech, which is so easily taken back, altered, denied. Performance is an artistic actualization and creative representation of action. Drama comes in the mode of written texts or performance text. A dramatic performance is, therefore, conceivable as a text of different cultural and ideologically constructed meanings. Dramatic performance transforms the dramatic text into a product of multiple authorship and authority rather than the presumed status of a work produced by a single playwright. Performance blows life into the dramatic text and guarantees the full realization of the text. Various scholars have defined drama in such a way to underline the significance of performance to drama. Starting with its etymology, the word drama comes from the Greek word dran which means to act or to perform (Banham, 1998). Meyer (19936) defines drama as a story written to be performed by actors on a stage before an audience. The effectiveness of drama requires a story, performance, actors and audience. Totzeva (1999 81) has described the play as a text conceived for possible theatrical performance. Brater (19946) in the book The Drama in the Text submits that much of the material in drama often makes more sense when spoken and heard than when simply read and silently digested. According Applebee (20014), drama is a story that is intended to be performed for an audience, either on stage or before a camera. Iwuchukwu (20081) opines that drama is an adaptation, recreation and reflection of reality on stage. The inference that can be drawn from these definitions is that it is difficult to separate drama from performance. During the stage performance of a play or the film production of a dramatic text or script, drama brings life experiences realistically to the audience. One of dramas basic missions, especially within its African matrix, is to convey in dialogue and action, not only the urgency of the playwrights deeper intention, but also the characters driving motivations. Drama can easily be described as the most active of the three genres of literature, as it has an immediate impact on the audience. Performance is integral to African drama. An African drama is a play written by Anglophone and Francophone African dramatists, usually for the African audience. It reflects African experiences and vividly portray African culture. It is a tradition that has unique thematic preoccupations and forms, with sources in African rituals, languages, gestures and folklores. Its linkage with the traditional popular African theatre is borne out of its combination of dance, music and action. Two schools of thought have crystalized concerning the origin of African drama. The first school of thought asserts that African drama is developed due to European influence, especially after the colonial invasion by British rulers (Michael Etherton, 1982). Anthony Graham-White (197559) in The Drama of Black Africa examines African dramas indebtedness to colonialism. He holds that the real contribution of colonialism was in the provision of models for the development of a literary drama in its origins and early development. Colonialism significantly contributed towards the development of the African literary drama. Colonialism was the process of occupation, rule and dominance of the original African inhabitants by the British, French and Portuguese governments, usually referred to as the colonial masters (HarperCollins, 2011).The colonial process culminated in the partition of Africa after the Berlin Act of 1885 and the Brussels Act of 1892. According to the second school of thought, which has decidedly gained a wider currency than the first, the origin of African drama is rooted in dramatic ritual and magical practices, dances and songs of African community which were frequent in pre-colonial Africa (Michael Etherton, 1982). Prior to the colonial period, the African continent was teeming with performance activities-ceremonies, festivals, religious rites, storytelling, and various kinds of celebrations, all woven into the fabric of the daily life of the various African cultures. The Europeans brought with them their own form of theatre which they sought to naturalise throughout the continent. Oscar G. Brockett (1995 635) reveals the consequence of this the tension between this colonialist heritage and indigenous forms has created a vigorous and dynamic spectrum of performance in contemporary Africa. Michael Etherton (1982318) in his highly influential book, The Development of African Drama posits that the crucial problem of African drama today lies in the co-existence of an intellectual drama which barely touches the mass of the people though it professes to be concerned with them, and a theatre of the people which in every instance seems quickly to be debased. African dramatic writing has witnessed phases of development. Austin Asagba (200183) partitions African dramatic writing into two categories or phases. The first category are plays that espouse the social conditions and political contradictions inherent in both colonial and post-colonial Africa. Wole Soyinkas The Lion and the Jewel (1963) and The Trials of Brother Jero (1964), and Efua Sutherlands Anowa (1970) and The Marriage of Anansewa fall into categories of such plays. The second category which were written from the early 1970s were not only written in an unconventional mode of drama, but also evinced a conscious attempt to demonstrate a direct relationship between theatre and society. Athol Fugards Sizwe Bansi is Dead (1972), Ngugi wa Thiongo and Micere Githae Mugos The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (1976) and Femi Osofisans Once Upon Four Robbers (1978) exemplify such plays. Taye Awoyemi (2012) delineates the development of African drama into three phases the latter colonial era (1876-1960) the nationalist era (1960-1970) and the postcolonial era (1970-1999). H.I.E. Dhlomos The Girl Who Killed to Save (1935) exemplifies the latter colonial era. A representative list of plays of the nationalist era includes Lewis Nkosis The Rhythm of Violence (1964) and F.M.Mulikitas Shaka Zulu (1967). The plays of this era, according to him, are thematically preoccupied with the affirmation of an overwhelming pride in black heritage and culture. The postcolonial era, he avers, covers the postcolonial period from 1970 to 1999. Athol Fugards Sizwe Bansi is Dead (1972), Wole Soyinkas Death and the Kings Horseman (1975), Femi Osofisans Morountodun (1981) and Tess Onwuemes The Reign of Wazobia (1988) are examples of plays of this period. Plays of this era, Awoyemi states, are experimental in nature, socialist in outlook, and present the emergence of a new society as a collective issue that must involve all and sundry. Wole Soyinkas A Dance of the Forests (1963) and King Baabu (2002). Zulu Sofolas King Emene Tragedy of a Rebellion (1974), Efua Sutherlands Edufa (1962), Ama Ata Aidoos The Dilemma of a Ghost (1965), Martin Owusus The Mightier Sword (1973), and Toyin Abioduns Princess Ruka and the Bachelors Kings (2014) are examples of African plays. A common notion among the audience is that the relationship between dramatic text and stage performance is simple and straightforward that is, a stage performance is a faithful representation of the dramatic text on which it is based. However, t he interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama is quite complex, and it merits closer scrutiny. This is the propelling force of this study. 1.3 Statement of the Problem Extensive studies have been done on Anglophone African drama. A good number of these studies have focused on the analyses of the dramatic texts. The evaluation of the interplay between history and Anglophone African drama is the primary concern of some of such studies. Etherton, 1982 Ogude, 1991 Layiwola, 2003 Yerima, 2003 Akinyemi, 2010, and Julius-Adeoye and Rantimi-Jays (2013) exemplify these. These studies reiterated how historical drama has been a favourite fodder of imagination for Anglophone African playwrights. Some studies have attempted to classify or categorise African drama into phases (Ogunba, 1977 Ogunbiyi, 1981 Dasylva, 1997 Asagba, 2001 Awhefeada, 1997, and many others). Oyin Ogunba (1977), for instance, has identified three broad categories into which modern West African plays can be placed propaganda plays, involving politics and ideology plays expressing culture-nationalism, or plays expressing preference for the new cultural integrationist vision and finally, the satiric play. Ademola Dasylva (1997 114) observes that the emergence of new dramatic forms and the publication of many more plays since Ogunba made his comment had made it old-fashioned. Dasylva (1997116) classifies modern African drama into culture plays, nationalist plays, rational plays, and neo-rational plays. Many other studies on African plays have been preoccupied with the problem of the crisis of identity which has, over the years, plagued African literature, and, by extension, African drama. These studies include Wole Soyinka (1976), Dapo Adelugba (1981), Ossie Enekwe (1987)), Chidi Amuta (1989), and Nelson Fashina (2008). Fashina (20081) opines that African literature, and by extension, African drama, is not necessarily restricted to works written by authors of African descent. He buttresses his position with an example of Ulli Beiers play (written under the pseudonym Obotunde Ijimere), The Imprisonment of Obatala (1966), a play which bears the hallmarks of African drama, the German nationality of the author notwithstanding. Some other studies have examined a number of issues addressed in various African dramatic texts. James Gibbs,1986 Chris Dunton,1992 Benedict Ibitokun, 1995 Femi Shaka,2001 Akinyemi, 2010 Matthew Umukoro, 2011 and Tunji Azeez,2012 are examples of such studies. In a related development, a number of studies on Anglophone African drama have examined the interplay between text and performance in African drama. This is hardly surprising in view of the fact that drama enjoys full realization only in performance. H.D.F. Kiito (1964 v) comments incisively on the significance of performance in drama The art of drama does not consist of language language is only oneOthers, obviously, are the dramatic juxtaposition of situations and persons, the timing of events, gesture, tone, visual effects, many other things. In a highly integrated work of dramatic art, these are not adventitious ornaments they are among the means which the dramatist uses for saying what he means. Some of them, evidently can be realized only in performance (emphasis supplied), where they are conjecturally restored by the producer and the actors-who may be wrong. Kiito posits that critics of dramatic texts must look beyond the text in order to have a full grasp of the play and maximize its full potentials. Performance is evidently an integral part of the drama which arms the critic a fuller mastery of the play than if the focus had exclusively been on the dramatic text. Isidore Okpewho (1990) and Matthew Umukoro (2011) also highlight how performance forms an integral component of dramatic communication. In his examination of the interplay between text and performance in African drama, Alter (1981) gives a comprehensive account of the transition that takes place when a dramatic text is performed on stage. He avers that the the spoken word, which is a distinguishing feature of stage performance, is much more unreliable than the written verbal signs in dramatic texts, as they do have certain safeguards that can prevent confusion. A P van der Merwe (1991) critically evaluates the role of drama and theatre semiotics in the study of African literature, with a specific reference to Northern Sotho drama. He discusses the relationship between drama text and the performance by paying attention to certain perspectives held by semioticians such as Alter, Elam, Serpieri and Serge about the relationship. Anthony Daniel Gabashane (1996) places both the dramatic text and its stage performance on equal pedestal. According to him, the writer or critic must exercise a great deal of care not to approach the subject with a bias towards the dramatic text as more important than the performance, or vice versa. Karin Barber (2005) in Text and Performance in Africa highlights the wide range of relations that are possible between a text and a performance, with a particular reference to African drama. He stresses the need for comparative literary studies between text and performance in African drama. Patrick J. Ebewo (2017) in his compelling book, Explorations in Southern African Drama, Theatre and Performance gives a compendium of critical and intellectual discourses on black African drama, theatre and performance in Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland. Remarkably, the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama is far more complex than most of the existing studies have discussed it. A.P. van der Merwe (2012) makes a telling comment on this complexity Although most of the traditional theorists acknowledged the relationship which exists between the drama text and the performance, they never studied this relationship in depth, but rather avoided it on the grounds of its complexity. This study is an enterprise in filling this gap in scholarship. It investigates the nexus between specific selected Anglophone African dramatic texts and their stage performances with a view to foregrounding the complexity of the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama. Instructively, there has been dearth of previous studies on the interplay between most of the selected texts and their stage performances that is, scant attention has been paid to the concurrent examination of both the selected dramatic texts and their stage performances in previous studies. These justify the compelling need for the research work. Furthermore, there has been the heightening expectation that owing to its contemporaneous nature, and the urgent currency of some of the various critical questions which New Historicism typically addresses in the African continent, the theory would be embraced with a surge of enthusiasm by literary scholars and critics of Anglophone African drama in particular, and African literature in general. Take, for instance, the cardinal issues of power struggles and power relations which African rulers and citizens have grappled with over the decades. One of the tenets of New Historicism is its examination of the power relations in every stratum of the human society. According to New Historicism, texts (both literary and non-literary) and even social institutions such as prisons and hospitals are ideological products of the prevailing power structures that dominate particular societies (Brannigan, 19986).The interpretation of a literary work against the background of New Historicist perspective would be geared towards uncovering the conflicting and subversive perspectives of the marginalized and the oppressed. This is an issue that has not been given adequate treatment in previous studies on African plays. There has, remarkably, been paucity of studies in African drama which are grounded in New Historicism. Kikelomo Owoeye (2011), Moffatt Mayo (2014), Njoki and Ogogo (2014), and Sophia Otaria-Apoko (2016) exemplify the few studies on African drama which employ New Historicism as the theoretical framework. Owoeye (2011) in Gender Issues in Ola Rotimis Drama critically evaluates Ola Rotimis three major tragedy plays The Gods Are Not To Blame (1971), Kurunmi and Ovonramwen Nogbaisi (1974). She observes and decries the gender imbalance and the relegation of women to the background in these three plays. Moffatt Mayo (2014) examines Wole Soyinkas tragedy, Death and the Kings Horseman. He explores Soyinkas background, relates this to the play, and draws a parallel between the playwright and the character of Olunde in the play. Njoki and Ogogo (2014) examines Athol Fugards social vision in four of his plays The Island (1976), Blood Knot (1987), Hello and Goodbye (1974) and Master Harrod and the Boys (1984). They interrogate how the plays effectively communicate the playwrights vision. Sophia Otaria-Apoko (2016) privileges cultural context and history to explore the struggle for sovereignty and nation building in Ola Rotimis historical play, Akassa You Mi. The paper unravels the power play and the resultant rupturing of relations between the British (represented by the Royal Niger Company) and the natives of ancient Nembe Kingdom of the present day Bayelsa State. These previous studies have overlooked some of the crucial assumptions of New Historicism. Also, in many of the previous studies, scant attention has been paid to the analysis of the historical documents that serve as backgrounds to the African plays with the same intensity and scrutiny given foregrounded portions of the plays being interpreted. This study will attempt to fill these gaps in scholarship. 1.4 Objectives of the Study The aim of this study is to examine the nexus between text and performance in selected Anglophone African plays, using New Historicism as the theoretical framework. The specific objectives include to i.) establish the significance of stage performance to African plays ii.) discuss the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama iii.) foreground the complexity of the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama iv.) highlight the points of convergence and divergence between each of the selected plays and their stage performances v.) discuss the usefulness of New Historicism in the analysis of the selected Anglophone African plays. 1.5 Justification of the Study Drama enjoys full realization only after performance. Performance is an integral aspect of drama which must not be discounted or relegated to the background. The origin of African drama, in particular, is rooted in ritual, mask, dance, and music that is, performance. Admittedly, studies exist on text and performance in Anglophone African drama. However, not enough has been done to establish the complexity of the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama. The attempt to foreground this complexity by examining the nexus between specific selected Anglophone African dramatic texts and their stage performances provides a justification of this study. Another justification for the study is that previous studies have not examined the interplay between text and performance in most of the selected Anglophone African dramatic texts of this study. Also, despite the compelling and contemporaneous nature of New Historicism theory, which has contributed immensely towards its surge in popularity in the United States of America and Europe, it has enjoyed only a limited influence in African literary discourse. The reverse should be the case in view of the fact that a number of the salient issues and questions that New Historicism addresses are of urgent currency in the African continent. Power struggle and power relations exemplify this. Since the attainment of independence, many African countries have grappled with the problem of power conflict between the rulers on the one hand, and between the rulers and the ruled on the other hand. Power struggle is critically examined in many of the selected African plays. The dearth of critical studies on New Historicism in African literature, with a particular reference to Anglophone African drama provides further justification for the study. The fact that the study focuses on some of the neglected areas of previous studies on African drama which are grounded in New Historicism further justifies the study. 1.6 Significance of the Study The research work is relevant because it would attempt to fill the gap of the paucity of critical studies on Anglophone African drama which have critically evaluated the selected dramatic texts with the stage performances with a view to foregrounding the nexus between the African plays and their stage performances. The evaluation of the stage performances of the selected plays would illuminate the dramatic texts and proffer a deeper comprehension of the selected African plays. The significance of the study is also borne out of the fact that it would contribute to literary scholarship by filling the gap of the scantiness of studies in African drama which are grounded in New Historicism. The study would concentrate on the neglected areas of the previous critical studies. In addition, as earlier mentioned, some of the issues addressed in New Historicism are of urgent currency in the contemporary African society. Therefore, the significance of the study transcends literary discourse. Finally, the eight selected Anglophone African dramatic texts have been examined by literary scholars and critics in previous studies. While agreeing to some of the opinions expressed on these plays, the study would also depart constructively from several of the opinions advanced. By so doing, the study would contribute to literary scholarship. 1.7 Scope of the Study The study is limited in its scope and focus. There is Anglophone and Francophone African drama. Francophone African drama are African plays authored by playwrights from French-speaking African countries such as Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Republic of Benin and Ivory Coast. Anglophone African drama are plays authored by playwrights from English-speaking African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Sierra Leone. Our concern is on Anglophone African drama. The Oxford English Dictionary (201551), in its ninth edition, defines Anglophone as a person who speaks English, especially in countries where English is not the only language that is spoken. The eight selected African plays are Tewfik Al-Hakims Fate of a Cockroach, Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja, Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa, Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road, Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman, Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, Francis Imbugbas Betrayal in the City, and Athol Fugards Blood Knot. They reflect Anglophone African geographical spread. Besides, since the theoretical framework of the study, New Historicism, is a theory with an eye on history, a good number of the selected African plays are overtly historical African drama. Kurunmi, for instance, is based on the Ijaye War of the mid-nineteenth century in the Old Oyo kingdom, while Blood Knot revisits the apartheid period in South African history. 1.8 Research Methodology The purposive sample method is employed in the selection of the African plays because of its selective method of adopting relevant samples (Kirby et al, 1997). The research is library-based and also entails field work. Several African plays are carefully studied, together with the eight selected African plays. The stage performances of the majority of the selected plays were watched, and the video recordings of the stage performances of all the selected plays were gathered and watched thoroughly with a view to foregrounding the complexity of the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama. The sources of the stage performances of each of the plays are as follows Fate of a Cockroach Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria The Trials of Afonja University of Ilorin, Nigeria The Marriage of Anansewa University of Ibadan, Nigeria Cemetery Road University of Abuja, Nigeria In the Chest of a Woman University of Ilorin, Nigeria. Kurunmi Oyo State Council of Arts and Culture, Ibadan Betrayal in the City Maseno University Travelling Theatre, Kenya viii.Blood Knot Platypus Theater, Berlin, Germany. The dramatic texts and the stage performances were subjected to literary analysis and performance critique. Library and internet search on journals, seminars and conference papers was also done. In addition, relevant books, theses and dissertations were critically studied to discover what has been done so far on New Historicism, and text and performance in Anglophone African drama. 1.8.1 Theoretical Framework This study is grounded in New Historicism theory. The New Historicists aim simultaneously to understand a literary work through its historical context, and to understand cultural and intellectual history through literature. New Historicism seeks to find meaning in a literary text by considering the work within the framework of the prevailing ideas and assumptions of its historical era (Lynn, 1998). At this juncture, New Historicism will be explained in details under the following subheadings origin and proponents tenets uses relevance to the study. What is New Historicism I. Origin Proponents According to Michael Meyer (2004 718) New Historicism is an approach to literature that emphasises the interaction between a works historical context and a modern readers understanding and interpretation of the work It is a school of literature theory that developed in the 1980s primarily through the work of the renowned literary critic, Stephen Greenblatt. He confirms his being a major proponent of New Historicism thus A few years ago, I was asked by Genre to edit a selection of Renaissance essays, and I said OK. I collected a bunch of essays and then, out of a kind of desperation to get the introduction done, I wrote that the essays represented something I called a new historicism. (Veeser, 1989 i). Another major proponent of New Historicism is Michel Foucault. In the introduction part to New Historicism in their book Modern Literary Theory, Philip Rice and Patricia Waugh (2001253) states that Probably the most pervasive influence on new historicist practice, however, is the work of Foucault. His writings have consistently shown how so-called objective historical accounts are always products of a will to power enacted through formations of knowledge within specific institutions. It developed primarily as a reaction against the New Criticism that dominated literary studies during the early to mid-20th century. Characteristically, the practitioners of the New Criticism would explore the formal, literary qualities of a literary work of art, but would neglect the historical background of the literary work, and the socioeconomic and cultural context surrounding the literary text. To the New Critics, every text is a self-contained entity which can be analysed without any reference to any extraneous material. In her submission on the origin of New Historicism, Judith Lowder Newton (1989 153) in a paper entitled History as usual Feminism and the New Historicism gives a detailed explanation on the literary theorys origin. We will quote her extensively here New Historicism, we are variously told, comes out of the new left, out of cultural materialism, the crisis of 1968, post-modernist response to that crisis, out of post-structuralism as part of that response, and most particularly out of the historiography of Michel Foucault. New Historicism is also to be read as a reaction to the formalism of structuralism and post-structuralism and as a response to the perception that American educational institutions and culture are rapidly forgetting history. New Historicism finally has also emerged out of fear on the part of literary critics that they are being further marginalised within their culture. In a single breath of effort, her opinion encapsulates some significant scholastic opinions which have been advanced on the origin of New Historicism. Many New Historicists have acknowledged their profound indebtedness to the writings of the celebrated French philosophical historian, Michel Foucault. His contributions to the development of the literary theory have been phenomenal. According to Ross Murfin and Supryia M. Ray (1998 10) in The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, Foucault brought together incidents and phenomena from areas normally seen as unconnected. He rejected the notion of history being a continuous linear development from past to present, and from cause to effect. He opines that no historical event has a single cause rather, each event is tied into a vast web of economic, social and political factors. Stephen Greenlatt, Michel Foucault, Louis Montrose, Hayden White and Catherine Gallaher are some of the proponents of New Historicism. II. Tenets New Historicists aim simultaneously to understand the work through its historical context and to understand cultural and intellectual history through literature. New Historicism seeks to find meaning in a text by considering the work within the framework of the prevailing ideas and assumptions of its historical era. New Historicists concern themselves with the concept of power, the intricate means by which cultures produce and reproduce themselves. These critics focus on revealing the historically specific model of truth and authority reflected in a given work (Abrams, 1999). A major exponent of the theory, Louis A. Montrose (198918) proffers an explanation on the new attached to New Historicism. In his comparative analysis of New Historicism and the older historical criticism, he avers that The newer historical criticism is new in its refusal of unproblematized distinctions between literature and history, between text and context, new in resisting a prevalent tendency to posit and privilege a unified and autonomus individual-whether an Author or a Work-to be set against a social or literary background. Louis Montroses aforestated explanation attempts to clarify any form of confusion that might be sparked by the word new in New Historicism. New Historicism is decidedly not new in the real sense of the word as the majority of the literary critics who flourished between 1920 and 1950 explored literary texts historical contexts, and based their interpretations on the interplay between the literary texts and the historical contexts, such as the authors life or intentions in writing the work. Knowing something about the London of William Blakes time, for example, would boost readers appreciation and comprehension of the power of Blakes protest against horrific social conditions and the institutions of church and state held responsible for permitting such conditions to thrive. In his poem, London, Blake discusses the chimney sweepers, who were typically young children small enough to fit inside a chimney, and whose poverty-stricken parents sent to a kind of work that drastically curtailed not only their childhood but also their lives. While the new in New Historicism has enjoyed a number of critical enquiries, the suffix ism in the literary theory has agitated a disproportionately few critical minds. Jane Marcus (1989132) opens her essay with an incisive comment on the suffix The sign of the suffix in the name of the New Historicism indicates a radical dissociation from history as an autonomous form of intellectual enquiry. The ism signifies philosophical cynicism about what can be known about reality, past or present. As a literary critical practice, New Historicism names itself as an operation upon a text with no pretensions toward truth value. As an enhancement of the text, it is the setting for the jewel, the scenery for the play. The text is the thing, of course. The dearth of critical discussions on the ism in New Historicism is, perhaps, a reflection of the commonplace nature of words ending with ism. Capitalism, socialism, communism, journalism, realism, Marxism, post-modernism, and colonialism are examples of such works. A significant difference between the earlier historical criticism and New Historicism is the newer varietys emphasis on analyzing historical documents with the same intensity and scrutiny given foregrounded passages in the literary works to be interpreted (Robert Di Yanni, 2004). For example, in reading Bode Sowandes historical play, Tornadoes Full of Dreams (1990) which was inspired by the French Revolution of 1789, a New Historicist would pay as much attention to the historical documents and accounts of the period when the play was published as to the details of incidents and language in the story itself. The historical documents would be read to ascertain prevailing cultural attitudes about the French Revolution. In addition, the New Historicist critics would also typically compare the prevailing cultural attitudes about this issue today with those of the times in which the story was written. In a similar vein, Chimamanda Adichies award-winning novel and literary masterpiece, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) is a shining example of a literary work which lends itself to a New Historicist criticism. It was published in 2006. It was based on the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 to 1970, a war which rocked the foundation of the country, culminating in the tragic death of millions of Nigerians and in the annihilation of several places. The wound inflicted by the brutal war has not completely healed out up till today. Remarkably, the novelist was not yet borne during the pogrom, yet she was able to write a literary masterpiece on an incident she never directly witnessed. In using the New Historicist approach to analyse Half of a Yellow Sun, the critic would delve into how Chimamanda Adichie has interpreted the events of the Nigerian Civil War, and what do the interpretations reveal about the author that is, in what ways do prevailing cultural attitudes about this issue today affect the writers style. The New Historicist critics might also typically compare prevailing cultural attitudes about the issue which serves as the background of the story with those of the times in which the story was written. Robert Di Yanni (2004 386) sheds more light on this One common strategy of new historicist critics is to compare and contrast the language of contemporaneous documents and literary works to reveal, hidden assumptions, biases, and cultural attitudes that relate the two kinds of texts, literary and documentary, usually to demonstrate how the literary work shares the cultural assumptions of the documents. Another significant tenet of the New Historicist is its concern with examining the power relations of rulers and subjects. Many New Historicist critics assume that texts, not only literary works but also documents, diaries, records, and even institutions such as hospitals and prisons are ideological products culturally constructed from the prevailing power structures that dominate particular societies. Reading a literary work from a New Historicist perspective thus becomes an exercise in uncovering the conflicting and subversive perspectives of the marginalized and the suppressed. These issues will be investigated in the analyses of the selected literary texts. Unlike critics who limit their analysis of a literary work to its language and structure, (notably formalist and deconstructive critics), the New Historicists devote a great deal of time to analyzing the literary texts and the non-literary texts from the same time in which the literary work was written. They subject both the literary texts and the non-literary texts which must have influenced the writing of the literary texts into approximately the same measure of scrutiny. The New Historicists give equal critical weight to analyzing the ways in which literature and historical texts negotiate social and political power. The literary text is not prioritised or privileged in any new historicist essay. As a literary theory, therefore, New Historicism demonstrates how literary works of art reveal historical truth and how writers subjectively communicate their artistic judgement. Steven Lynn (1998 131) gives three fundamental assumptions of New Historicism as history is knowable only in the sense that all texts are knowable that is, by interpretation, argument and speculation literature is not simply a mirror of historical reality history in fact is not a mirror of historical reality. Literature is shaped by history, and even shapes history. It is also distorted by history, and is even discontinuous with history historians and literary critics must view the facts of history subjectively. The New Historicist critics view literature from a plethora of vantage points such as history, sociology, anthropology, popular culture, politics and religion. This singular fact further makes New Historicism such an engaging theory and such a rewarding enterprise as it views history broadly to include all of the cultural, social, political, and anthropological discourses at work in any given age. The examination of diverse texts can uncover the extent to which power relations organize and promote accepted social thought and behaviours through discourse-language that signifies a conventional and authoritative way of thinking acceptable to the society at a particular time. New Historicists argue that dominant discourses organize society in ways that make any challenge to endorsed patterns of thinking appear deviant. (Lynn, 1998141). New Historicism frequently addresses the idea that power propels most human actions. Therefore, New Historicism seeks to find examples of power, and how it is dispersed within the literary text. Power is a means through which the marginalized are controlled, and the thing that the marginalized seek to gain. New Historicism seeks to locate sites of struggle, to identify just who is the group or entity with the most power. Again, New Historicist critics also integrate a variety of critical approaches to their literary enterprise. Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Marxism, deconstruction and postmodernism are notable examples of literary theories that have been directly linked with New Historicism by literary critics of no mean stature and exponents of the theory. Judith Lowder Newton (1989 152) maps out the interrelationships between feminism and New Historicism. She decries the initial neglect of the feminist theories by the New Historicists who carry on their discussions on New Historicism as if it is an exclusive male preserve in which women had no significant no input. She stresses the invaluable contributions of feminist labour to the development of New Historicism and other literary/historical enterprises. To substantiate her point, Judith Lowder Newton (1989 153) states that The post-modernist assumptions which inform new history and new historicism, for example, were partly generated by the theoretical breaks of the second wave of the womens movement, by feminist, criticism Finally, for New Historicist critics, history does not provide mere background against which to study literary works, but is, rather, an equally monumental text one that is ultimately inseparable from the literary work. This inevitably reveals the conflicting power relations that underpin all human interactions, ranging from the modest interactions with families to the large-scale interactions of social institutions. Our discussion on the tenets of New Historicism would be inadequate without providing a checklist of New Historicist salient critical questions. Paraphrasing John Brannigan (1998 6), these essentially are when was the work written When was it published How was it received by the critics and the public Why what does the works reception reveal about the standards of taste and value during its period of publication and review what social attitudes and cultural practices connected to the action of the literary work were prevalent during the time the work was written and published what kinds of power relations does the work describe, reflect, or embody how do the power relations reflected in the literary work manifest themselves in the cultural practices and social institutions prevalent during the work was written and published. what other types of historical documents, cultural artifacts, or social institutions might be analyzed in conjunction with particular literary works How might a close reading of such a non-literary text illuminate those literary works to what extent can we understand the past as it is reflected in the literary work To what extent does the work reflect differences from the ideas and values of its time Some of these questions are of urgent currency in African literary discourse, and have not been thoroughly and adequately addressed even in studies that have employed New Historicism as a tool of analysis of African literary texts. III. Uses New Historicism has given scholars new opportunities to cross the boundaries separating history, anthropology, sociology, art, politics, literature and economics. (Veeser, 19893). This inter-disciplinary approach has immeasurably enriched not only literature but also the other subjects. It has whittled down the doctrine of non-interference that forbade humanists from probing into the questions of politics, power and all matters that affect peoples practical lives. Literary writers are social commentators who employ their literary works as a vehicle to examine issues which affect the human society. Take, for instance, the issue of power and politics. Down the ages, the human race has been preoccupied with politics, and the type of leaders and rulers who hold the mantles of leadership. Different shades of leaders such as dictators, corrupt leaders and great leaders have been privileged enough to pilot the affairs of various countries. Such an issue is addressed in New Historicism studies. Critics might examine the life of the author and scrutinize historical sources such as newspaper reports, letters or journal accounts or even cast their net more widely to look at medical or penal records, advertisement or other more obscure documentary sources. The analysis of this legion of texts alongside literature enables New Historicists to unravel evidence of widespread power structures operating in society. They then identify potential patterns of subversion that expose networks of power operating across texts. In addition, the fact that New Historicism integrates a number of critical approaches such as feminism, Marxism, deconstruction and psychoanalysis makes it a particularly useful and interesting literary theory. Again, by its use of the prism of history to clarify and explain elements of the literary work, whether in examining intellectual currents, explaining social conditions, or presenting cultural attitudes, New Historicism contributes tremendously towards the understanding of literary works. IV. Relevance to the Study One overarching reason for settling for New Historicism as a tool of the analysis of the selected literary texts is that since a good number of the selected texts are unquestionably historical African drama, a literary theory with an eye on history will be most appropriate for the analysis. New Historicism will guide the study in appreciating how literary productions are grounded in particular historical realities and manifest certain ideologies. Furthermore, a good number of previous studies on the selected literary texts have employed the older form of historical criticism which is still in use today. The focus has been on reading a literary work with a sense of the time and place of its creation. This is necessary, insists historical critics, because every literary work is a product of its time and its world. Historians and literary critics can therefore view the facts of history objectively. The fact that this study veers away from the older form of historical criticism and settles for New Historicism as a theoretical framework makes it refreshing and rewarding. The study will enrich literary scholarship. Another relevance of New Historicism as the theoretical framework of this study is that the idea of text and performance is the pivot of this study. The concepts of text and textuality permeates New Historicism. Louis A. Montrose (198920), one of the proponents New Historicism, captures it succinctly as the historicity of the text and the textuality of history. This implies that we can have no access to a full and authentic past, a lived material existence, unmediated by the surviving textual traces of the society in question. Another notable exponent of New Historicism, Hayden White (1989 297) gives an apposite remark that every approach to the study of the past presupposes or entails some version of textualist theory of historical reality of some kind. This is in view of the fact that the historical past is accessible to study only by way of its prior textualizations whether in the form of the documentary record or in the form of the account of what happened in the past written up by historians themselves on the basis of their investigation into the record. The import of Montrose and Whites submissions is that text and history are inextricably interwoven. Performance is also integral to New Historicism. The stage performance of historical drama or movie making of momentous historical event refreshes history before the audiences very eyes. Besides, in the dramatic performances of plays written and published decades or even centuries back, the theatre directors and actors often put the prevailing social attitudes and cultural practices into consideration. 1.8.2. Analytical Models Two analytical models will be employed in this study Foucaults discourse theory and Stephen Greenblatts subversion-containment dialectic. Each of these will be explained. Foucauldian Discourse Theory Foucauldian discourse theory stresses power relations as expressed through language and behavior, and the relationship between language and power. It is based on the theories of the celebrated French philosopher and postmodernist, and one of the proponents of New Historicism, Michel Foucault. To Foucault, power is not exclusively class-related but extending through the society. Foucault argues that power is not merely physical force but a pervasive human dynamic determining our relationships to others. Power is also not necessarily bad since it can be employed productively. Power, to Foucault, is essential to a just society. All people exert a certain power over us insofar as we defer to their needs and desires (M.H. Abrams, 2005218). Power is not exclusively class-related it extends throughout society. It permeates every fabric of the human society. Foucauldian discourse analysis may, for example, look at how figures in authority use language to express their dominance, and request from those subordinate to them. (Michel Foucault,1976). Stephen Greenblatts subversion-containment dialectic Subversion and containment is a concept in literary studies introduced by Stephen Greenblatt in his 1988 essay, Invisible Bullets. It has subsequently gained a wide currency in New Historicist and cultural materialism approaches to textual analysis. The central idea in Stephen Greenblatts subversion-containment dialectic is that, in order to sustain its power, any durable political and cultural order not only to some degree allows, but actively fosters subversive elements and forces, yet in such a way as more effectively to contain such challenges to the existing order (Greenblatt,199655). New Historicism is primarily concerned with the ways in which social power relations are embedded in language. Recognizing the textuality of history, critics agree that a range of texts, including literature, may generate subversive insights. They, however, maintain that any potential for real subversion will be undercut and contained by the text itself. (McAlindon, 1995411). This crucial principle of New Historicist thinking emphasizes that ultimately there is no space in literature for effective resistance to authoritative social power. All texts will eventually contain and undermine their potential for subversion by submitting to and reinforcing the dominant social thinking of the day. 1.9 Delimitation of the Scope of Study This study examines the nexus between text and performance in selected Anglophone African plays. The eight selected plays are Tawfiq al-Hakims Fate of a Cockroach, Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa, Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road, Francis Imbugas Betrayal in the City, Athol Fugards Blood Knot, Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja, Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, and Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman. The choice of the selected texts is informed by the fact that the African geographical spread of North Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa and West Africa are represented. Furthermore, the interplay between history and African drama is one of the central issues to be addressed in the study. Some of the selected plays exemplify historical African drama. The thematic continuity and discontinuity of the selected texts also largely informed the choice of the selected texts. Text and performance are central to the study. The research settles for stage productions of good quality. 1.10 Limitations of the Study This study has a few limitations. The researcher only succeeded in watching the stage performances of the six of the eight selected plays. The remainng two plays, Betrayal in the City and Blood Knot were staged outside Nigeria. Betrayal in the City was staged in Kenya while Blood Knot was staged in Germany. Due to financial contraints, the researcher could not travel abroad to watch these stage performances. However, the video recordings of the stage performances of these two plays were watched, and all the dramatic texts and the stage performances were subjected to literary analysis and performance critique. Another limitation of the study is that the high level of difficulty involved in getting the sparing staging of the selected stage plays denied the researcher of the opportunity of considering the repetitiveness of the stage performances. The theatre arts departments of Nigerian universities and professional theatre groups are spoilt for choice in their selection of Anglophone African dramatic texts to stage. In order to mitigate the effect of the lack of repititiveness of the stage performances, stage productions of standard qualities are employed in the study. 1.11. Definitions of Terms i. Historicism According to Jeffrey Kahan (19971202), historicism is a theory that all cultural phenomena are historically determined and that historians must study each period without imposing any personal or absolute value system. Fredric Jameson (19966) defines historicism as our relationship to the past, and of our possibility of understanding the latters monuments, artifacts, and traces. ii. New Historicism According to Michael Meyer (2004718), New Historicism is an approach to literature that emphasizes the interaction between a works historical context and a modern readers understanding and interpretation of the work. New Historicists aim simultaneously to understand the work through its historical context and to understand cultural and intellectual history through literature, which documents the new discipline of the history of ideas. Louis Montrose (1989 20) refers to it as a reciprocal concern with the historicist of the text and the textuality of history. It is based on parallel reading of literary and non-literary texts of the same historical period. iii. Text Roland Barthes (198132) defines text as the phenomenal surface of the literary work it is the fabric of the words which make up the work and which are arranged in such a way as to impose a meaning which is stable and as far as possible. Jonathan Culler (19976) views text as any object that can be read, whether the object is a work of literature, a street sign, an arrangement of buildings on a city block or styles of clothing. iv. Performance Performance is an artistic actualization and creative representation of action. Margaret Drewal (19923) describes it as an inter-textual activity which is based on either an idea, an earlier performance, myth or rehearsal of the last performance. Leach (20086) defines performance as any piece of behavior/doing/action which is in some way marked off, or framed. v. Drama in English In its widest sense, drama is any work designed to be prevented by actors. It is a real or fictional depiction of characters and events presented to an audience. Nwabueze (2011) defines drama as a work of art which delineates human life and activity through the presentation of actions by means of dialogue between groups of characters. Though a literary work, drama is primarily designed to be acted on stage. This is why it is referred to as the playwrights act. vi. Dramatic Text Teodorescu-Brinzeu (19811) defines the dramatic text as a permanent set of ordered verbal elements that are in some way related by the mediation of the stage directions to performance actions and stage devices. Cheela Chilala (2012) views the dramatic text as the text of the play before it is performed. vii.African Drama Ola Rotimi (19911) in his inaugural lecture African Drama Literature To Be or To Become defines African dramatic literature as that kind of written drama that treats an African experience. viii.Anglophone According to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 9th Edition, Anglophone is a person who speaks English, especially in countries where English is not the only language that is spoken. The American Heritage of the English Language, 4th Edition defines it as an English-speaking person, especially one in a country where two or more languages are spoken. CHAPTER TWO NEW HISTORICISM AND TEXT AND PERFORMANCE IN AFRICAN DRAMA A CRITIQUE 2.1 An Introduction In this chapter, our focus shall be on a review of relevant literature on the field of research. We shall commence the literature review with an overview of historical criticism. The fact that New Historicism is a category of historical criticism and the need to further illuminate the theory of New Historicism necessitate this. The old historical approach to literary criticism which plays a significant role in the emergence of New Historicism will be examined a comparative analysis will be done between it and New Historicism. The focus of the review of the relevant literature will then shift a discussion on the interplay between history and drama. This is an issue that has engaged many literary scholars and critics. Some of their opinions shall be reviewed. The discussion will then segue into an examination of history and African drama. The nexus between text and performance in drama, and between Anglophone African dramatic texts and their stage performances will be discussed. Finally, the few instances of studies in African drama by literary scholars who employed New Historicism shall be evaluated. 2.2 An Overview of Historical Criticism Historical criticism has two basic categories or forms the traditional Historicism and New Historicism. Since New Historicism which is the theoretical framework of this study is a major form of historical criticism, there is a compelling need to explicate on the traditional Historicism which can be likened to the womb which conceived New Historicism. Remarkably, the traditional historicism which is an historical approach to literary interpretation and analysis lost its appeal considerably in the mid-twentieth century in the wake of the emergence and trenchant entry of the New Criticism into the literary criticism turf. M.H. Abrams (2005216) traced the popularity of the New Criticism to the publication of John Crowe Ransoms The New Criticism in 1941. Prior to the emergence of the New Criticism, scholars, critics, and teachers of that era were intensely interested in the biographies of authors, in the social contexts of literature, in the background information that would demystify the text, and in the literary history. As if on a dogged mission to unsettle the preoccupations of these scholars, critics, and teachers, the New Criticism, according to M.H Abrams (2005 216) insists that the proper concern of literary criticism is not with the external circumstances or effects or historical position of a work, but with a detailed consideration of the work itself as an independent entity. The New Criticism regards a literary work, be it a poem, a novel, a short story or a play as an independent and self-sufficient verbal object, which must be pared of every conceivable background information. The term New Criticism is typically employed for the literary theory and criticism that began with the work of I. A. Richards and T. S. Eliot before the war in England. It was later continued and popularized by notable figures such as John Crowe Ransom, W. K. Wimsatt, Allen Tate and Cleanth Brooks in the United States of America in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, The theory exerted a great deal of influence in American literary criticism and literary turf until late in the 1960s when it was barraged with valid grounds of objection by critics of various hues (Brooks, 1979598). David Robey (198272) highlights the fundamental affinities between the Russian Formalist and the New Criticism as their mutual call for a renewed attention to literature as literature, their endowment of centrality to the concepts of structure and interrelatedness and, perhaps most significantly, their treatment of the literary text as an object primarily independent of its author and its historical context. He posits that the fact that the New critics are oblivious of the work of the Formalists and their successors further accentuates the striking nature of these affinities. The fact that the New Criticism assumed the dimension of the orthodoxy of the classrooms contributed immeasurably towards its popularity. However, with the grand entry of European literary theory into British and American academic life, its prestige has waned considerably. New Historicism developed during the 1980s, largely in reaction to the text-only approach pursued by formalist New Critics and the critics who challenged the New Criticism m the 1970s. New Historicists, like formalists and their critics, acknowledge the importance of the literary text, but they also analyze the text with an eye to history. The older form of historical criticism which is still in use today involves the reading of a literary work with the sense of the time and place of its creation. (D. G. Myers, 1989). The historical critics hinged the approach on the undeniable fact that every literary work is a product of its time and its world. D. G. Myers (19894) sums it up that understanding the social background and the intellectual currents of that time and that world illuminate literary works for later generation of readers. The traditional historical approach involves a thorough grasp of the events and experiences surrounding the composition of the literary work, especially the life of the author, and using the findings to interpret that work of literature. For example, using the approach to analyse Bode Sowandes award-winning play, Tornadoes Full of Dreams (1990) the critic needs a background knowledge of the famous 1789 French Revolution, a landmark event in France and Europe during the period. The consummate playwright did not mince words concerning the historical source of the play Tornadoes Full of Dreams was specially commissioned as part of the bicentenary celebration of 1789 French Revolution by the Embassy of France, Lagos, Nigeria, and the Ministry of Culture, Paris, which hosted my cultural trip to France. (Tornadoes Full of Dreams, v) In Tornadoes Full of Dreams, Bode Sowande takes a successful stab at revolutionary drama based on a momentous, awesome historical event – the French Revolution of 1789. In the Authors Note, he acknowledges how prodigious and profound the historical event his drama is based on is The canvas given to me by history, upon which I have painted Tornadoes Full of Dreams is vast. The award-winning play goes a long way in enhancing Bode Sowandes literary stature as a playwright. The English playwright Robert Bolts best known and most acclaimed play, A Man for All Seasons (1960) is based on the true story of Sir Thomas More, the 16th Century Lord Chancellor of England who was vehemently opposed to King Henry VIlls wish to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon over her failure to bear him a surviving son, so as to pave way for the kings marriage of Anne Boleyn, his former mistresss sister. The play vividly portrays More as a man of principle, envied by rivals such as Thomas Cromwell and loved and admired by the common people and by his forthright wife, Alice More and quick-witted daughter, Margaret Roper. Mores refusal to take an oath supporting the divorce culminated in his arrest and subsequent execution. Like Sowandes Tornadoes Full of Dreams which is a study in simplicity, Bolt in A Man for All Seasons presents a relatively simplified version of the afore-stated historical event. In a similar vein, employing the approach in the critical appraisal of the Nigerian playwright, Wale Ogunyemis Queen Amina of Zazaau (1999), the critics need to acquaint themselves with the story of the legend, Queen Amina who surmounted all the odds stacked against her to become the ruler of the present-day Zaria and led her warriors to a series of battles that bestowed an enduring fame on her and catapulted Zaria into glory, which the ancient city still enjoys till date. Also, in analysing Toni Morrisons first dramatic outing, Dreaming Emmett (1986) using the old historical approach, the critic must study the historical, background of the play. It was inspired by a tragic, epoch-making incident which occurred 30 years prior to the production and publication of the play. According to Stephen J. Whitfield (2003), the incident was the case of Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old Mississippi youth who was brutally murdered in the Mississippi Delta on 28 August, 1955, and became the most celebrated victim of racial violence in American history. While on a short visit to relatives, Till entered a store in Leflore country and apparently whistled or made remarks toward a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, the 21-year-old wife of the absent owner of the store. The prank was interpreted as sexual insults. Carolyns husband, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, J. W. Milam abducted Till from the home of his great-uncle, Moses Wright, beat him to stupor, murdered him and, in sheer wickedness, almost beyond belief, dumped the corpse into the Tallahatchie River. Bryant and Milam were prosecuted a month later, and were acquitted by a jury of twelve men. The incident generated global attention and the acquittal of the perpetrators of the dastardly act sparked global outrage. Margaret Croyden (1985) pays a glowing tribute to Toni Morrison for stunning many a literary critic and reader across the glove for taking a giant leap into the world of drama This venture into theatre is a brave act for a novelist, even for one so distinguished as Toni Morrison. Not only does any new play invite sharp scrutiny at a time when serious drama is in decline, but novelists turned dramatists have historically failed in their efforts to move from printed page to the boards. Prior to the production and publication of the play, Toni Morrison had distinguished herself as a world-class novelist following the multiple awards, rave critical reviews and phenomenal commercial success of her novels such as Tar Baby (1981), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon(1970) and Beloved (1987). Between July 1967 and January 1970, the Nigerian Civil War raged and, like many other wars, culminated in the death of millions of Nigerians, the annihiliation of several towns and the wanton destruction of valuable property. Several novels such as Elechi Amadis Sunset in Biafra (1973), Chukwuemeka Ikes Sunset At. Dawn (1976), Eddie Irohs Forty-Eight Guns for the General (1976), Festus lyayis Heroes (1986), Isidore Okpewhos The Last Duty(1976) and Chimamanda Adichies Half of a Yellow. Some were inspired by the events of the Nigerian Civil War. Plays such as Chukwuma Okoyes We the Beast (2002) and Elechi Amadis The Road to Ibadan (1977) are also set against the background of the pogrom. The analyses of these literary works using the historical criticism approach require of the critic to situate the works against the background of the Nigerian Civil War which furnished the writers with sufficient materials to, paraphrasing Layiwola (2003), select and conflate in the process of compressing the historical events of years into relatively short plays and novels. Before delving into a comparison between how the old historical approach and the New Historicism, defining the word history will be apposite at this juncture. Websters Third New International Dictionary gives three definitions of the word history as (a) a narrative of events connected with a real or imaginary object, person, or career, (b) the events that form the subject matter of a history (c) a systematic written account comprising a chronological record of events and usually including a philosophical explanation of the cause and origin of events. The old historical perspective viewed history as a monolithic structure that culminated in a complete and objective presentation of the past. Jean Howard (19876) states that the old historical literary criticism made three crucial suggestions. Firstly, history is knowable. By implication, history is unchangeable, a static entity that can be memorized and mastered. Furthermore, literature mirrors or at least indirectly reflects historical reality. The inference that can be drawn from this submission is that a study of historical literary texts furnishes the reader with the idea of the historical realities of the events on which the literary works are based. For example, a careful reading of the Irish dramatist, Oscar Wildes highly successful plays, The Importance of Being Earnest (1899) and An Ideal Husband (1895) would educate the reader on at least some of the distinguishing features of the Victorian Era, the period from 1837 to 1901 when Queen Victoria ruled Britain Finally, according to Jean Howard (19877), the old historical criticism suggested that historians and literary critics can see the facts of history objectively. A work of historical criticism posits a thesis about the author or the time period based on the subject. Thus, historical criticism examines texts in a similar fashion as a historian views historical documents, in order to unravel what they reveal about the historical and socio-cultural circumstances in which they were produced. New Historicism shares this interest in the historical context within which texts were produced. It also acknowledges that the act of reading texts is as much a product of the historical context within which it is done as the writing of texts is. It, invariably, views interpretation as both a creative activity and an interminable process, as each successive generation of readers experiences texts from the past from the perspective of new social/historical context (Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt, 2000). Peter Barry (2002 172) dismisses the old historical criticisms perception of history as being rather too simplistic and defines New Historicism as a method based on the parallel reading of literary and non-literary texts, usually of the same historical period. The import of this is that New Historicism refuses (at least ostensibly) to privilege the literary text. It vitiates the overarching tenet of the old historical criticism of a literary foreground and a historical background and propagates a mode of analysis in which literary and non-literary texts are given equal weight and constantly inform or interrogate each other. Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt (200019) in their landmark work. Practising New Historicism are undeniably on the same page with Peter Barry on New Historical critics peculiar approach to literary and non-literary texts. They point at new historicists expending of more time on the analyses of non-literary texts from the same time in which the literary work was written. On the New Historical critics view on history, they opine that For new historicist critics, history does not provide mere background against which to study literary works, but is, rather, an equally important text, one that is ultimately inseparable from the literary work, which inevitably reveals the conflicting power relations that underlie all human interaction, from the small-scale interactions with families to the large-scale interactions of social institutions. The image of a typical family in modern industrial societies is that of a wife and husband plus a young child or children. This is known as the nuclear family or the conjugal family. In some cases, the two adults in the family may not be legally married that is, they cohabit. The extended family (sometimes referred to as the consanguine family) comprises the basic nuclear family unit together with other relatives, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Living in the same residence is not mandatory for a family to be called an extended family. The formation of a close-knit unit for religious, social and economic purposes is the basic requirement .What interests us primarily here is that subsisting in these family types is the conflicting power relations among the father, the mother, the children and the various members of the family. The aforementioned succinctly captures the depth of application of New Historicism which permeates the fabric of the human society. Ranging from the family which is the smallest unit of any society to large-scale social institutions, all evince conflicting power relations and establish the growing relevance of New Historicism. The New Historicists are less fact and event-oriented than historical critics used to be. A possible reason adduced for this by Ross Murfm and Supryra M. Ray (199816) is that the New Historicists have come to wonder whether the truth about what really happened can ever be purely or objectively known. They are less inclined to view history as linear and progressive, and as something developing toward the present. They are also less likely to view history m terms of specific eras, each characterized by a definite, persistent, and consistent zeitgeist (spirit of the times), In view of this, it is most improbable that they would suggest that a literary text has a single or easily identifiable historical context. For Carolyn Porter (1988-745), the difference between old historicism and New Historicism is that with the latter, the concept of power has replaced that of progress and its associations with the assumptions of the Enlightenment. New Historicism critics also discemibly offer a broader definition of history than their predecessors (Ross Murfin and Supryia M. Ray, 1998). Unlike older historicists proclivity to view history as literatures background and the social sciences as being properly historical, the New Historicist critics view history as a social science like anthropology and sociology. With the New Historicists, the dividing line between historical and literary materials gets thinner and thinner. They, for instance, can demonstrate not only that the production of any of William Shakespeares historical plays such as Henry IV was both a political act and a historical event, but also that the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 1 was executed with the same care for staging and symbol lavished on dramatic literary texts. Lois Tyson (2006 291) comments on the New Historicist critics handling of literary texts in a way in which the critics consider literary texts to be cultural artifacts that can tell us something about the interplay of discourses, the web of social meanings, operating in the time and place in which the text was written. In a similar fashion with Peter Barry (2002) and Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt (2000), Lois Tyson (2006 292) states that The New Historical critics argue that the literary text and the historical situation from which it emerged are equally important because text (the literary work) and context (the historical conditions that produced it) are mutually constitutive they create each other. Therefore, a New Historicist critic would ask not only what the Victorian Era can reveal to us about Oscar Wildes The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband but what these two plays can tell us about the Victorians. John Brannigan (19988) in his revealing work, New Historicism and Cultural Materialism draws a comparison between the old historical criticism and the New Historicisms opinion on history. According to him, unlike the earlier historical criticism which viewed history as stable, linear and recoverable, New Historicism views history sceptically. To the New Historicist critics, historical narrative is inherently subjective, but also more broadly history includes all of the cultural, social, political, and anthropological discourses at work in any-given age, and these various texts are unranked. Any text may yield information valuable in understanding a particular milieu. Like most other New Historicist critics, John Brannigan foregrounds the significance of cultural, social, political, and anthropological discourses as integral aspects of history which the critic must consider with an unqualified enthusiasm. Rather than forming a backdrop, the many discourses at work at any given time affect both an author and his/her text. Both are inescapably part of a social construct. New Historicism explores how literary interpretations are largely influenced by the culture of the various interpreters. An online source, C. Dixon (2011) in his incisive article aptly entitled New Historicism focuses on the basic tenets of New Historicism. On the issue of culture, he observes how the New Historicist critics might characteristically compare prevailing cultural attitudes about the issue being examined with those of the times in which the story was written, He mentions the common strategist of New Historicist critics which is to compare and contrast the language of contemporaneous documents and literary works to reveal hidden assumptions, biases, and cultural attitudes that relate the two kinds of texts, literary and documentary. With devastating precision, the critic would demonstrate how the literary work shares the cultural assumptions of the document. M. H. Abrams (2005220) lends his instructive voice to the New Historicist critics evaluation of history. We will quote him at some length because of the pertinence of his statement To the new historicist critics, history is not a homogenous and stable pattern of facts and events which serve as the background to the literature of an era, or which literature can be said simply to reflect … In contrast to such views, a literary text is said by the new historicists to be thoroughly embedded in its context, and in a constant interaction and interchange with other components inside the network of institutions, beliefs, and cultural power relationships, practices, and products that, in their ensemble, constitute what we call history. M. H. Abrams here suggests that in the writing of literary texts, writers, whether they admit it or not, are greatly influenced by the prevailing beliefs, cultural practices and situations in their societies. Opinions on various issues affecting the society do change with time, in consonance with the dynamic nature of human society. For example, the ushering in of a new government in any society may be greeted by a wave of optimism and a ray of hope and promises. The passage of time could make the citizens of the country to sing a new tune due to the steady loss of popularity of such a leader. These current trends on issues are embedded in the literary texts. The discernible dissimilarities between Ola Rotimis Ovanramwen Nogbaisi (1974) and Ahmed Yerimas The Trials of Oba Ovonramwen (1998) presently illustrate this. Despite the fact that both plays have the same subject matter (Oba Ovonramwen), the time interval between the two publications (24 years) must have contributed immensely towards the remarkable differences in the portrayal of the protagonist of the two plays. Interestingly, we are yet to hear the last on the Oba Ovonramwen saga. In 2014, a popular Nollywood movie producer and director, Lancelot Imasuen produced a blockbuster movie, The Invasion 1897 which is based on Oba Ovonramwen. The movie focuses on the reaction of the British to the murder of Vice Consul Phillips and the other British men who daringly came into the Benin Kingdom during the Ague festival when the Benin customs and tradition expressly forbade such visit. Legend has it that the desire to exploit the bountiful resources, especially oil, which the Benin Kingdom is endowed with beclouded the Vice Consul and the other British mens sense of judgement. Not unexpectedly, the British government retaliated the murder by the invasion of the Benin Kingdom in 1897. They plundered the land, killed many, destroyed their statutes and many other sacred objects, and deported Oba Ovonramwen to Calabar where he eventually died in ignominy in 1914. The subjective perception of the various facts that are gleaned from historical account is a central concept in New Historicism. Jonathan Dollimore (1999 xxviii) describes the task as a critique of the way literary critics have reproduced Renaissance drama in terms of a modern subjectivity, and an attempt to recover a more adequate history of subjectivity. Hayden White (1989 291) hints further on the historical strains in New Historicism thus New Historicists present their project as little more than an attempt to restore a historical dimension to American literary studies. On the face of it, they wish only to supplement prevailing formalist principles by extending attention to the historical contexts in which literary texts originate. History is unquestionably the nuts and bolts of the New Historicism. 2.3 The Interplay Between Drama and History John J. Anderson (19463) defines history as a narration of the events which have happened among mankind, including an account of the rise and fall of nations, as well as of other great changes which have affected the political and social conditions of the human race. The English archaeologist Kris Hirst (200946) views history as the study of the human past as it is described in the written documents left by human beings. Remarkably, in his seminal work, What Is History the renowned English historian, Edward Harlett Carr (19613) shares a similar opinion with the proponents of New Historicism- a subjective view of history. Carr asserts that historians selectively choose which facts of the past to turn into historical facts or which information historians have decided as significant. In other words, historical accounts are not necessarily complete accounts of historical events. To illustrate his point on historians selective choice of facts of the past, he notes that millions of humans have crossed the Rubicon river in Northeastern Italy, but that historians have only chosen to treat the crossing of the Rubicon by Julius Caesar in 49 BCE as an important historical fact. He defines history as a continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts, an unending dialogue between the past and the present. A similar subjective view of history is evident in Thomas Knipps (198040) who defines history as myth and the reorganization of the past according to the present needs. The New Historicist critics would find Knipps definition of history discernibly appealing as it is in tandem with their view of history. According to New Historicism, the prevailing cultural assumptions and the needs of the present which are of urgent currency profoundly influence the writers presentation of historical literary works. Unlike Edward Carr, Alun Munslow (20014) takes an objective view of history. History, according to him, is the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyze a sequence of past events, and objectively determines the patterns of cause and effect that determine them. Brian Joseph (20082) succinctly defines history as the study of the past, particularly how it relates to humans. Karin Barber (199150) refers to history as the past or record of past events. In consonance with the scope of her study, she gives an explicit, convincing account of how history constitutes a crucial feature of traditional discourse among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. She avers that all elders (in Okuku town) both men and women, recount events remembered from their youth or told them by their parents. Greg Dening (1993 170) also takes a subjective view of history. He states that history is not the past it is a consciousness of the past for present purposes. This is a textbook depiction of New Historicism. Matthew Umukoro (2011168) in his vastly informative book, The Art of Scholarship and the Scholarship of Art defines history as the sum total of the lives of notable personages, great men and women who have left indelible footprints on the sands of time. History is a branch of knowledge that chronicles past events, especially momentous events. It is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation and interpretation of information about these events. History can be described as a consciousness of the past for the present purpose. A good number of widely-acclaimed historical literary works usually chronicle the lives of notable personages who usually resurrect on the pages of the literary writers. The resurrection goes a long way in etching these great historical figures in the minds of the modern day readers, and immortalizing the personalities. This is exemplifies in Ebrahim Husseins historical drama, Kinjeketile (1970) which dramatizes the historical reality of the Maji Maji Uprising in Tanganyika against the German colonisers in 1904, and Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja which explores the history of Afonja, the Aare Ona Kakanfo (Generalissimo) of Yorubaland during the reign of Alaafin Aole, the supreme ruler of Oyo and her vassal states. History remains a consistent and perennially useful source material to playwrights of all generations. Many playwrights across the globe have leaned back on history in their plays. For the playwright, history has usually offered a ready grist to the dramatic mill. The incredibly high corpus of historical plays across the globe lends credence to the veracity of this claim. Examples of American historical drama and European historical drama include Athur Millers The Crucible (1953), Bertolt Brechts The Life of Galileo (1940), Friedrich Schillers The Maid of Orleans (1801), Rolf Hochhuths The Deputy(1963) and The Soldiers (1967), and Robert Bolts A Man for All Seasons. These plays are inspired by key historical incidents. For instance, Arthur Millers The Crucible employs the 1692 witch hunting hysteria which gripped Salem, Massachusetts to comment on the 1959-1964 Senator Joseph McCarthys headed committee on internal security whose witch-hunting of communists in the early 1950s in America was bewilderingly similar to the Salems witch-hunting hysteria. In African drama, historical plays abound. Ahmed Yerimas Attahiru (1999), Wale Ogunyemis The Ijaiye War(1997), and Queen Amina of Zazzau, Wole Soyinkas A Play of Giants (1984) and Death and the Kings Horseman(1975), Ola Rotimis Hopes of the Living Dead (1988) and Ovonramwen Nogbaisi (1974), Leopold Sedor Senghors Chaka, Martin Owusus The Mightier Sword (1973), and Femi Osofisans Morountodun (1982) are examples. Drama is a product of social life, like other genres of literature. This is equally true of history. Dramatists characteristically select materials for their creative output from history. The end-product of this interplay between the dramatist and history is history plays. Ademola Dasylva (199724) defines history plays as attempts at creative documentation of actual events of communal (or national) significance and interest through enactments. One inference that can be drawn from Dasylvas afore-stated definition of history plays is that dramatists typically focus on momentous historical events, and as much as possible, avoid banal historical events which may not excite much interest in the readers (dramatic texts) and the audience (stage performances). As earlier mentioned, dramatists usually source their materials in history in the writing of historical plays. The deathless historical plays of the inimitable English dramatist and poet, William Shakespeare, for example, are principally sourced from Raphael Holinsheds Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (1577, 1587) and Edward Halls The Union of the two noble and illustre families of Lancastre and York (1548). Germaine Greer (1986 88) in his remarkably informative book and deceptively titled book, Shakespeare A Very Short Introduction makes a pungent comment on Shakespeares handling of historical materials Neither historical source is followed to the letter. Shakespeare suppresses materials irrelevant to his dramatic purpose, inverts the order of events, creates important roles for individuals of no historical importance, and telescopes lifetimes into single scenes. Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Richard II and the perennial favourite, Richard III, are notable examples of Shakespeares plays which have revisited momentous pages of rich English history. Commenting on the affinity between the dramatist and the historian, Femi Osofisan (19771) submits that a similarity of purpose unites the playwright and the historiographer, both apparently feeding as contemporaries fashioned by and responding to the same historical mutations, from essentially the same sources. A little deviation from the position above will reveal clearly that historiographers and dramatists differ in the sense that while historiographer talks about what has happened, the dramatist focuses on what may happen. Ahmed Yerima (200361) justifies the link between history and drama as one in which the playwright attempts through his play to offer explanation to a historical event even while forcing on the historical event, his thematic preoccupationhistory is an integral part of the soul of the community. And like myths and folk stories, they form that rich aspect of the cultural heritage which serves as material source for the playwright. The import of the above quotation is that playwrights handling of history goes beyond its dramatization. They redefine history, interrogate it, and draw a connection between the past and the present with a view to projecting into the future. Ngugi wa Thiongo (19816) posits that drama cannot elect to stand alone or to transcend economics, politics, class and race. Drama, by implication, cannot be divorced from the politics and political happenings of its time, which is an integral part of history. Ameh Dennis Akoh (2007 110) gives a breath of fresh air into the battery of discussions on the relationship between history and drama. He examines the inherent limitation of human memories as carriers of historical materials. A major effect of the fallibility of the human memory on historians is the different dimensions facts can take when viewed from different vantage points in time and space, and in society. Drama, according to him, is a not insulated from this selective viewing of facts. Using Ahmed Yerimas two historical plays, The Trials of Oba Owonramwen and Attahiru as primary reference materials, Ameh Dennis Akoh observes Yerimas valiant efforts at paying a great deal of attention to historical authenticity, thereby, wittingly or unwittingly, reducing drama to a footnote of history. The reduction of drama to a footnote of history has been the major criticism that has been leveled against New Historicism by a reputable literary critic, Harold Bloom. Paul Hamilton (199614) in his landmark book, Historicism comments that both history and drama have a common concern with events which are particular and individual rather than instances of the application of a scientific law. Since both disciplines of drama and history have experience as bases, and both deal with human actions and social relations, playwrights would continue to find historical subjects too irresistible to overlook. According to Juris Silenieks (1980161), the process of deploying history in the course of literary creativity is as a result of efforts among writers whose commitments, with the emergence of new geo-political realities are geared towards the task of nation – building, emancipation and accession to national consciousness. The inference that can be drawn from this is that historical drama becomes fashionable among any set of people (notably African dramatists) as it serves as a vehicle to re-present the colonized peoples history and cultural practices which have been denigrated by the colonialists. The dramatists do embark on the literary mission of putting things in proper perspectives both for his or her generation and posterity Michael Etherton (1982 147) poignantly describes the relationship between the two as being paradoxical, in view of the fact that history demands for historical truth while drama requires artistic truth. He downplays the gravity of this conflict by suggesting that drama and history could be conceived as alternatives to each other and as distinctively legitimate discipline that are both governed by different criteria. He remarks that Drama is an art. It is not history. Its principal mode is the creation of an illusion … History, on the other hand, seeks to pierce the illusion of probability and circumstance in order to reach reality it is not satisfied with the obvious reasons but seeks the hidden or underlying causes. At first glance, Michael Ethertons statement suggests that writing an historical drama would not be particularly difficult since all the writer needs to do is to create an illusion using historical events or personages as his or her raw material. This is far from the truth, as writing a historical play poses greater challenges than writing non-historical plays. According to a seasoned Nigerian playwright, Akinwunmi Isola (2008) in an interview he granted with Adedotun Ogundeji, the reason why it is more difficult to write historical plays than non-historical plays is that despite the liberty enjoyed by the historical playwright to modify history for dramatic purpose, there is a limit to how far he or she can go without being accused of the falsification of history. The enormity of the materials before the playwright notwithstanding, there is a limit to how much of it the dramatic medium can absorb. The germane question of historical truth and artistic truth has agitated the mind of the renowned Greek philosopher and critic Aristotle (19424) in his magisterial work, The Poetics where he draws a comparison between the poet (by extension, the writer) and the historian. He asserts that it is not the function of the poet to relate what happened, but what can happen according to the laws of probability or necessity. According to him, the difference between the poet and the historian is that while the historian relates what has happened, the poet focuses on what could happen. This compelling reason makes him to draw the conclusion that poetry was something more philosophic and of more serious import than history because while poetry deals with the general, history concentrates on the limited facts. Historians would find Aristotles rating of poetry over history highly debatable, and could conclude that his being a writer could have informed the subjectivity of his statement. However, rather than lapsing into an invidious comparison between these two subjects with a view to determining which of them is of greater importance, we strongly believe that a critical shift into the subsisting symbiotic relationship between these two subjects would be a far more rewarding enterprise On the issue of historical truth and artistic truth, Friedrich Schiller (1974 456) holds a similar view with Aristotle when he remarked that it is an obligation for tragedy to subject historical truth to the laws of poetry and to treat its matter in conformity with requirements of this art. Schillers assertion blatantly propagates the notion of poetry playing a significant role in shaping historical truth. The globally-acclaimed proponents of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1976) contributed to this growing debate by assessing the celebrated German-Jewist jurist, philosopher, and political activist, Ferdinand Lassalles work. In this evaluation, they apparently favour a radical treatment of history in which the laws of historical truth and artistic truth are balanced, one against the other, and in which relations between classes and the production process are artistically adequately represented. A contrary view is held by the German playwright, Rolf Hochhuth. In an interview he granted Martin Esslin on the subject of artistic truth and documentation, he states that I do not think that the author of historical plays is entitled to invent vital incidents. In fact I think that in doing so, he would ruin himself artistically. For example, in his Maid of Orleans, Schiller made Joan die a heroic death on the battlefield instead of showing her real end at the stake. Shaw stuck to the facts, and I find his ending infinitely more moving. Here, Rolf Hochhuth compares two playwrights, Friedrich Schiller and Bernard Shaws handling of the same historical materials differently in their dramatic outings. The deployment of the same historical materials in the writing of historical plays is not unusual. Ola Rotimis Ovonramwen Nogbaisi and Ahmed Yerimas The Trial of Oba Ovonramwen are both dramatic resurrections of the coming of British officials to the Benin Empire between 1888 and 1897 and the turbulent reign of Ovonramwen, the Oba of Benin during those years, culminating in his ignominious dethronement and deportation to Calabar where he later died controversially. In a similar vein, Ola Rotimis Kurunmi and Wale Ogunyemis Ijaye War are both largely inspired by the Yoruba Ijaye war of the nineteenth century. Charles Nnolim (20122) in his highly informative book, Issues in African Literature mentions past historical events as one of the diverse major sources of a finished literary work. Sketching characters from people the writer has known in real life, contemporary events, and a visual impression or a dream or a previously heard story are the other possible sources of a literary work identified by this distinguished critic of African literature. Femi Shaka (2001 181) outlines four primary reasons why playwrights across the ages have resorted to history in their creative enterprise. The first reason, according to him, is the desire to employ history to comment on contemporary issues of the playwrights time. Bertolt Brechts play, The Life of Galileo which roundly condemned authoritarianism in modern societies through recourse to the Catholic Churchs authoritarianism in the Medieval and Renaissance periods, and also castigated the devastating consequences of monstrous scientific researches on humanity following the annihilation of hundreds of thousands of people when the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, exemplifies such historical plays. The second category of historical plays, in Femi Shakes opinion, are those written to correct prejudicial cultural and historical opinions. Soyinkas Death and the Kings Horseman exemplifies this category. The primary objective of this globally-acclaimed play is cultural and historical affirmation. Soyinka (1976iv) hints on the cultural focus of the play thus The confrontation in the play is largely metaphysical, contained in the human vehicle which is Elesin and the universe of the Yoruba mind – the world of the living, the dead and the unborn, and the numinous passage which links all transition. Soyinka (1975iv) criticizes British colonial masters meddlesome in the cultural institution of the colonized by foregrounding the religious and cultural aspects of the plot at the expense of the colonial factors. Historical plays are also inspired by the playwrights desire to popularize and push into the peoples consciousness various hitherto obscure aspects of their history. A good example of such historical drama is Ahmed Yerimas Ameh Oboni the Great, a play based on Igala colonial history. Ameh Oboni was an Attah (traditional leader) of the Igala people who allegedly committed suicide m 1956 to avoid his impending trial by the colonial government for reputedly engaging in human sacrifice. A legion of mythical and magical stories have been woven around his character. Ameh Oboni the Great revisits the experience of colonialism and pushed the story of this historical figure further into peoples consciousness. Yerimas Authors Note to the play is instructive I was to find out that Ameh Oboni was a very wrong tragic hero -the reluctant one – pushed by the wit of his people. Interestingly, this was what drew me to tell his story. For, I am often affected by the lonely hero. The final category of historical plays given by Femi Shaka (2001) are those written to correct existing versions of history. A good example of such plays is Ngugi wa Thiongo and Micere Mugos The Trial of Dedan Kimathi which was written to launder the battered image of Dedan Kimathi, the revolutionary leader of the Kenyan peoples struggle against British imperialism and to correct the reactionary interpretation of history by previous Kenyan playwrights such as Kenneth Watenes Dedan Kimathi (1974). The writer of historical drama must learn to interpret history, and not merely transpose history in order to guarantee the full realization of the dramatic function of the cultural and historical material which he evokes in his play. The interpretation of historical materials distinguishes the historical playwright from the historian. The historian narrates events as they took place, with no room for embellishment. The playwright focuses on the aesthetics of the work apart from recounting facts. While Kenneth Watenes Dedan Kimathi depicts the Mau-Mau movements leader, Dedan Kimathi as mentally unbalanced, selfish and vicious, The Trial of Dedan Kimathi portrays him as a man of uncommon courage and great commitment who has an unparalleled love for the Kenyan masses. Dramatists are not historians and have never sought to present their audiences historical documents. Rather, they interpret the period they have chosen and often deliberately incorporate elements from other period, or no period at all, in order to provide a critique of the historical characters or actions they portray. 2.4 History and African Drama Critical commentaries on African drama often take the issue of origins as a convenient point of departure. On a broad, speculative level, there is a general consensus among critics that the origins of drama lie deep in the pre-historic past, in the rites and ceremonies of the people. According to J.P.Clark (198157) the origin of Nigerian drama are to be found in the early religious and magical ceremonies and festivals of the Yoruba, the egwugwu and mino masques of the Ibo, the Owu and oru water masquerades of the Ijaw. Other notable literary critics such as Femi Osofisan (1974) and Yemi Ogunbiyi (1981) agree that the first sources of African drama are to be found in tribal ritual. Ola Rotimi (199110 in his inaugural lecture aptly entitled African Drama Literature To Be or To Become delivered at the University of Port Harcourt defines African dramatic literature as that kind of written drama that treats an African experience. In other words, the exploration of African experiences should, in Ola Rotimis opinion, be the most overarching yardstick to determine if a drama is qualified to be called African drama. The fact that the preponderance of African dramatic texts typically mirror African experience adds a great deal of weight to his claim. Ola Rotimi (1991) dwells extensively on the nagging question of the most appropriate language that should serve as the medium of expression of African drama. While admitting that the use of indigenous African languages in the writing of African drama would have contributed significantly towards uprooting the straggling vestiges of colonial overlordship, circumstances have compelled African writers to adopt the foreign languages as the medium of expression (13). According to him, the African writers use of a central-albeit foreign-language underscores a political imperative with connotations of ethnic neutrality. Yemi Ogunbiyi (1981 6) in his book, Drama and Theatre in Nigeria A Critical Source Book defines African drama as a product of mans desire to establish a link between him and his presumed invisible being. According to Nelson Fashina (20088) African drama is definable only when it is linked to the circumstance And context of its mythic genealogical transformations through space And time and two, that modern African drama is influenced by the Western Written text-mode and Western drama or theatre history, thereby underscoring its Inextricable hybridity. Over three decades ago, Lewis Nkosi (1981 172) makes an incisive remark that historical drama is a favourite with African playwrights. The veracity of this observation is undeniable, as early and recent African playwrights have gathered their materials from history in writing great African plays. The staggering volume of historical African drama must have largely informed Lewis Nkosis brilliant observation. Examples of such plays are Leopold Sedar Senghors Chaka (1951), Ola Rotimis Kurunmi (1971) and Ovonramwen Nogbaisi(1974), Wale Ogunyemis Ijaye War(1970) and Kiriji (1976). Matthew Umukoros Nana Olomu(2001), Ebrahim Husseins Kinjeketile (1969), Martin Owusus The Mightier Sword( 1973), Wole Soyinkas Death and the Kings Horseman (1976), Ahmed Yerimas Attahiru (1999 ), and Sam Ukalas Iredi War (2014). Iredi War, which is inspired by the 1906 uprising of the Owa Kingdom (now part of Delta State) against the oppressive British rule, won the highly competitive and prestigious NLNG-sponsored Nigerian Prize for Literature in 2014. Some of these plays will be briefly discussed later. Toyin Jegede (2008284) refers to history as a rich aspect of African cultural heritage which has been identified as a significant source material for African literature. The dialogue with the past has earlier been mentioned by Kolawole (2005 11) as a common trend in African and post-colonial writing and a pointer to the centrality of the dialogic imagination. While commenting on historical African drama generally and doing a comparative study on Ola Rotimis Ovonromwen Nogbaisi and Ahmed Yerimas The Trial of Oba Ovonramwen, Victoria Adeniyi (2007 98) rates historical drama higher than history. According to her history which is written in the form of drama is, on a higher plane, more intense, more universal, and more philosophical, than history which is written in a chronological manner and is more particular. A historical drama deals with a particular point in the history of the society It gives insight into what life was like at the particular period chosen by the playwright as focus. While we agree with Adeniyi on the fact that historical drama deals with a given point in the history of the society, it is instructive to note that her idea of historical playwrights objective presentation of history is a radical departure from New Historicism, the theoretical framework of this study. New Historicism advocates for historians and literary critics to view the facts of history subjectively. Consequently, the historical African playwright must have been largely influenced by the prevailing cultural attitudes and assumptions towards the historical materials at his or her disposal. Therefore, the playwrights presentation of life of the particular period chosen by him or her may not be as reliable as Adeniyi may want us to believe. Also, Adeniyis placement of the historical drama on a higher plane than history may not necessarily be true. They both serve distinctive functions and complement each other. History furnishes the reader with detailed accounts of events while the historical dramatists preoccupation is to interpret, and not necessarily to transpose history (Louis Althusser, 1971204). Chinua Achebe (198210) in his popular book of essays Morning Yet on Creation Day gives a candid advice to the historical African writers on what should be their overarching preoccupation in writing historical literary works. He posits that the African writer should do more than merely chronicling events, and there should be deliberateness in the writers treatment of historical facts. The inference that can be drawn from Achebes assertion is that the writing of historical African drama transcends a mere chronicling of momentous historical events. The historical African dramatist must be proactive, must equip himself with an acute literary antennae and must make deliberate efforts at imparting positively on the society. The Kenyan novelist and playwright, Ngugi wa Thiongo (1982) amplified Achebes statement by stating that the African writer who seeks to be relevant would often need to re-write the black mans history whose perversions the white man has written and has for a long time indoctrinated generations of the blackmail with. For Ngugi wa Thiongo, the African writer is charged with the responsibility of making valiant efforts at changing the society positively. If need be, the writer should even dabble into active politics since he is in it already at the ideological level. Sunny Awhefeada (2011 221) lends his own critical, voice to the engaging discourse of the interplay between history and African literary text in his essay History and the Politics of Representation in the Post-Colonial African Text. His opening sentence in the essay is striking and lucid There is no discourse woven around the postcolonial that would negate the imperative of history (221). The writer here underlines the pivotal role of history to the post-colonial text. Before a literary text can be qualified as a postcolonial text, the literary text must be overtly historical. Sunny Awhefeada sheds more light on postcolonialism. According to him, post-colonialism is a consequence of history which manifests in the field of politics, economics, philosophy, music, literature or other disciplinary concerns. Post colonialism is not restricted in scope as it straddles around a phalanx of fields. Raymond Williams (1988 178) validates Sunny Awhefeadas percipient perspective on the overwhelming influence of history on the politics of representation in the post-colonial text thus The analysis of representation is not a subject separate from history, but that the representations are part of the history, are active elements in the way people perceive situations, both from inside their own pressing realities and from outside then. In his exploration of the literary productions of later generations of African writers across genres. Awhefeada is of the strong conviction that the growth and development of African literary texts have been primarily dictated by the conspiracies of history. The evolutionary process of African literary traditions is located in the historical process, as amply demonstrated in the shifting thematic preoccupations of the African writers. The generation of Wole Soyinka, Gabriel Okara, J. P. Clark, Christopher Okigbo, Camara Laye, Chinua Achebe, Bessie Head, Ngugi wa Thiongo, among others exerted the bulk of the literary energy on the writing of literary works that depict cultural nationalist concerns and the political issues that immediately followed the national independence in various African countries. The generation which succeeds them which includes writers such as Femi Osofisan, Niyi Osundare, Bode Sowande, Cheyney-Coker, Odia Ofeimum, and Okot pBitek was preoccupied with the revolutionary process of societal transformation based on socialist alternatives. The literary direction was necessitated by the spectre of disillusionment which haunted the African masses who felt betrayed by the profligate spending, pervasive corruption and generally unenviable leadership qualities of African leaders who took over from the colonial masters to pilot the affairs of African states. James Tar Tsaaior (201133) has warned that the generational trajectory in the historical skirting of African literature remains sticky and notoriously difficult to map. However, the fact still remains that writers of different generations have diverse burning issues to contend with, which they usually foreground in their literary texts. This explains why writers of the generation of the 1990s to the present have been preoccupied with the military dictatorship which have blatantly encroached the African political space and have left the masses psychologically scarred, and financially emasculated. Tunji Azeez (2012) in his contribution to the discussion on the relationship between history and African drama expands the bandwidth of the discourse by exploring the symbiotic relationship between war, history and literature. War, a subject which naturally interests every individual, institution and culture directly and indirectly will, invariably, be interwoven with the disciplines of history and literature. Ogunpitan (200317) observes that the link between literature and war is ancient, as ancient as human settlement. Myths, legends, epics and other forms of imaginative literature are replete with stories of wars, heroism, and of courage. War literature are literary works which are based on wars. Since wars are historical events, war literature illustrates the interplay between history and literature. Novels based on the American Civil War (1861-1865) such as Michael Shaaras The Killer Angels (1974) and those written against the background of the Nigerian Civil War 1967-1970) such as Festus Iyayis Heroes (1986), Isidore Okpewhos The Last Duty (1976) and Eddie Irohs Forty Eight Guns For The General (1976) are examples of war literature. In drama, the writing of war literature probably started with the Greek dramatist, Euripides, who wrote the tragic play, Trojan Women, and eight other plays which are dedicated to war. The Greek pioneer of comedy, Aristophanes also comments on wars in his literary works notably Lysistrata, The Frog and The Suppliant. William Shakespeare has war as the thematic thrust of a few of his plays on kings which are inspired by what historians have called War of Roses (1455-1485), a chronicle of how the ruling houses of England for over a century were so desperate for power that they ruthlessly murdered themselves. Henry IV are examples of such Shakespeares plays. Tunji Azeez (2012134) makes an apposite comment on this Any seeker after these historical events in the life of England will glimpse them not only from Holinsheds history, but also, and in a creative way, from from the plays of Shakespeare. Surely, then, history and literature are not strange bedfellows as s would want us believe. He observes how the Yoruba wars of the nineteenth century have been perennial favourite creative materials for the dramatists. Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, Wale Ogunyemis Ijaye War and Kiriji (1976), Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja, and Bode Osanyins Ogedengbe (2000) exemplify plays which are inspired by the nineteenth century Yoruba civil war. In Kiriji, for instance, Wale Ogunyemi probes into the concatenation of events that culminated in the war between the Ibadan and the Ekitiparapo in the nineteenth century. At this juncture, a number of historical African drama shall be discussed. Wole Soyinkas Death and the Kings Horseman is, undubitably, among the greatest and most popular historical African drama. The globally-acclaimed play is based on real events that took place in Oyo, the ancient Yoruba city of Nigeria in 1946 when the Colonial District Officer intervenes to prevent the ritual suicide of the Yoruba chief, Elesin. Elesins sacrificial suicide was demanded by the death of the king. This intervention has catastrophic consequences. Dramatists sometimes rupture history in their historical dramaturgy. Soyinka does this in Death and the Kings Horseman by focusing on the culture-centredness of the play. The foregrounding of the religious and cultural aspects of the plot at the expense of the colonial factors was Soyinkas way of condemning the British colonial masters meddlesomeness in the religio-cultural institution of the colonized. The playwright, in several incidents of the play, presents the colonial factor as being of limited, incidental significance in the tragic outcome of the play. Soyinka also ruptures history in the chronology of the events presented in the play. In his Introductory Notes (which represents the pre-text), Soyinka explains that the play is based on events which took place in Oyo, the ancient Yoruba city of Nigeria in 1946. That year, the lives of Elesin (Olori Elesin), his son and the Colonial District Officer intertwined with the disastrous results set out in the play. James Gibbs (1986117-118) points out the error of dating in Soyinkas Notes. He avers that the event to which the play refers actually occurred on 4 January 1945. The then Alafin of Oyo, Siyanbola Oladigbolu 1 had died on Tuesday, 19th December, 1944. The British Colonial Officer at Oyo prevented the Alafins Horseman, Olokun Esin Jinadu from fulfilling the tradition of committing ritual suicide on 4th January, 1945. The arrest of Olokun Elesin Jinadu made his youngest son, Muraina, to commit suicide in his place. Instructively, Soyinka also explains in the Notes that the action of the play has been set back by two or three years for what he calls minor reasons of dramaturgy. Without doubt, the essence of this is to make the incident contemporaneous with World War 11 (1939-1945) in order to validate the parallelism drawn between the Elesins obligatory suicide and the fearless act of self-sacrifice by an English naval captain who reportedly blew up his warship on himself to prevent the impending disaster of the ship blowing up at the crowded harbor which could have culminated in the colossal loss of lives. Matthew Umukoro (201133) does not mince words on Soyinkas acute literary antennae and linguistic and artistic maturity in Death and the Kings Horseman In this play, Soyinka rides his all too familiar hobby-horse of transition, but this time with the greater gusto and surefootedness of the accomplished rider. Here, too, his language is somewhat more disciplined, more restrained, the poetic flavour fresher and more invigorating than in his earlier plays. Umukoro (201142) then wraps it up thusin the use of language to plumb the sublime depth of tragic pathos, Death and the Kings Horseman has a strong claim to being Wole Soyinkas most successful play. Most of the scholars and literary critics who have critically appraised Death and the Kings Horseman never failed to acknowledge Soyinkas linguistic and artistic depth in the overtly poetic drama. The play must have contributed in no small measure towards Soyinkas clinching of the ultra-competitive Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. David Richards (2003 126) comments on the play that Death and the Kings Horseman forges out of this story a metaphor not just for the whole history of Africa and its collision which colonial Europe but a profound meditation on the nature of man … the relationship of life with death and the power of religion, ritual and spirituality in existence. The play probes into the nature of man and the linkage between life and death. Death is inevitable. We are all mortals yet, nobody wants to die. This explains why human beings tend to push the thought of death deliberately out of their subconscious. Elesin Oba knows that his vacillation from committing the ritual suicide would throw off the communitys balance. Nevertheless, the human nature in him overwhelms him and he develops a cold feet towards the tradition. David Richards (1994127) goes on to share Matthew Umokoros earlier quoted opinion on the play by describing it as probably Soyinkas greatest work for the theatre and remains one of his most universal and accessible dramatic statements. The play establishes Soymka as one of the finest poetic playwrights who has ever written in English Language. Soyinka has been described by Shorter (19986) as Africas leading playwright. The South African celebrated dramatist, Athol Fugards play The Island (1976) is set in the South Africas notorious maximum security prison, Robben Island where the late ex-President of the country and political activist, Nelson Mandela was held for twenty seven solid years over his daring and unqualified efforts at ending the apartheid policy in South Africa. According to Davenport (1996331), the term apartheid means the segregation of each race in its extreme form even of subgroups within races in every aspect of life. The apartheid period in South Africa was characterized by the high level of oppression, subjugation and denigration of the black majority by the white minority who inflicted untold hardship and unmitigated misery on the black populace. In writing The Island, Athol Fugard elaborates that the play was inspired by a true story based on the South African notorious Robben Island. Wale Ogunyemis Ijaye, like Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, is based on the historical accounts of the Yoruba Ijaye War of 1860 – 1862, a war triggered in the nineteenth century by the constitution crisis in Oyo Empire in Nigeria. Ade Ajayi and Robert Smith (1971) in Yoruba Warfare in the Nineteenth Century paint a vivid picture of the historical event. In 1858, the Alaafm of Oyo, Aiaafin Atiba, sensing that his days were numbered, summoned his leading chiefs to force them to acknowledge his crown Prince or heir, Adelu as his successor. This move was decidedly contrary to the constitution of Oyo which mandated the heir apparent to commit suicide and be buried with his father, having wielded a great deal of influence while his father ruled. While Ibadan gave their unflinching support for Alafin Atibas move, Ijaye, under Kurunmi, the Are-Ona Kakanfo of the kingdom stoutly opposed Alafin Atibas relegation of tradition. Having failed to stop the installation of Adelu as Alafin, Kurunmi, having garnered support from the Egba people decided to attack the Oyo Empire, while Alafin Adelu had an ally in the people of Ibadan. In his comparative analysis between Wale Ogunyemis Ijaiye and Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, Akintunde Akinyemi (2010 43) observes that neither history nor literature is an objective reflection of its times. Rather, both are subject to various forces defined by social and hegemonic structures in place at the time of writing. Historical playwrights, unlike scholars of history, are not necessarily historians, but interpreters of history. Akintunde Akinyemis aforestated opinion is in consonance with New Historicism. Akinyemi implies that m the appropriation of history, a playwright may be subjective, as the various forces at play during the period of his writing the play must have influenced him or her. She/he cannot claim to be insulated from these prevailing forces. Ola Rotimis historical drama, Hopes of the Living Dead centers around the historical personage, Ikoli Harcourt Whyte, the irrepressible leader of the lepers revolt of 1928 – 1932 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The play chronicles the heroic exploits of Ikoli Whyte and the other patients of the lepers wing of the Port Harcourt General Hospital against their forceful relocation to the uncompleted lepers colony at Izuakoli. In the play, Ola Rotimi depicts a selfless, result-oriented, committed leadership complemented by a followership that believes strongly in the good of the generality of its members through the application of itself to a beneficial cause. Prior to his leading of the lepers revolt, Harourt White was one of the several lepers that the Scottish medical doctor, Dr. Ferguson had gathered at the Port-Harcourt General Hospital for the purpose of a research that he was conducting into the permanent cure of leprosy. He was labelled as the mad Scotsman (Ola Rotimi, 1988) for embarking on such a bizarre nature of the research. He reminds us of Professors character in Wole Soyinkas complex play, The Road (1965), who removes road signs from strategic accident-prone places, gathers data from fresh accidents and dashes down to fresh accident scenes to commune with souls freshly fleeing their bodies, as he is of strong conviction that the departing souls could be good informants. Due to the gale of criticisms which greeted his experimentation, Dr Ferguson later unceremoniously left for Scotland, abandoning his patients at the mercy of the British colonial administration. An outraged public, as a matter of urgency, demanded the removal of the lepers. In the lepers demand for a decent resettlement, Harcourt Whyte emerged as their leader. The dividend of the revolt which spanned five years was the establishment of the decent Uzuakoli Leprosy Hospital and Resettlement Centre. Femi Shaka (2001194) alludes Rotimis choice of an ordinary struggling man as his hero to the playwrights disenchantment with the moral bankruptcy of post-independence African leaders. He observes Rotimis radicalized concept of the leadership, in which ordinary working men and women are endowed with heroic qualities, and mass struggle is strongly advocated. By gravitating from the individualist and reactionary concept of leadership which is the hallmark of the first phase of Rotimi aesthetics to the concept of revolutionary, collective, mass struggle, Rotimi writes in tandem with what Sunny Awhefeada (2011 232) has delineated as the third phase of African writing which was inaugurated in the early 1980s. During this period, the African writers express their utter dismay over the African continents steady degeneration largely as a consequence of the ineptitude, endemic corruption and financial rascality of the African leaders who plunged the hapless masses into despair, denigration, frustration, pervasive poverty and the cesspit of valuelessness. According to Niyi Osundare (200765), this new crop of writers and critics, took advantage of revolutionary Marxism whose radical theory and praxis were considered suitable for their analyses and apprehension of the African situation. What further fuelled the revolutionary embers of this set of writers is the fact that many of them, having been born in the 1940s, witnessed the labyrinth of the continents chequered history. They felt the compelling need to jettison the prevalent concept of individual heroism and the valorization and eulogizing of the supermen, the gladiators of African historical heritage. They suggested a reconfiguration which according to Onoge (198561), position the masses as the true makers of history. In lending his critical voice to this issue. Olu Obafemi (1982 16) in his article Revolutionary Aesthetics in Recent Nigerian Theatre, narrows his scope of study to the Nigerian theatre which is arguably the leading example of African theatre. He states that The remarkable point of departure between this young generation of dramatists in Nigeria (Femi Osofisan, Bode Sowande, Kole Omotosho and James Iroha to name a few) and their predecessors (Wole Soyinka and J.P. Clark) is the formers conscious ideological commitment their conviction that social change could come by the playwrights ability to raise mass awareness to a positive revolutionary alternative to social decadence. The predecessors plays are, however, not completely ideologically innocent as Olu Obafemi suggests above. Their works do have ideological undercurrents. What the young generation of dramatists in Nigeria did was to raise the bar by foregrounding the revolutionary intent of the oppressed and subjugated masses in their plays. Ahmed Yerimas Attahiru (1999) is a play drawn from the history of the fall of the Sokoto Caliphate into the hands of British colonialists in the early twentieth century. Abdulrahman, the 11th Sultan of Sokoto died in October, 1902 at Wurno, near Sokoto. Sultan Muhammadu Attahiru I succeeded him the same year. (Muffet, 19719). Attahirus reign was brief but adventurous and historic. He reigned at a period of the European conquest of Sokoto Caliphate, who stoutly resisted the European incursion. Kano fall to the British Colonial forces on 16th February, 1903, followed by Sokoto on 19 March, 1903. Muahammadu Attahiru I who had spent barely six months on the throne fled with some of his ill-equipped soldiers so as to engage in a battle with the much better-armed British soldiers. First fleeing to Gusau, before moving to Burmi where he and over 200 men were killed in July, 1903, resisting the British onslaught. According to Mohammed Inuwo Umar-Buratai (2007 153) Attahiru sets to recreate the political situation within the caliphal society on the eve of the conquest. It highlights aspects of the various social, political, economic and cultural set up of the society. The play foregrounds an obscure part of the Nigerian history. Ebrahim Husseins Kinjeketile is a revolutionary play which dramatizes the historical reality of the Maji Maji uprising in Tanganyika against the German colonizers in 1904. The plot of the play revolves around the eponymous character of Kinjeketile, a seer and prophet. The play dramatizes the traumatic experience, subjugation, exploitation and eventual capitulation of the Tanzanians in the hands of their German oppressors. Austin Asagba (200191) comments on the play thus Ebrahim Husseins Kinjeketile is a straightforward play … The playwright is primarily interested in charting the various phases of the Maji Maji uprising. More importantly, he seeks to depict the inner contradictions and problems that plague the nationalist movement in its quest for political awareness and subsequent defeat by Sam Ukalas play, Iredi War recreates a historical battle in Owa, Delta State. It recaptures the 1906 insurgency of Owa Kingdom against insensitive, oppressive and highhanded British Colonial rule. The play focuses on bad colonial leadership and the insurgency that it bred from a relatively small and hitherto peaceful kingdom, which had cooperated very well with A. A. Chichester, the substantive District Commissioner, who proceeded on leave and handed over to his assistant, Captain O. S. Crewe-Read. Within a short period of Crewe-Reads tenure as Acting District Commissioner, his insensitive, highhanded, racist, inept and overzealous leadership set Owa boiling over, culminating in the Iredi War. In an interview he granted to Vanguard Newspaper, Nigeria, published on 16 October, 2014, Sam Ukala, the playwright stated how the nagging problem of bad leadership in Nigeria propelled him to write the play. According to him As far as Im concerned, Nigeria has only one issue troubling it bad leadership. Every other issue -bad followership, corruption, poverty, squalor, disease, human and infrastructural underdevelopment. Ritual and political killings, cultism and examination malpractice, intra-country wars and militancy of different names, etc – all stern from bad leadership. The international consultant to the prize, Professor Mzo Sirayi (2014) of Ishwane University of Technology, South Africa, described the thematic focus of Iredi War as poignant, proactive and stimulating. He added that, At no other time in history will the theme of war be more relevant than now given rising provocations and conflicts m different parts of the world. The above plays are just a few examples of historical African drama in which African literature is replete with. 2.5 The Interplay Between Text And Performance In Drama Jonathan Culler (19976) views text as any object that can be read, whether the object is a work of literature, a street sign, an arrangement of buildings on a city block or styles of clothing. Culler, here, suggests that, contrary to popular opinions, the concept of text transcends literary work of art. However, Culler did not highlight the distinguishing features of literary text which separates it from other types of texts. In his unpublished Ph.D entitled Textual, Linguistic and Mental Dissonance An Alienation Theory of African Dramaturgy (1994) discusses the complexity and diversity of the text, which could be pre-linguistic, linguistic, extra-linguistic and non-linguistic texts. He explains the astronomic dimension text can assume with examples of what some astronomical objects symbolize in the African cosmological worldview. According to him, the moon, for instance, served dating and timing purposes the sun was used in calculating time daily the textuality of the stars is that they were used for astrological prediction of the fate of people, tribe or nation. The last astronomical object mentioned by Nelson Fashina (1994) was the sky. Writes Fashina The sky, a wide-flung page is a vast non-linguistic text with several significations whose density of meaning man has mastered to forecast the weather and climactic changes within a specified geographical space. Remarkably, the textual meanings of each of these astronomical objects are still applicable till today. In many African villages, the villagers still rely on the moon for dating, timing and annual calendar, and on the sun for daily calculation. The astrological significance of the stars transcends the African cosmos. Astrology, which A.S Hornby (201080) defines as the study of the positions of the stars and the movements of the planets in the belief that they influence human affairs is being practised in different parts of the globe. K.P.L. Hardison in HYPERLINK http//www.eNotes.com http//www.eNotes.com retrieved on August 6, 2015 classifies text into literary and non-literary texts. The distinguishing features of literary texts, according to him, are the presence of significantly complex and detailed literary devices particularly metaphor and symbolism, and the presence of literary elements of chronology and psychological characterization. Conversely, the non-literary texts are thin on metaphor and symbolism. In non-literary texts, actions and events outweigh or overshadow character development and psychological depth. On this premise, the eight selected African plays bear the hallmarks of text, specifically literary text. The selected plays are all rich in literary devices. The chronology of the events narrated in the plays is well delineated. Psychological characterization is also evident in the selected plays. In a text, we have the pre text, and the intratext. Pretext represents all the elements of meanings or ideas that the author or writer indicates directly or indirectly as having influenced the composition of the literary work. The prologues, prefaces, authors notes, and other sources of influence, whether they are acknowledged or not constitute the pretext. In African plays, Authors Notes are particularly useful component of the play. They boost the comprehension of the plays. For example, in Ahmed Yerimas The Trials of Oba Ovonramwen, the playwright reveals in the Authors Note how he relies heavily on the court proceedings made available to him in the palace in the course of writing the play the play goes beyond that as it afforded me the opportunity to blend fiction and facts in creating a work of history. It gave me the false sense of illusion going into the turbulent mind of a turbulent king in a most turbulent historical period. It also gave me a chance to be the kings advocate, exonerating Oba Ovonramwen, especially in the light of the court proceedings made available to me by the pslace (6). The pretext above reveals Yerimas attitude towards the subject matter of the play-Oba Ovonramwen. The intratext refers to all the elements within the work, especially those those that contribute to the movement of the plot in a play. Elements of intratextuality demonstrate such a mutual interdependence that there is a logical relationship between all the parts in a play. A combination of the pretext and the intratext forms the text. Mediational tools are introduced by the reader/ critic in an attempt to analyze the literary work. These mediational tools constitute the extratext. All the theoretical and critical principles employed in the analysis of the literary work are examples of mediational tools. The overall meaning derived from the literary work by the analysis of the work from its pretext, intratext and extratext results in the metatext. In grappling with the concept of the text, Walter Ong (19997) differentiates between natural language and computer language. Noting that while the grammar of the former is first used and then abstracted, the latter is first stated and used thereafter. He avers that for a text to convey its message, the death or being alive of the author is inconsequential (100). The fact that books published decades ago are still relevant today validates Ongs claim. Ong points at the writers or authors opportunity to subject his work to extensive revisions before coming up with the final product- a noticeable difference from an oral performer who enjoys no such opportunity before a live audience. Unlike Roland Barthes (198132) who views text as guaranteeing stability of meaning, Stanley Fish (1980306) suggests that the text can be far more unstable than we assume, noting further that it is not so much a case of indeterminacy or undecidability but of a a determinacy and decidability that do not always have the same shape and that can, and in this do, change. Roland Barthes (1987117) views the text as a methodological field distinct from the work which can be held in the hand. Barthes holistic view of the text has been acknowledged by Bill Ashcroft (200114) as being a very useful basis for the analysis of culture. On the interrelationship between text and culture, Barthes (1987118) draws a metaphor of the text as a network which issues from innumerable centres of culture. This, according to Bill Ashcroft, demonstrates that textuality cannot be confined to discrete cultural productions. In The Pleasure of the Text (1975), Barthes makes a distinction between text of pleasure and text of bliss. He explains Text of pleasure the text that contents, fills, grants euphoria the text that comes from culture and does not break with it, is linked to a comfortable practice of reading. Text of bliss the text that imposes a state of loss, the text that discomforts (perhaps to the point of a certain boredom), unsettles the readers historical, cultural, psychological assumptions, the consistency of his tastes, values, memories, brings to a crisis his relation with language (14). W.F. Hanks (198995) defines text as any configuration of signs that is coherently interpretable by some community of users. It encompasses not only oral and written discourses of innumerable types, but also painting, music and film. Edward Said (198340) in The World, the Text and the Critic attempts to demystify the concept of text. He points out the great havoc New Criticism and deconstruction wreak on literary theory and criticism by cutting off the literary text from cultural considerations. According to him, due to New Criticism, and its heir, deconstruction, literary theory and literary criticism as practiced in the academy for the most part isolated textuality from the circumstances, the events, the physical senses that made it possible and render it intelligible as the results of human work. Our discussion on the concept of text will be grossly inadequate without relating it to New Historicism, which is the theoretical framework on which this study is grounded on. Unlike New Criticism which attempts to alienate literary text from cultural considerations, New Historicism accepts the view of the society as text. To the New Historicists, history can be seen as a text, or as Stephen Greenblatt calls it, the poetics of culture. It follows that literature can be seen as a historical artifact, as history becomes on some level a fictional artifact. According to Louis Montrose (198916), New Historicism examines the historicity of texts and the textuality of history. The historicity of texts means the cultural specificity, and the social embedment of all modes of writing. It focuses not only on the texts that critics study but also on the texts with which we study them. The textualilty of history acknowledges the fact that we (the readers) can have no access to a full and authentic past, a lived material experience, unmediated by the surviving textual traces of the society in question. Those textual traces are themselves subject to subsequent textual mediations when they are construed as documents upon which historians ground their own texts called histories. Invariably, all texts are ideologically marked. In the text, the playwright weaves his ideas together in the literal form and combines, among other things, dramatic elements and spectacle, logically applied to provide a more analytical coordination and also enables the text to become intellectually appealing. Performance is an artistic actualization and creative representation of action. A performance, in the performing arts, generally comprises an event in which a performer or group of performers present one or more works of art to an audience. Performances range from theatre to dance as well as music. Leach (20086) defines performance as any piece of behavior/doing/action which is in some way marked off, or framed. The framing enables us to comprehend it as an entity, and we can think about it in clear terms such as where it happens, who is present, how the performance unfolds and perhaps what is its purpose, or indeed whether it has a purpose. Margaret Drewal (19923) describes performance as an inter-textual activity which is based on either an idea, an earlier performance, myth or rehearsal of the last performance. The limitation of Drewals definition is that she did not mention the uniqueness of every performance. Every performance cannot be is unique, and cannot be exactly repeated, even with the same cast and director. Albert B. Lord (196020-29) argues that no two different singers can sing the same song exactly alike. Ngugi wa Thiongo (1997) in Enactments of PowerThe Politics of Performance Space states that the struggle between the arts and the state can best be seen in performances in general and the battle over performance space in particular. The kernel of the paper is on how powerful performance can be employed as a tool of propaganda, as a vehicle to sensitise the populace on the actions and inactions of the state. He condemns the proclivity of several African countries leaders to stifle performance, drawing from his own experience. In 1977, he was incarcerated for a whole year for his stage production of his play I Will Marry When I Want. Ngugi wa Thiongo goes on to define performance as the representation of being-the coming to be and the ceasing to be of processes in nature, human society, and thought. Text and performance are inextricably interwoven. They are the two components associated in the performing arts, especially in the theatrical circle. Drama comes in the mode of written texts or performance text. A dramatic text is, therefore, conceivable as a text of different cultural and ideologically constructed meanings through the use of different relations of actions and artistic representations. Nelson Fashina (2007) categorises drama into two virtual play text (virtual drama) and performance/ stage drama (real drama).He explicates on this point that while the former is constant, the latter changes. Despite the interconnectivity between text and performance in drama, not much study has been done on the complexity of the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama. This is a major gap in scholarship this study intends to fill. Cheela Chilala (2012) postulates that the dramatic text is different from the performance or theatrical text. While the former is the text of the play before it is performed, the latter is the play when it is performed. However, the text is primarily concerned with the semiotic reading of the dramatic text and not the theatrical text. In conducting a semiotic reading of an African dramatic text, Cheela Chilala (2012) stresses the need to take the factor of how African dramatists are influenced by African cultures in their writings into consideration. Niyi Osundare (200719) in his characteristical poetic manner refers to the relationship between text and performance as the link between the hardware of technical theatre and the software of literary dramaturgy. Like orality and literacy which form the pivot of Walter Ongs magisterial work, Orality and Literacy The Technologization of the Word (1999), text and performance can illuminate one another. The illumination, however, does not come easily. As readers of texts, we are so consumed in our literacy that it is very difficult for us to conceive of an oral universe of communication of thought-which performance embodies-except as a variant of a literate universe. The oral character of language which the scholarly world has recently awakened to has further compels the need for performance. The playwright represents the initiator of theatrical experiences. He/she dexterously crafts the play. The playwrights weave their ideas together in the literal form in the text, depending on their sources of inspiration, or the message they intend to convey to the readers or audience. These sources of inspiration could be drawn from history (e.g. Soyinkas Death and the Kings Horseman), myth (e.g. Femi Osofisans Morountodun), legend, folktale, or even socio-cultural conditions. The text is what is realised characteristically in Scenes (e.g. J.P.Clarks Song of a Goat), Acts (e.g. Tewfik Al-Hakims The Sultans Dilemma and Samuel Becketts Waiting For Godot), Movements (e.g.Ngugi wa Thiongo and Micere Migae Mugos The Trial of Dedan Kimathi), Incidents (e.g. Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja), or Cuts (e.g. Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road). These propel the plots of the plays. In a dramatic text, the playwrights convey their messages to readers through the cast, dialogue and stage directions (blockings). Stage directions are usually italicized and sometimes emboldened. Stage directions not only guide the readers but also the prospective directors of the dramatic texts. By implication, in the course of writing plays, the playwrights do have stage performance in mind, during which the play realizes its full potential. Underpinning the dramatic text is the language which is the mode of communication from the playwrights to the readers. For there to be an effective communication between the playwrights and the readers on one hand, and between the actors and the audience on the other hand, there must be no language barrier. A reader only enjoys a play written in a language he understands. In a similar vein, the members of the audience can only enjoy a play performed in a language he is conversant with. The playwrights point of view through which he views real life happenings must be properly delineated in the stage performance. This point of view may crystallize as a moral vision approving or disapproving certain kinds of attitudes or actions. Readers of dramatic texts must be discerning enough to unravel the playwrights attitudes towards the issues they address. For the text to be qualified as a play in the actual sense of the word, the playwright must adhere to the conventional plot sequence of a well-designed dramatic moving steadily from the exposition, to the rising action, climax, through the falling action where the conflicts of the play are resolved. The resolution of the conflicts is sometimes done through deux ex machine, as demonstrated in Oscar Wildes The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). In her highly influential work, Text and Performance in Africa, Karin Barber (2005) examines the dialectics of text and performance in drama. While admitting the complexity of the relation between text and performance, Barber asserts that, contrary to popularly held opinion, text and performance are not mutual enemies. Barber cites R.G. Collingwoods upholding of the superiority of the text, and Roland Barthes upholding that of performance. Rather than indulging on the insidious comparison between text and performance, Barber (2005 265) highlights the distinction In written literary tradition, the distinction between text and performance seems self-evident. The text is the permanent artifact, hand-written or printed, while performance is the unique, never-to-be repeated realization or concentration of the text, a realization that brings the text to life but which is itself doomed to die on the breath in which it is uttered. The being doomed to death of performance stated above implies the ephemeral nature of performance. Totzeva (199981) has rightly described the play as a text conceived for possible theatrical performance. Brater (1994) in the book The Drama in the Text is of the opinion that much of the material in drama often makes more sense when spoken and heard than when simply read and silently digested. Performability is a distinguishing feature of drama. Perfomability and speakability, according to Suh Joseph Che (2011) in The Performability and Speakability Dimensions of Translated Drama Texts, are two of the most prominent characteristics of drama which distinguish it from other literary genres. While acknowledging the fact that performability is a hallmark of play, prominent Cameroonian playwright and scholar, Bole Butake (1988236) is a bit cautious The ultimate aim of writing a play is usually to see it performed even though it is not always that a play script which is even published finds its way on stage for a number of reasons. Stage performance is challenging and demanding, if standard is to be maintained. The demanding nature of stage performance is the primary reason why many published plays do not get staged. Text fixes, performance animates. But even in written traditions, there are all kinds of different relations possible between a text and a performance. Written texts can be cues, scripts, or stimulants to oral performance, and can also be records, or by-products of it. Even texts usually thought of as belonging purely within the written sphere can have a performance dimension. If, as it is true in many traditions, text depends on performance, and performance on text, comparative literary studies should help us to conceptualize the nature and degree of these varying relations of dependence. Royce (20041) opines that performance guarantees intimacy. That is, an intimacy between the actors and the audience. The concept of text to performance paves way for interpretation on stage, for which understanding the script is the key. Wainscot and Fletcher (2010138) defines interpretation as creating meaning beyond what is literal or obvious in the text. The text undergoes detailed analyses and interpretations with regard the plot, themes, character/characterization, setting, conflicts, suspense, soliloquys, asides, and dramatic ironies in order to successfully transform from play text to performance text. There are a number of reasons for the stage performance of a text. One of these is to increase its accessibility to a wider audience, where the text is considered the primary source, and the performance the secondary source. Through performance, the actors employ gestures and verbal communication of culturally diverse meanings to portray the emotions and nuances of expression of the characters in the dramatic texts. Constatin Stanislavin asserts that acting is doing what we do in private in public. While on stage, the actor must strive to evince the aesthetics of acting. He must bring the character in the text to life through his or her idiosyncrasies, mannerisms, tastes and so on. Royce (20046) avers that To be able to perform consistently at the highest levels, performers in all genres must have mastered the technique of their art to the point where they are freed to think about interpretation and perhaps transparency. Royces aforestated opinion is a pointer to the compelling need for constant practicing by the actors. Constant practice is cardinal not only in theatrical circles but also in all forms of performance. The success of a stage performance of a dramatic text is largely measured by the ability of the actor to transmit a heightened sense of life to the audience who also experience a heightened awareness. With the stage space and the auditorium space as the case may be, the actor projects a sense of character life to the audience. The actors invent a world on stage that audience members may inhabit through their imagination (Arnold, 2001347). Remarkably, a performance characteristically goes beyond the content of text in a number of ways. Some directors sometimes impose what Nemirovich-Danchenko (193798) refers to as the dictatorial will of the director on the text so discernibly that the text loses its essence. Some directors also sometimes distort the form of the text, apparently changing tragedy to comedy, or comedy to tragedy, or tragi-comedy to tragedy. The celebrated and arguably the most-performed Nigerian dramatist, Femi Osofian (2001187-193) has expressed his genuine concern that some texts, especially those in the African context, when performed in European countries may lose their African flavor. He buttresses his point with the challenges he encountered in the performance of his popular, overtly satirical play, Once Upon Four Robbers (1980) in Northampton .Some of the challenges encountered in the course of the production include singing songs with the African accent, dancing, and finding the most appropriate drummers from the white people. Needless to say, these challenges are not insurmountable. Traveling with ones own theatre troupes would have readily solved the problem. We shall conclude our discussion on the relationship between text and performance in drama by examining interpretation in performance. The concept of text to performance paves way for interpretation on stage. Wainscot Fletcher (2010138) defines interpretation as creating meaning beyond what is literal or obvious in the text.There are enormous challenges that can be encountered in the course of the interpretation of performance. The interpretation often results in the apparent complexity of performance. Brockett and Ball (20044) drops this vital comment on the complexity of performance Theatres second ingredient, the performance is equally complex. It translates the potential of a script, scenario, or plan into actuality. What the audience usually see when they go to the theatre is the fleshing out of a script or plan through the applied creation of theatrical process. The fact that the same set of actors cannot give exactly the same performance on separate occasions illuminate the complexity of performance. In a similar vein, when separate directors direct the same play, there will be multiplicity in the spectacle. The performance affords the audience the opportunity to witness the content of the text with some duration of time other than reading the text at his or her own pace. Regina Kwakye-Opong and Albert Dennis (2014) in a paper entitled From Text To Performance The Costumier Versus Other Personnel in Theatre argues that little effort seems to be taken by some theatre practitioners to have an indepth analysis of the text before embarking on the performance. The import of this is that the text must be thoroughly comprehended before any attempt must be made to perform it. What begins as a play text can only be successfully transformed into performance text if the play text has been mastered Zavodsky (19663) states that a theatrically staged text differs from a written script. Script of a drama is only a structure that says much about the depicted characters (mainly their inner world and relationships), about the events, but says little about the physical acting of the characters, about their gestures, facial expressions, their arrangement within the stage, etc. In conclusion, a performance is a performance of a text. Each performance is understood as the performance of a pre-existing text. Good directors must think of the text while working on the performance, and good playwrights must think of the performance while working on the text. It is heartening to note that a good number of contemporary African playwrights now take the performance aspect very seriously while working on the text. In The Trials of Afonja, for instance, Toyin Abiodun devotes five pages on Production Note which is apparently to guide prospective directors of the stage performances on the stage. In the next chapter, African textuality and performance aesthetics in drama shall critically examined. CHAPTER THREE AFRICAN TEXTUALITY AND PERFORMANCE AESTHETICS IN DRAMA 3.1 Introduction Our focus on this chapter is on the African textuality and performance aesthetics in drama. Text and performance constitute the kernel of this study. In the previous chapters, the relationship between text and performance has been evaluated. These two cardinal issues of the study text and performance, merit a closer scrutiny. Essentially, an interpretive historical survey shall be done on African textuality in drama and performance aesthetics in drama. This further demystification would provide a springboard for the interpretation of the select literary texts in the subsequent chapters. 3.2. African Textuality In Drama Stage performances of drama characteristically demonstrate orality. This orality is evident in the actors delivery of their lines on stage. Remarkably, however, there exists a symbiotic relationship between orality and textualism. According to Ong (1999166) Without textualism, orality cannot even be identified without orality, textualism is rather opaque and playing with it can be a form of occultism, elaborate obfuscation-which can be endlessly titillating, even at those times when it is not especially informative. Halliday and Mathiessen (1991) opens that text is a set of signals (themes) transmitted through some medium from sender to a receiver in a particular code or set of codes. The medium in this study is drama. Specifically, African drama. African drama exists in context of situation. Olu Obafemi (19966) aptly defines context as the situation in which dramatic action takes place. Context is generally concerned with the circumstances or conditions within which text is taking place or holding. Context for this study is viewed in relation to the common types of context which are context of situation (micro) and context of culture (macro). According to Ogundeji (1988). micro refers to the immediate social situation and environment of the text, while macro refers to wider socio – political and historical circumstances and the conditions of the text. Texts do not exist in a vacuum. They are necessarily influenced by the socio-political realities and conditions of their settings. For example, the immediate social situation and environment of Wole Soyinkas pronouncedly satirical and political play A Play of Giants is the Bugaras embassy in New York, where a coterie of Africas dictators have gathered, apparently to discuss matters of pressing importance in their respective states. At the macro level, the three figures (Gunema, Kasco, Kamini) and the fourth who joins them (Tuboum) are readily recognizabe African dictators who have oppressed and subjugated the citizens of their countries, and plundered the resources of their countries with impunity. Benefacio Gunema represents Marcias Nguema of Equatorial Guinea. Emperor Kasco is a symbolic representation of Jean Baptiste Bokassa of Central Republic. Field Marshal Kamini is a literary camouflage of Field Marshal Idi Amin of Uganda while General Barra Tuboum symbolizes Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire. These are despotic leaders who gathered notoriety on a global scale by the dictatorial style of leadership which lasted for several years during which they oppressed and impoverished their citizens. In the play, the African leaders are showcased in their complete absurdity power-drunk men, devoid of concept of politics, economics, or diplomacy. According to Sam Kasuke (2001193) A Play of Giants demonstrates how megalomaniacs nurtured by imperialism and its bastard offsprings (sic) (Capitalism, violence, consumerism and materialiam) have turned it on its back, holding, holding it to ransom. The historical and contemporary experience of Africa is transported to the West doorstep in A Play of Giants. Here, Sam Kasule accurately captures how Africa had had more than its own fair share of highly corrupt, insensitive and dictatorial leaders whose profligacy has contributed immeasurably towards stifling the growth and development of the bountifully endowed but highly mismanaged continent. At the micro level, the plot of Athol Fugards play The Island revolves around the characters of Winston and John who are locked in a cell which is a small clumsy room in Robben Island. There is the presence of sand in the play which gives us an idea of the wider socio-political and historic circumstances and conditions of the text. The struggle to make progress against the unending mounds (sand) perfectly illustrates a struggle to overcome the oppressive apartheid policy by blacks in Southern Africa. A combination of macro and micro contexts results in a concept called extra – text (Ogundeji ,1992 26). Roland Barthes is a scholar of no mean repute who has researched extensively on text. Barthes (1981 32) sheds more light on how text guarantees the stability of meaning and the edge it has over speech which is susceptible to the fallibility of human memory. According to him, the text is a weapon against time, oblivion and the trickery of speech, which is so easily taken back, altered, denied, Roland Barthes proposes a distinction between a text which is lisible (readable) and one which, illisible scriptable (writable) illiscible (unreadable). Readable texts are traditional ones which primarily conform to the prevailing codes and conventions, literary and social. This makes them easy to comprehend and interpret. On the other hand, an unreadable text violates or innovate upon prevailing conventions. They persistently baffle and frustrate standard expectations. James Joyces Finnegans Wakes (1939) exemplifies an unreadable text. African drama predominantly fall into the category of readable texts. They demonstrate varying levels of complexity on the part of the African dramatists. Wole Soyinkas A Dance of the Forests (1963), for example, is decidedly more complex than his The Lion and the Jewel. In a similar vein, Tewfik Al Hakims existential drama, Fate of a Cockroach (1973) is discernibly more complex than Ama Ata Aidoos The Dilemma of a Ghost. It is an incontrovertible fact that a readers degree of proficiency in the language goes a long way in determining the level of simplicity and complexity he attaches to literary texts. A reader must spare no efforts in building on his proficiency in the language in order to comprehend literary texts in general and African drama in particular. Chandler (2005) submits that a linkage between two or more texts results in inter-text. The relationship between the linking texts and the text being analysed determines the term given to it. They are all similar as they all represent forms of texts. Thus, in intratex, a text has a number of relations with other texts within the social context such as political texts, economic texts, literary texts, dramatic texts and cultural texts.This brings us to the issue of intertextuality-a core issue in African textuality in drama. According to Ayo Kehinde (2003), in contrast with the paucity of studies on intertextuality in contemporary African fiction, the relevance of intertextuality to the analysis of contemporary African drama has been widely discussed. He observes that the concept of influence was the initial terminology used. However, due to its author-centred nature, the concept of influence was replaced by intertextuality. The theory of intertextuality emerged in the mid-1960s (Clayton Rothstein, 1991). The basic tenets of were first elaborated in Northrop Fryes landmark work, Anatomy of Criticism. Frye views literature as an entity containing life and reality in a system of verbal relationships. Clayton and Rothstein (199117) elaborates on Fryes opinion Frye maintains that intertextuality subsumes the work of major Authors with that of minor figures in a multiple positional typology based on relation and difference. The term intertextuality was coined and popularized by Julia Kristeva. She initially employed the term in her dialogue with the texts of Mikhail Bakhtin. According to Julia Kristeva, any text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations any text is the absorption and transformation of another (Clayton and Rothstein, 199120). She further asserts that in the space of a given text, several utterances, taken from other texts, intersect and neutralize one another. (Clayton and Rothstein, 199129). Several other literary critics and scholars have interrogated intertextuality. M.H.Abrams (2005364) characteristically gives a comprehensive definition of intertextuality as The multiple ways in which any one literary text is in fact made of other texts, by means of its open or covert citations and allusions, its repetitions and transformations of the formal and substantive features of earlier texts, or simply its unavoidable participation in the common stock of linguistic and literacy conventions and procedures that are always – already in place and constitute the discourse into which we are born. According to Terry Eagleton (1983192), all literary works are, to some extent, rewritten, although this may be an unconscious practice of the societies that read them. The implication of Eagletons statement is that there is no completely new text. In this regard, Ahmed Yerimas The Trial of Oba Ovonramwen is a rewritten version of Ola Rotimis Ovonramwen Nogbaisi. Ahmed Yerimas Otaelo is evidently a rewritten version of William Shakespeares Othello. Wale Ogunyemis Ijaye Historical Drama on Nineteenth Century Ijaye War is a rewritten version of Ola Rotimis Kurunmi. Ndubuisi Umunnakwes Dear Ramatoulaye (1994) is undoubtedly a rewritten version of Mariama Bas popular epistolary novel, So Long a Letter (1981). J.M. Coetzees Foe (1986) is a written version of Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe (1719). Little wonder, Eagleton concludes that there is no reading of a work that is not a re-writing. Martin Coyle et al (1990 613) posits that each text takes its meaning from other texts, not merely prior texts, but other concomitant texts and expressions of culture and language. Biodun Jeyifo (1988 277) lends his critical voice to the concept of intertextuality thus there are configurations and connections between works and writers with the different literary genres. The import of Biodun Jeyifos statement is that intertextuality cuts across genres. For example, there is intertextuality between W.B. Yeats poem The Second Coming and Chinua Achebes magnus opus, Things Fall Apart (1958). Intertextuality is also evident in Wole Soyinkas poem, Death in the Dawn and Ben Okris Booker Prize-winning novel, The Famished Road. The fact is that literature does not exist in a vacuum. It depends on the socio-political realities of its environment and the pre-cursor texts (oral and written) for its impetus. Charles Bodunde (199472) opines that each literature or text has the capacity to influence and extend the meaning of the other. Intertextuality encapsulates issues of revisioning, adaptation, processes of borrowing, reinterpretation and interrogation with older texts. Every text is an intertext. The writer must have been inspired by or may be responding to previous texts. In literary texts, writers draw facts and gather ideas from psychology, sociology, law, medicine, economics, information technology, theology and other disciplines. They even employ registers from these disciplines in their works. In Merchant of Venice, the inimitable William Shakespeare evinces an incredibly deep knowledge of law. In The Jero Plays, Soyinka dazzles the readers with his impressive knowledge of the Holy Bible. The fact that a writer conforms with the formal and substantive features of earlier texts demonstrates intertextuality. Thus, novels are written in chapters while plays are written in acts and scenes, and sometimes, movements or situations. Brenda Marshall (1992 130) makes a brilliant observation that intersexuality transcends a reference to earlier texts it is a manipulation of those texts. Manipulation in this context means a skillful transposition of the earlier texts into African setting if the play is of non – African origin and rupturing the original plots and motifs of the earlier texts, if the play is of African Origin. African dramaturgy is replete with such manipulations. Femi Osofisans Women of Owu is an adaptation of Euripidess Trojan Women while his Another Raft (1988) is unabashedly inspired by J. P .Clarks The Raft (1964). Bertolt Brechts The Threepenny Opera (1928) resurrected in the African literary landscape as Soyinkas Opera Wonyosi (1977), while Ahmed Yerimas Otaelo (2002) is an adaptation of Shakespeares Othello as acknowledged by the prolific playwright My adaptation of William Shakespeares Othello, which I titled Otaelo is based on Shakespeares theme of jealously and intrigues. The adaptation is based on the Igbo osu tradition, and the characters change, names change, the situation changes, the sensibilities changes, but the jigida which is the new symbol of love which represents the handkerchief of Shakespeares original play still serves as the destructive metaphor in adaption (2003 124) Not unexpectedly, when adaptation occurs, there are bound to be points of convergence and divergence between the original text and its adaptation. It is the primary duty of the literary critic to delineate the common threads running through the plays and the differences. William Irwin (2004 227) makes an opposite remark that intertextuality in some instances really appear accidental. This is a pointer to the amazing level of similarity of human experience the world over. The accidental occurrence of intertextuality is borne out of the fact that a writers literary work may show structural interconnections and thematic linkages with earlier works without the writer having an original intention to do this. This is instantiated in Zulu Sofolas Wedlock of the Gods (1973) and Shakespeares evergreen tragedy, Romeo and Juliet where the dramatic conflicts in the two plays are triggered by love, family feud and elopement. Intertextualitv has ignited considerable critical passion among literary scholars and critics of African drama. Sola Adeyemi (2000) engages in an intertextual study of Femi Osofisans play, Yungba Yungba and the Dance Contest (1993). As earlier mentioned, a discourse on intertextuality transcends how literary texts inspire one another. Other issues such as socio-political and psychological matters are also of paramount importance. In the article, Sola Adeyemi intertextually examines Femi Osofisans treatment of the disturbing proliferation of tyrants who have, like a colossus, bestrode the African landscape. He identifies one major strand of the exploration of the interextuality in African drama as the use of traditional myths to counter the erected or popular versions of the prevalent hegemony (28). African writers and dramatists such as Ngugi wa Thiongo, Femi Osofisan, Nagoub Mafouz and Jack Mapanje are preoccupied with the cardinal issue of individual and collective freedom on the African continent which has been riddled with a legion of problems and challenges. They are unwaveringly committed towards countering all hegemonies imposed by force of fiat, coercion and craftiness. Sam Kasule (2001193) expends his critical ink on intertextuality in Soyinkas writing. He identifies intertextuality as a major aspect of Soyinkas writing as it runs through his ouevre. Adeoti Gbemisola (2011) in lends his critical voice to intertextuality in African drama. He critically evaluates how Yerimas An Inspector Calls and Otaelo are intertextually connected with Gogols The Governments Inspector (1842) and Shakespeares Othello respectively. According to him, our understanding of the manifestation of adaptation in Nigerian drama can be enhanced by intertextuality. He mentions a crucial accomplishment of adaptation as investing the source texts with new perspectives which the audiences attention is drawn to. B.F. Afolayan (2012) adumbrates how Nigerian playwrights pioneered by Soyinka and J.P. Clark -Bekedereno tend to rewrite and dialogue with the literary works of their predecessors. The paper discusses some of the ways in which Hope Eghagha in his play Death, Not a Redeemer (1998) rewrites the themes and motifs in Soyinkas Death and the Kings Horseman. Intertextuality in African Drama forms the pivot of Omolara Kikelomo Owoeye (2013) paper, aptly entitled Evaluting the Intertextual interplay in Modern African Drama A Reading of Wole Soyinkas The Strong Breed and Femi Osofisans No More the Wasted Breed. She observes that intertextuality is evident in drama across the entire globe, and not only African drama. She, however, acknowledges the fact that intertextuality is too evident in Africa drama to be discounted, and elements of intersexuality are evident even in the earliest African plays. At this juncture, we shall examine the interrelationship between text and history and link it with New Historicism. The theoretical text do not exist in a vacuum. They remain hostage, to available language, available practice, available imagination. Our dwelling reasonably on intertextuality is borne out of the fact that it is an integral component of New Historicism. As earlier mentioned, the application of New Historicism as an analytical tool involves transcends the reading of the literary texts. Historical, economic, legal and government documents may also be read as literary texts. For example, Harriet Beecher Stowes Uncle Toms Cabin might be read with Abraham Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation. Instead of independent or autonomous literary texts expressing their own unique meanings, texts are read together, intertextually. History connects language, practice, and imagination. Elizabeth Fox- Genovese (1989221) observes that since texts manifest or express social and gender relations, they constitute relations which cannot be shorn of history. Historical relations of time, place, and domination sharpen the comprehension of texts. When texts are viewed with historical prism, they are endowed with considerable power. Some texts cash in on this privilege by even revisiting more than one historical movement. Historical literary texts perfectly fall into the category of a significant category of texts which Faith Mclellan (19961014) refers to as a core text. She posits that A core text can be read on several levels literals, symbolic, metaphysical, or allegorical. It is especially rich and often especially difficult events depicted. In these works may have a one to one correspondence with biographical or historical events, they may be standing in for something very different, they may have mixed features, or the authors intentions may not be discernibleWhatever their composition, the works are complex are multifaceted. As core texts, historical literary text must demonstrate a reasonable measure of complexity .The novelist or dramatist as the case may be must have done a thorough research on the historical materials and events which inspire the literary works. This reasonable degree of complexity is evident in African drama such as Martin Owusus The Mightier Sword, Adreya Masiyes The Lands of Kasembe, Wole Soyinkas Death and the Kingss Horseman and Ebrahim Husseins Kinjeketile. The more the writer is thoroughly grounded in the historical background of the work, the better justice he can do for the work. This painstaking research on the historical background is also a hallmark of New Historicism. A literary critic who wants to successfully apply the theory must put on two invisible caps that of a critic and that of a historian. He must gather sufficient historical materials and documents which must have inspired the literary work in order to be able to come up with a subjective view of history. Admittedly, literary writers are not historians or historiographers. This explains the African dramatists proclivity to rupture history sometimes by deliberately tampering with the chronology of the historical events in their literary works. For instance, in his play, Queen Amina of Zazzau, Wale Ogunyemi draws from history as source materials to revisit a momentous event of the 16th century and retells it in the 20th century to make a contemporaneous statement. Queen Amina, according to historical account, was an intrepid warrior who reigned in Zaria for several years. Her memorable reign was characterized by her conquest, military exploits and administrative savvy. Reading of historical literary texts can sometimes fire a deep interest in the historical events on which they are based. After reading Toni Morrisons literary masterpiece. Beloved, a novel which unabashedly paints a grim picture of the American slave trade of the nineteenth century which culminated in the American Civil War (1861-1865), this present writer developed a keen interest on that chapter of American history. Dapo Adelugba and Olu Obafemi (2004) does a marvelous job tracing the historical development of Nigerian theatre and drama. What we found most fascinating about this study is its generous discussion on the performance aspects of the Nigerian theatre and drama. The first thing acknowledged by these literary scholars is the confirmation of the existence of a popular theatre tradition prior to the colonial intervention on the Nigerian artistic scene. The Urhobo Udje Dance Performance, the Alarinjo travelling theatre, the Bornu Puppet show, the Yankamanci Hausa comedy, the Adamu-Orisa (Eyo) funeral rites and the Ozidi Saga are identified as typical popular traditional theatre. The cultural nationalist phase (1860-1944) is identified as the first major strand or period of the evaluation of Nigerian theatre. The stout resistance of the performance modes of the European churches led to the emergence of cultural nationalism. According to Dapo Adelugba and Olu Obafemi (2004), stage performances during the period was manifestly makeshift staging in terms of theatre structure, stage lighting, set and other theatre resources. This is as a result of lack of electricity in the city of Lagos where the performances took place during the period. Performances were held with hanging lanterns and Chinese lamps.The demise of colonial theatre resulted in the emergence of native, Nigerian drama. The cultural nationalist phase was followed by the modern Nigerian theatre travelling theatre (1944-1980s). The Yoruba travelling theatres image loomed large during this period due to their vibrancy. Dapo Adelugba and Olu Obafemi (2004147) shed more light on the specifics of this theatre Its part chant, part song, part dialogue nature, its closeness to its Renaissance-derived European ancestry, with its librettos, arias and scores, its spectacle, dramatic and theatrical flavor, and robust audience participation. There is also its informal/improvisational nature and its evolution as an art form. Chief Hubert Ogunde was its proponent. The Garden of Eden and The Throne of God, Strike and Hunger and Worse Than Crime are some of his plays staged during the period. Kola Ogunmola, Moses Olaiya. Oyin Adejobi, Ade Afolayan (Ade Love) and Lere Paimo are some of his notable colleagues/successors. Dapo Adelogba and Olu Obafemi (2004) comment that the populist aesthetics of Yoruba travelling theatre performances was built on loose improvisation, the spectacle of props and costume, lively and engaging musical ensemble and the sociopolitical and cultural relevance of its content. The socio-political and cultural relevance of its content mentioned above is still manifestly present in the final stage of the development of Nigerian theatre which is referred to as Modern Nigerian Theatre the Literary Theatre Tradition (1956 onwards). The pioneering drama of James Ene Henshaw in this regard is acknowledged, as amply demonstrated in his plays such as. This is Our Chance (1956), A Man of Character (1956), Children of the Goddess (1964), Medicine for Love (1965) and Jewels of the Shrine (1965). The simplicity of the plots and characterization of the plays and the social and political relevance and popularity of the themes explored by the playwright are mentioned. Yemi Ogunbiyi (1981) has described Henshaws plays as a more refined form of Onitsha market literature in language and style. Yemi Ogunbiyi (198127) posits that Henshaws contributions lay, ultimately, in the area of example – the example of simple plays, sample characterization, of uncomplicated plot and even predictable resolutions. Dapo Adelugba and Olu Obafemi (2004) partitions the Nigerian dramatists of the final phase of the evolutionary process of Nigerian theatre and drama into two generations. The first generation of dramatists includes Wole Soyinka, Zulu Sofola, J.P. Clark and Ola Rotimi. Bode Sowande. Tess Onwueme, Sam Ukala, Femi Osofisan, Olu Obafemi and Tunde Fatunde represent the succeeding generation of Nigerian dramatics. The first generation of Nigerian dramatics thematizes the dysfunctional political system and leadership in Nigeria at that period. Wole Soyinkas A Dance of the Forests and The Swamp Dwellers, Zulu Sofolas Wedlock of the Gods and King Emene, J.P. Clarks Song of a Goat and Ola Rotimis The Gods are not To Blame are examples of such plays. The second generation of Nigerian dramatists shifts their focus not on the leaders but on the plight of the people, and on the underprivileged rather than kings and princes. Bode Sowandes Tornadoes Full of Dreams and Farewell to Babylon, Tess Onwuemes The Reign of Wazobia and Tell it to Women Tunde Fatundes Oga Na Tief Man, and Femi Osofisans Morountodun and Once Upon four Bobbers exemplify such plays. The restriction in the scope of Dapo Adelugba and Olu Obafemi (2004) study to Nigerian theatre and drama does not in any way vitiate its usefulness. Nigerian drama is arguably the most robust of the Anglophone African drama. The high population (approximately 200 million), large size and cultural diversity of the country are contributory factors to this. Drama and theatre is very vibrant in Nigeria. The movie industry, popularly known as Nollywood is thriving despite the great challenge of piracy plaguing the sector. Theatre Arts is also among the most popular courses being offered in Nigeria Universities As earlier mentioned, New Historicism is a theory with an eye on history. Kole Omotoso (200410) expressly states the usefulness of employing a literary theory with an eye on history in the analysis of the works of African writers who are endowed with the ability and dexterity to weave historical facts into the fabrics of their dramatic vision Whilst critics of African literature has not been shy about applying deconstructionist, modernist, colonial, post-modernist and post- colonial theories critics have been wary about corralling theatre, drama and performance from Africa into a theory that denies the relevance of history to artistic endeavours. Kole Omotosos afore-mentioned statement establishes the perfect suitability of New Historicism as an analytic tool in a study of African theatre, drama and performance. Still on African textuality in drama, it is instructive to note that though it is in performance that the effects of the immediacy and dramatic projection come about, a play has to give the actors the material which will help them create these effects. Susan Bassnet (1998) identifies a whole range of different ways of reading the drama text the directors reading, the actors reading, the designers reading the dramaturgical reading. In the actors reading, for instance, the actor will focus on his or her individual lines, and the other actors he/she will encounter on stage. The designers reading of the play will concentrate on the stage design that is, the most appropriate design to project the plot and themes of the dramatic texts. Lighting is the most important element of the stage design. The spatial organization of the performance venue is a primary influence on the perception and reception of the audience. The organization of the architectural, scenic and interpersonal space is also crucial in the understanding of performance codes and systems. 3.3 Performance Aesthetics in Drama Drama enjoys full realization only after performance. Performance is an integral aspect drama which must not be discounted or relegated to the background. It is not unusual for students, literary scholars and audience generally to enthuse that their comprehension of a dramatic text becomes sharpened after watching the performance of the play. The stage performances undeniably boost the comprehension of plays. Sola Fosudo (2007215-216) states that The text of a play is as vague and as incomprehensible as the musical score of a concert before it is brought to life. It is the transformation that actors and other performers give a script through their bodies and voices the effects that designers devise with sets, costumes, lights, make-ups, stage props and the ingenuity of the managers to attract the attention of the right audience to the show, that make the play come alive and become a worthwhile event. Sola Fosudo here suggests that the success of the stage performance of a play requires the collaboration of the actors, the director, the costumiers, the stage managers, the make-up artistes and several others. Tim Bezant (1996 ix) in his introductory note to Robert Bolts play, A Man for All Seasons avers that all plays are written to be performed or, at the very least, read aloud. We must quickly add her that a category of plays called the closet drama are not meant to be performed. A closet drama is written in dramatic form, with dialogue, indicated settings, and stage directions, but is intended by the author to be read rather than performed. John Miltons Samson Agonistes, and Lord Bryons Manfred exemplify closet drama. Closet drama continues to be written today, although it is no longer a very popular genre. Performance is an artistic actualization and creative representation of action. Stage performances of dramatic texts must necessarily be imbued with creativity on the part of the actors and the theatre directors, so that the audience can get value for their idea, an earlier performance, and the time and money expended on watching the stage performance. Margaret Drewal (19923) is of the view that performance is an inter-textual activity which is based on either an idea, an earlier performance, myth or rehearsal of the last performance. Drewals opinion of performance as an inter-textual activity is in consonance with Julia Kristevas definition, and explanation on intertextuality. The import of this is that although performance is not repetition as suggested by Jacques Derrida (1978247), the performers still observe the basic conventions or principles guiding stage performance. In stage performances of dramatic texts, five different actors playing the role of a particular character in the play text, especially a lead character, can give five different interpretations of the character. This further supports Jacques Derridas claim that performance is not repetition. Every performance is unique. Marjorie Boulton (1977104) in her incisive comment on the imperativeness of performance in drama has a token of advice to dramatists The immediacy of drama guides dramatists in their artistic creations, knowing fully well that the literary text will still have to be performed on stage in order to breathe life into the text. The fact that the success (literary and/or commercial) of a play gets determined not long after its production or publication adds considerable amount of weight to Marjorie Boultons claim. Instances abound of poets and novelists whose works were disparaged in their lifetime, only for them to win critical acclaim and great popularity after their demise The American novelist, Herman Melville (1819-1891), now widely recognized as one of the greatest American novelists, was almost wholly ignored while he was alive. His novel, Moby-Dick received scant critical attention and public indifference in his lifetime. The fact that Melville reputedly spent the last third of his life in penury and despair, thinking himself a failure, further underlines the gravity of the issue. Intriguingly, the novel became a phenomenal success after his death, and the greatness of Moby-Dick became widely acknowledged. In a similar vein, the celebrated American poet, Emily Dickinson who died unsung became blasted out of obscurity after her death. Her fame as a poet has endured generations. Conversely, drama excites an immediate reaction from the readers or the audience as the case may be. This explains why a newly-released movie turns out to be a blockbuster, an average success or an outright commercial failure. The same is applicable to the stage performances of dramatic texts. The play could turn out to be a box-office hit, or not. In his highly informative paper entitled Theatricality and Textuality The Example Othello, John Bernard (1995) identifies the friction that exists between the performed text and that which appears in print. He states the opposing scholarly position that such a division creates. Significantly, he indicates that the affinity between these two approaches to reading dramatic texts that is, the text-centred and stage-centred is not overly recognized. Undoubtedly dramatic text designed for performance on the stage will consist of elements of meaning that a not present in its written form. This study is partly saddled with the burden of inquiry into some of these elements. Performance is evidently an integral part of the drama which arms the critic with a fuller mastery of the drama than if the focus had exclusively been on the text. M.Nzewi (1979128) is of the view that drama and the other theatrical arts like dance, music, poetry, role-playing, acrobatics, costuming, make-up, mask spectacle, etc are inextricably interwoven in the performance sand are therefore practically inseparable. Dramatic texts are usually conceived either as scripts intended for performances, or as records of actual performances. To illustrate the latter, many of William Shakespeares plays usually went on stage, time and again, before publication. The stage performances exposed the plays to extensive revision before publication. A study in performance of African drama must be thorough. The researcher viewing the stage performances of African drama must be smart enough to be able to identify the timing of events, gestures, tone, visual effects and many other performance aesthetics which will be unraveled in the course of the performance. According to Isidore Okpewho (19907) in The Oral Performance in Africa The judgenment the literary scholar of performance reaches is ultimately an aesthetic one – that the performance is simply trying to impress or to affect his audience as to the authoritativeness of his art. A committed performer naturally desires to impress his audience. The response he gets from the audience in the course of the performance goes to long way in boosting or dampening his morale. M.H. Abrams (20054) in his highly influential book, A Glossary of Literary Terms succinctly defines aesthetics as the systematic study of all the fine arts, as well as the nature of beauty in any object, whether natural or artificial. According to a widely-acclaimed philosopher of art, Monroe Beardsley (1958), judging which indicates the search for and the realization of the aesthetic value of an object is one of the of various activities associated with aesthetics. In his collection of essays on the aesthetic point of view, he observes that the aesthetic value of an object is largely determined by the degree of aesthetic gratification it is capable of providing in a particular experience of it, especially when correctly and completely experienced. The gratification may range from surprise to inspiration, disgust to elation and pleasure to displeasure. In the contemporary theory of consumption which has been greatly influenced by Marxism, modernism and post modernism, the audience and the critic are active contributors in artistic production. The need to appeal to the audience who has become increasingly sophisticated often influences the artists. In drama performances, the artistes must be overly put in their best in order to impress the audience, who are usually members of the public. Our discussion on performance aesthetics in drama shall be done under the following sub-headings role of audience role of director role of actor stage/stage manager costume and make-up appropriate code to decoding performance. A Role of Audience In his book, The Theatre Audience in Nigeria, Jide Malomo (20021) affirms that the audience is so significant to the theatre that the theatre can hardly exist without it. He is of the opinion that practically everything in the theatre, including the repertoire, depends on the audience, which gives the theatre its meaning and its raison detre. It is the audience for which the playwright communicates his ideas and feelings, while the necessary visual and aural elements that enhance the communication of ideas are designed primarily for the Aesthetic pleasure and appreciation of the audience. Actors play to audiences, not to themselves. Elizabeth Hill et al (199825) identify three types of audience as follows Audience as art receptors This consists simply of those who experience art for the sake of the value of the art product without any desire or intention to patronize it. Audience as associates This consists of those with whom an artist or an arts organization, had some form of communication, including those who support the arts in any way or who have interest in their development, such as governing bodies that fund the arts, regional arts boards, the press, donors, contributors and sponsors, including friends of the artists. Audience as customers This considers the audience as being involved in a transaction with the artist or an arts organization. This definition sees the audience as being those with whom the arts organization is trying to exchange something of value. Our application of the concept of audience in this study covers the three afore-mentioned contexts. The full participation of the audience is a crucial element of the theatre. Without the audience, the whole essence of the stage performance is defeated. It has been severally argued by critics that, until an audience sees a dramatists piece of work on stage, it should not be considered as complete. J.L. Styan (1960) distinguishes between words written and words seen and heard, and says a play is the response of an audience to its performance (4). Robert Cohen (200296) has described acting as a public interaction. As a public interaction, the consuming public, that is.the audience in stage performances deserve the very best. From the economic point of view, the audience is the consumer that buys tickets for performance. He is also the receiver of a production, thereby serving as a microcosm of the wider society and public opinion.The audience and the performer constitute vital elements of performance. They both contribute into the coding and decoding process. Each sends its own signal at various points. The audience perceives and decodes the text of the stage performance according to the canons that are known to him. He also initiates theatrical communication process through a series of actions, which are practical and symbolic. However, the relationship between the audience and the performer can sometimes be problematic, as suggested by Howard Barker (198945) in Arguments for a Theatre that the audience is often willing to know more than the dramatist or producer trusts it with. Howard Barker decries the childish treatment of the audience, even by the best theatres across the globe. The audience constitutes the central aspect of performance in theatre and drama. Herbert Blau (1984) in his book, The Audience, describes the advent of the audience to the European theatre as a social development. The audience relates to the stage performance as it mirrors the realities and experiences of life. As soon as the playwright completes the writing of a play, he detaches himself, and practically hands it over to the actors, knowing fully well that they will transform it. The transformation is determined primarily by the actors interests and skills in communicating with an audience. Unless a play is broadcast on radio or television, or made into a film, the performance is affected by the quality of the audiences response to the play. Positive responses from the audience usually energize the actors to give impressive, electrifying performances. Conversely, cold response from the members of the audience typically dampens the morale of the actors. Remarkably, the response of the audience is largely determined by the performance. Good performances are likely to trigger positive response from the audience, and vice versa. Good audiences, says Brian Hansen (19919) get good shows. Conversely, it can be stated that good shows make good audiences. For, just as a good audience will inspire the actors to give their best, a good performance will in turn bring out the best response in the audience. Whichever way one looks at it, a successful theatre depends largely on skilful management, on the ability to create effective actor-audience interaction for effective communication. As an active participant in the performance, the audience needs to be in the right frame of mind for the performance. He needs to shrug off his domestic distractions and financial concerns, etc, and focus his senses and mood to enjoy the performance. This will make his immediate response to and comments on the performance a reliable yardstick for the measurement of the success or otherwise of a theatrical production. Any valid definition of the theatre always takes cognizance of the presence of the audience. Therefore, no efforts must be spared to ensure the maximum comfort of the audience. As defined by Peter Brook (1968), in its simplest sense, theatre is the utilization of an empty space by the actor and spectator. According to him I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged (11). In a similar vein, Jerzy Grotowski (196832) defines theatre fundamentally as what takes place between spectator and actor. Edwin Wilson (199117) posits that at the heart of the theatre experience, therefore, is the actor-audience relationship, the immediate personal exchange whose chemistry and magic give theatre its special quality. In an eloquent testimony of the significance of audience to stage performance, Stephen Langley (197424) recognizes for basic components of stage performance as a creative raw material, a person to refine it, a place for presenting the finished product and an audience to view it. The implication of this is that the actor communicates a message to an audience inside a given space. Richard Schechner (198891) succinctly puts it that the audience is the dominant element of any performance. Ahmed Yerima (200969) in his book, Discourse on Tragedy, posits that in most African performances of tragedy, the audience are so overwhelmed by the performance that they take sides and revolve themselves into the plot of the play. The idea of the audience taking sides during stage performance is a clear demonstration of the active role of audience during performances. The most obvious way in which the dramatist can acknowledge the presence of the audience and offer necessary information is through a Prologue, spoken by a single actor. Similarly, an explanation or interpretation can be given in an Epilogue. In performance, the audience and the performer are united. This characterizes the dynamic spatial relations of the performance. In general, the western world favours the proscenium staging in which there is space division between performer and audience. The spatial division puts the audience at the receiving end. Conversely, in the African society, the performer and the audience are intimately interwoven. In the 1960s, Augusto Boal devised and developed a form of theatre called the Theatre of the Oppressed. The Theatre of the Oppressed was named after the work and ideas of Paulo Freire .Boals work which began in Brazil, later moved to Portugal, France, Britain, Ireland, and the whole of Europe. Boals Theatre of the Oppressed aligns with the concept of theatre in the African society. In Boals system, the barrier between actor and audience is broken down. The audience participates actively in the action of the play to make changes and create new solutions. Essentially, Augusto Boal created the convention of interference. Augusto Boal (197946) distinguishes the conventional theatre from the Theatre of the Oppressed In the conventional theatre there is a code the code of noninterference by the audience. In the Theatre of the Oppressed, there is a proposition interference, intervention. In the conventional, we present images of the world for contemplation in the Theatre of the Oppressed, these images are presented to be destroyed and replaced by othersIn the conventional theatrical relationship, the actor acts in my place and not in my name In a Theatre of the Oppressed, anyone can intervene.The goal of the Theatre of the oppressed is not then to create calm, equilibrium, but rather to create disequilibrium which prepares the way for action. Unlike other art forms, theatre has a direct relationship to community because it requires a live audience. It is also by its very nature transitory that is, it takes place in the present while we watch and the theatre performer shares a temporal and spatial sphere with his/her audience while inhabiting a separate emotional realm. Paradoxically, despite a performers ability to create distance from the audience, he/she remains dependent on audience connection and feedback. The performer thus necessarily maintains a link to a community through the audience. Audience members, in turn, may temporarily connect to culture through the performance. In this way, the performance context may resonate with the audiences broader society, extending from that present into the past, or towards the future. In other words, the communal aspect of the theatre cannot be ignored. B. Role of Director In stage performances, the director calls the shots. He is such a central figure that Nemirovich-Danchenko (193798) of the Moscow Arts Theatre mentions the dictatorial will of the director. The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English (2005403) defines a dictator as a.) a ruler who has complete power over a country, especially who has gained it using military force b.) a person who behaves as if they have complete power over other people, and tells them what to do. The second definition approximates the idea of director in drama. He wields a great deal of power and influence over the actors of the play. His views are sacrosanct and his instructions must be obeyed with alacrity for there to be a successful stage performance. Constatin Stanislavski (1968 254-67) in Building a Character also stresses the authority of the director as one of the fundamental principles guiding acting. He makes a striking statement that failure to listen to this presiding figure is classified as a crime against all other workers in the theatre. Adolphe Appia (196241) states that the director must provide a kind of magnetic influence and examine the play of his own imagination in order to strip it as much as possible of convention. The afore-stated dictatorial will of the director does not imply that the director will not collaborate with the actors, the costumiers, the stage manager and the set designer. Theatre is, by its nature, collaborative. (Arnold, 2001 Wilson, 2001 Caird, 2010). Part of what makes it so difficult to talk about authorial voice in theatre is its collaborative nature. Once the playwright completes the text, it is the sovereignty is transferred to the members of the cast and the stage production teams. The directors two basic responsibilities are to bring about a unified vision within the finished production, and to lead others towards its ultimate actualization. To meet these charges, the director must organize the realization of his or her vision. He must decide upon the interpretation to be given the play, work with the playwrights, designers, and technicians in planning the production, cast and rehearse the actors, and coordinate all elements into the finished production. To decide upon interpretation, the director must analyse the script to discover the plays structure and meanings. He must be able to envision the plays atmosphere or mood, and know how to actualize in terms of design and theatrical space. When casting a play, the director is aware of the physical demands of a character. Physical appearance must fit the character, and must also be seen in relation to other characters. He also tries to design acting potential. John Caird submits in his highly-informative book, Theatre Craft (2010) that the core of the theatre is a triangular connection between author-actor-audience. The directors aim and pride lies in effectively achieving this connection.The directors role of selecting sections of the play to use or discard is in line with his functional role as a critic. In selecting the materials that best suit the plays intent and meaning, he is reviewing the plays constituent materials with an aim to improve, just as a critic does. Although aspects of individual performances may receive critical mention during or after the performance, it is the effective cohesiveness of the entire performance that determines the final critical stance of the spectators. The onus is on the director to ensure this effective cohesiveness. C. Role of Actor Constantin Stanslavski (198132) harps on the need for actors to be imaginative by suggesting reliance buy the actor on imagination to put life into what he calls external circumstances. Through imagination, the actor can exercise a mental version of the script. He may strike an imaginary dialogue with a character, and the imagination may also provoke the actors own feelings into dialogue. Essentially, the actor must create an alternative and complementary script to that of the play itself, something that Constantin Stanislavski (198156) calls the score of a Role. The actor needs to be off script. Once off script, the lines are memorized well enough.The actor must be ready to learn and be submissive to the director. In his book, Theatre, Brief Version, Robert Cohen (2000) describes traits a director often looks for in actors. The actors training and experience, physical characteristics and vocal technique, suitability for the style of the play, and past record of achievement are among these traits.The ability to correct mistakes gracefully on stage and make them appear as not mistakes at all is one of the things that separate expert actors from amateurs. D. Stage/ Stage Manager Standard dramatic performances take place on stage. According to J.R. Taylor (1970262), stage refers to the area of a theatre, within or outside a permanent structure, where acting takes place. The stage is critical to an actor because, according to Benedetti (197641), it is his space, his environment and his world. The space of the stage is not only an environment for his work, it is also one of the materials with which he creates. Femi Osofisan (199482) captures the magical excitement the stage offers. Recalling a visit to the University of Ibadan Arts Theatre to see Wole Soyinkas play, Kongis Harvest, he writes This one was totally mesmerizing. I was entranced by the scenic effects, by the costuming, the play of lights and colours, the dancing, the music. I had never seen anything like this The evening was like an initiation into the secrets of what true African theatre should be. There is a compelling need for the effective management of the stage in order to get the best out of both the actor and the spectator.Stage management is of an utmost importance in the stage performance of a play. Joseph Oghene Umukoro (2007210) defines stage management as the art of ensuring a smooth performance without let or hindrance, effectively coordinating the activities of the cast and crew onstage and backstage. He goes on to highlight the various invaluable roles of the stage manager in theatre production. These include keeping records of attendance at rehearsals actors blockings and other directorial decisions taking charge of rehearsals and performances in the absence of the director. A properly organized and well-managed stage saves time between scenes, forestalls unfortunate mishaps, and motivate actors to pose impressive performances on stage. Stage management also entails a proper grasp of stage geography and different stage types, such as the proscenium, the thrust, the theatre in the round, or arena. Effiong Johnson (200115) defines stage management as the creation, maintenance and utilization of the stage environment in a manner conducive to the realization of the theatrics of a given production. The stage environment must be properly maintained and utilized for there to be a successful theatre production. E. Costume and Make-Up Costume and make up serve as veritable medium of expression in stage performance. Grace Uche Hassan Regina Kwakye-Opong (2010) are of the opinon that costume and make up is not just about clothing an actor or applying cosmetics on an actors face or parts of an actors body that is not concealed by the costume. It is the process of studying who and what the character in the script is. In character description, costume and make up play significant roles. This is because what the audience sees gives a more immediate impression of who the character is, than what he or she says that is, what the audience hear from the characters mouth. In real life situation, costume usually gives a form of expression about an individual, either his or her social status, culture, religion, profession, sex, age, etc. This ability to dress and make up to make an impression about the wearer on an onlooker is even more profound in the theatre. This is in view of the fact that once a character appears on stage, the audience instantly begins to interpret that character by what they see on him. Actors and actresses are seen before they are heard. This is a common phrase used in the theatre to underscore the significance of costume in stage performance and movie production. Martin Banham (1995247) asserts that actors do attach a greater importance to costume than scenery. The fact that many performance traditions across the globe have lavished resources on clothing, accessories, masks and disguise speaks volumes on the high premium placed on costume and make-up. Costume is a fundamental visual element of stage performances. It iss one of the earliest and highly important arts that developed alongside theatre. Robert Cohen (2000147) avers that Costume has always been a major element in the theatrical experience. It is a vehicle for the dressing up that actors and audiences alike have always considered a requirement for the full degree of theatrical satisfaction. An actor or performer in the theatre wears costumes to portray a character before an audience. The primary aim of costume design is to transform an actor or performer into the character being portrayed, and to enhance the audiences comprehension and overall appreciation of the performance. An actor who wants to play the role of a lawyer must necessarily dress like one. Also, the audience expect an actress playing the role of a prostitute to be skimpily and immoderately dressed. As a visual communication tool, costumes possess tremendous power to capture the attention of the audience, and, in the process, intensify moods and convey messages through non-verbal means. Toni Duruaku (199687) captures it succinctly thus costumes heighten the aesthetic value of the play, offering basic information, and enhancing the plays interpretation. Costume is a vibrant artistic medium of the theatre as a cultural expression. The role of costumes transcends the enhancement of theatrical events they form an integral part of cultural aesthetics. They project the cultures of the characters, and boost the cultural image of the people whose lives are reflected in the stories being dramatized on stage, or in films. Costumes and make-up could become effective tools of cultural promotion and development, if well-manipulated. As a matter of fact, certain costumes are symbolic of a specific ethnicity (Dzramedo, 2009). According to Grace Uche Hassan and Regina Kwakye-Opong (2010) A dramatic piece can be investigative, therapeutic it can border on expressionism or serve as a veritable means of communicating information or mobilizing a group of people. To achieve all these and many more, drama often depends on costume and other visual elements of the theatre to create a believable impact on the audience. Wilson (2001) opines that stage costume communicates the same information as ordinary clothes with regards to sex, position and occupation, yet on stage, during performance, this information is magnified because every element in the theatre is in a spotlight. By implication, costume serves as a communicator of everyday life, expressing socio-economic status and class, as well as the culture of the character. Costume assists characterization so that before the character utters a word, the audience can have an idea of the age, social status, personality, nationality, etc of the actor. It also helps in establishing the relationship between characters in a play. To this, Brockett (1988376) posits that costume can establish or clarify character relationship. For instance, in plays with plots which involve warring factions, the members of the same faction can be related to each other and contrasted with members of different factions through colour scheme. The stage performance of Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, which will be discussed in the subsequent chapter of this thesis illustrates this. Costume individualizes the character. By the colour and style of the costume and make-up, a character is set apart from another character. In one of the stage performances to be examined in the next chapter, Afonjas character is impressively individuated through his costume. Costume and make-up contribute to the total artistic effect of stage or film production. Charles Nwadigwe (2005) while commenting on costume and make-up in Nigerian films and films in general submits that they are an integral part of the actors personality, and they intensify the narrative action of the film. We shall conclude our discussion on costume as performance aesthetics with comments on costume design. The objectives of costume design are to set the tone and style, indicate time and place, characterize individuals and groups, personal relationships, create symbolic outfits when appropriate, meet the practical needs of performers and coordinate the entire production. The costume designers principal role in any stage performance is to be able to vividly portray all these cultural connotations and their relevance as revealed in a play to educate the audience. The costume designers greatest challenge is to give visual forms to abstract ideas (Wilson, 2001 200). The designer must be familiar with the script to achieve this. He must not be conservative. He must be ready to think out of the box, and must be willing to experiment, relying on the desired atmosphere of the play in order to determine the cultural milieu and suitability of the designs (Tortora Eubank, 1995). These can only be accomplished if the designer researches extensively, read widely, and possibly conduct oral interviews. F. Appropriate Code To Decoding Performance In a theatrical event or production, understanding is generally agreed to be the audiences constitutive action, a calling into consciousness, as it were, of the elements of a specific code. In order to read a stage performance appropriately, there is a great need for the application of the appropriate code that transforms it into a meaningful event. Patris Davis (198233) makes an apposite comment on this Reading a performance is the same as deriding to use a certain code instead of another, the spectator thus creating the performance by using a chosen decoding grid. The implication of this is that if one applies an inappropriate code to a performance, the meaning will be lost on us. As an illustration, understanding a typical European play such as Bernard Shaws Arms and the Man (1898) requires the mimetic code. Once we have this in mind, other associate features of this code, invariably, follow. These include a linear action a logic of causality the development of character the centrality of conflicts to the dynamics of plot, etc. These and other normative aesthetic criteria make up the organic Aristotelian model which is central to the discursive field of the western dramatic tradition. In a similar vein, reading a Noh or kabuki play will require different codes. The mask code has been suggested as the most appropriate code of African drama. It generates a different set of aesthetic criteria from the mimetic, or for that matter the kabuki or the Noh. Sunday Anozie (1981) sets the pace for the expanding discourse which perceives the African mask as possessing inherent iconographic and semantic possibilities. Esiaba Irobi (2006269) refers to the mask as the pivotal and prismatic metalanguage of indigenous African performance. Remarkably, there is a difference between the mask and the masquerade. Dennis Duerden (200029) provides a clear explanation on the difference The mask is an object that has been turned away from its context in the masquerade. The mask was that part of the masquerade costume that covered the face. Its appearance should be considered in relation to the whole costume. Thus, the difference between mask and masquerade is the context of performance. An instance of the use of wrong code in the interpretation of African drama is demonstrated by Martin Esslin (1976281). When asked to write a review essay on the plays of two leading African dramatists, Wole Soyinka and J.P. Clark, Martin Esslin began by pointing out that he possessed no special knowledge of the social and cultural background from which these plays spring. However, he judges Soyinkas plays My only criticism of his dramatic technique concerns his somewhat overfree, and somewhat confusing use of flashback scenes. In practice, the flashback (which is largely a cinematic technique) does not work very effectively on the stage which does not possess the subtle fade-outs of the screen so that flash-backs as a rule involve clumsy scene shifting in the dark, loss of continuity and easy flow of action (288). Harry Garuba ( 1988108 ) in his unpublished PhD thesis entitled Mask and Meaning in Black Drama Africa and the Diaspora comments on Esslins afore-stated verdict on Soyinkas plays that he is working, perhaps unconsciously here, entirely within the mainstream Western tradition, which excludes the mask code. Esslin, according to Garuba, displays a lack of familiarity with the conception of time implied in the mask code. Unlike the Western theatre which religiously obeys the three unities and, invariably, the necessity for the continuity of dramatic action and plot, African theatre demonstrates the simultaneity of time, and sometimes relies on a cinematic editing of time which may be even more complex than the ordinary flashback. 3.4 Theatrical Aesthetics in African Drama Charles Bodunde (200069-81) has identified some of the various types of theatrical aesthetics which are usually evident in African drama. The first is the theatrical aesthetics of dramatic summation. This usually captures the major themes, episodes and enactments that will constitute the main thrust of the performance. The beauty of this theatrical aesthetics is that the plot of the play will be reduced, neatly summarized, and theatricalized within some minutes. We also have the theatrical aesthetics of inter-textual tension. According to Talato Alamu (20103) In literary theory, intertextual tension occurs when events or characters in one literary text serve as a mirror or as an adversarial critique of events and characters in another literary text. It is arguably the most challenging theatrical aesthetics in stage productions simply because known as related characters who must have appeared in previous productions are brought back to the stage to re-enact a burning national issue. Here, the director will only recall from past experiences. Thirdly, there is the theatrical aesthetics of Brechtian-Afrocentricism. This involves the reenactment of Brechtian stage iconography within African inherent artistic resources. The style creates overlapping actions through a production that has no tolerance for intermissions. Stools, chairs, and other stage decors would have been artistically built into the performance. It involves fraternization between the stage audience, the performers and the live audience. Minimally, costumes were changed on stage and members of the audience were at some point deconstructed to act as performers. In order to successfully employ the Brechtian style on stage, Carey Perloff (201045) warns that the structure of his style and plays require the deployment of both serious resources and sophisticated artistry. The theatrical aesthetics of dramatic subversion is another type of theatrical aesthetics. This aesthetics is designed to spring surprises on the audience who are often already familiar with stage performance. We also have actually-reality-topicality theatrical aesthetics. This aesthetics necessarily brings the contemporary issues of the day that are topical to the stage for performance articulation. Finally, we have theatrical aesthetics of socialist reformation. This is applicable most in drama in which the playwrights demonstrate Marxist learning. In this technique, theatre which is one of the cultural institutions under Karl Marxs Cultural Marxism could be employed to reconstruct an African countrys dying culture. In the next chapter, three of the select literary texts will be analysed using a set of theoretical analytical models. CHAPTER FOUR INTERLAY BETWEEN TEXT AND PERFORMANCE IN SELECTED HISTORICAL AFRICAN PLAYS 4.1. Introduction The focus of this chapter is on the analyses of three of the selected literary texts Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja, Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, and Femi Osofisans Women of Owu. The major common thread running through these plays is that they are plays inspired by the Yoruba internecine wars of the nineteenth century. The three plays revisit momentous historical events in Yoruba history. Each of the dramatic texts will be analysed. The analysis of each text will be followed by the analysis of its stage performance. This is with a view to foregrounding the points of convergence and divergence between the written play texts and their stage performances, and, ultimately, establishing the nexus between text and performance in African plays. 4.2. Text 1 Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja 4.2.1 Analysis of the Play Text How MKO Abiola Signed His Own Death Warrant Bashorun MKO Abiola meant different things to many people across Nigeria and beyond. To some, he was a man whose business empire ensured the daily bread of many families. Politically too, he is today seen as a martyr one of the heroes of Nigerias democracy. No wonder, his death on July 7, 1998 raised a lot of dust in the country. From the philanthropic angle, Abiola was the man who provided lifelines to many. He was not Africas Pillar of sports for nothing his football club contributed quite a number of regulars to Nigerias national soccer team, the Super Eagles back then. Fifteen years after, his death is still spoken about with many angles being explored. It is believed in some quarters that if the presumed if the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 elections had not made the famous Epetedo Declaration a year after the election, he would probably not have been arrested and detained and he might still be alive today. Not many have thought about it that the beginning of the end was when Chief Moshood Abiola took the Aare Onakakanfo title. Before taking office, Kakanfos of old were made to pass through rigorous spiritual exercise including shaving the head after which 201 incisions are made on the bald head with 201 different lancets. Specially prepared ingredients from 201 viols are rubbed into the cuts, one for each. The incisions are mainly to make the Kakanfos fearless and courageous, hence the obstinate nature of Kakanfos. So far, Yoruba land had 14 KakanfosAnd by virtue of his office as the commander of the Alaafins army and that of other entire Yoruba nation, Kakanfos of old were required to go to war at least once in three years on the orders of the Alaafin, and the Kakanfo must return dead or alive within three months. In other words, he to return home a victor or be brought home as a corpse. Whether by coincidence or design, the death of most of the 14 Kakanfos were connected with turmoil that shook the Yorubaland. Culled from The Street Journal by Wole Adejumo Our primary aim of introducing our discussion on Toyin Abioduns historical drama, The Trials of Afonja with the above extract from an article published in a magazine is not to revisit the late Bashorun MKO Abiola saga, but to establish a co-relationship between the death of the business mogul whose name is synonymous with the June 12, 1993 presidential election in Nigeria and the Afonja of Ilorin, whose story inspired Abioduns play. They both died controversially. Presidential elections were held in Nigeria on June 12, 1993, the first since the 1983 military coup. The result was a landslide victory for Bashorun MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party, who defeated Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention. However, the elections were later controversially annulled by the then military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida .The annulment culminated in a crisis which enveloped the length and breadth of the country, and which resulted in the killings of many innocent souls. Upon the expiration of his term of office, Ibrahim Babangida left office after widespread protests, leading to the emergence of an interim government led by Ernest Shonekan. The crisis ended with Sani Abacha heading a coup later in the year (Anthony Okosun, 2008). As highlighted in the above article, both Bashorun MKO Abiola and the Afonja of Ilorin were Aare Ona Kakanfos, and like most of the 14 Kakanfos Yorubaland had had, the events culminating in their deaths embroiled the Yorubaland in turmoil. In addition, the article reveals the ritual the Aare Ona Kakanfos of old must undergo, which is responsible for their valour. The Trials of Afonja is a dramatic resurrection of the enthralling story of Afonja, the Generalissimo of Oyos army in the old Oyo Empire during the reign of Alaafin (King) Aole, who assumed the throne after the death of Alaafin Abiodun in 1789. Like King Claudius whose reign is turbulent as a result of the power struggle between him and Prince Hamlet in William Shakespeares evergreen tragedy, Hamlet, Alaafin Aoles reign was plagued by crises triggered by the power struggle between him and Afonja. According to the historical account, the old Oyo Empire had an unwritten constitution which was famously and jealously guarded by the supreme military council, the Oyo Mesi. In the prologue of the play, the two historians expressly state this age-long tradition. The tradition was that once in three years, the Aare Ona Kakanfo and his army must go into war, in consonance with the Empires expansionist drive. In the wars, victory was obligatory and defeat carried the duty of committing suicide. The historians put it succinctly thus in the prologue of The Trials of Afonja 2nd HISTORIAN The Generalissimo must not return to Oyo. 1st HISTORIAN The Generalissimo must commit suicide immediately. 2nd HISTORIAN And his head-fresh and oozing blood-must be placed inside a calabash and sent to his king as evidence (The Trials of Afonja, 2). ALAAFIN Aole gives a detailed explanation to Afonja on the motive behind the aura of invincibility the Oyo army must maintain, while mandating him to obey the dictates of w custom and tradition by taking the calabash and committing suicide You do not understand, do you This Empire of OyoOur fathers built this empire on the foundation of obedience total obedience to the king and to the Oyomesi. Oyo is great because of its mighty army. Without the army, we cannot keep the empire together. Afonja, the army must remain invincible in the eyes of the people. If not, our vassal states would secede and fight for their independence. There would be mayhem. There would be anarchy. If you or any Aare-Ona-Kakanfo can treat this responsibility with indignity and live after a defeat, how do you think the empire would stand How do you think it would flourish There is no room for failure or disobedience (36). This do-or-die policy contributed immeasurably to the military aggressiveness of the Oyo generals. The aura of invincibility also guaranteed the payment of tributes, levies, duties and allegiance to the centre by the vassal states (Ajayi Smith, 1989). However, during Alaafin Aoles reign, Afonja returns home alive after losing a battle to the Bambaras. When Laroka breaks the news to the Alaafin that Afonja is back from the battle with the Bambaras, Alaafin Aoles suspicion that something is amiss becomes instantly aroused. This is as a result of the decidedly unusual nature of Afonjas arrival. He addresses Laroka thus Afonja is back You are drunk Drunk If it is true..If indeed Afonja is back from battle. If it is true that the Generalissimo of Oyo Empire has returned from our war with the Bambaras, why is everywhere quiet Where is my royal council Where is Iya Mode Where is Oyomesi Where is Bashorun, Agbakin, Ashipa, Laguna, Akiniku, Samu, Alapini.and the rest .Afonja is back (6) Larokas statement later proves to be truth. Afonja returns to Oyo, despite having not emerged victorious in the war with the Bambaras, after twenty-nine consecutive victories in war-fares. Afonja stoutly refuses to open the calabash and commit suicide as the custom demands. In a calculated attempt to eliminate Afonja whose presence he has grown increasingly uncomfortable with, Alaafin, unaccountably orders Afonja to attack Apomu, a sister town, and bring the head of the Baale of Apomu. The Oyomesi initially express their reservations over the decidedly abominable act, as captured by LAGUNA To attack Apomu is to attack Ife. To attack Ife amounts to slapping our own father in the face. Ife is his place All the Yoruba states and provinces have a pact never to do it. It is an abomination (39). They later give their consent. Much to the Alaafins chagrin and utter consternation, Afonja comes back alive with the head of the Baale who, in a bid to avert the shedding of the innocent blood of the Apomu citizens peacefully and voluntarily submits himself to Afonja for decapitation. Afonja presents the head of Baale Apomu to Alaafin in a calabash. From that point, reality dawns on Alaafin that Afonja is his antagonist who must be eliminated at all costs. He then orders Afonja to go and sack Iwere, a fortified, a impregnable place, and race it to dust. Afonja does not mince words about the seeming impossibility of the task Raze Iwere to dust…Those people built their city on highlands surrounded by huge mountains from where they protect themselves they are good archers. Before their enemies reach their terrain, they tear into them with torrents of poisoned arrows. I am destined not to fall at the feet of anyone but I do not wish for my men to die foolishly. Iwere That will be certain suicide (102). Afonjas description of Iwere is devoid of exaggeration, as it aligns with Samuel Johnsons description of Iwere as a place fortified by nature and by art, and impregnable to the simple weapons of those days (Samuel Johnson, 193740). Alaafins action is an eloquent testimony of his realization of the reality of the threat Afonjas presence poses to him. However, Afonja as the Kakanfo, by the oaths of his office, must either conquer within three months or die. He takes the bull by the horns and attacks Iwere. With the unflinching support he receives from his Esos, Alimi, Onikoyi, Solagberu, Fagboun, and the Fulanis, Afonja, he emerges victorious. The Oyomesi sends an empty calabash to Alaafin as a traditional expression of their disapproval of Aole as the Alaafin of Oyo. The Oyomesi feel that Alaafin Aole is a terribly wrong choice on the throne. Alaafins decision to send the army to attack and destroy Apomu partly because he has an axe to grind with the Baale proves to be the last straw that breaks the camels back. According to tradition, attacking a town in the Ife kingdom was an unwise decision because of the ancient Yoruba taboos prohibiting an attack by any Yoruba kingdom on any part of the Ife kingdom. Alaafin has to commit suicide as the custom demands, after being given the calabash by Lafianu. Bashorun boldly informs Alaafin The people reject you The Oyomesi reject you I reject you I reject you The gods of our fathers reject you (118). Prior to committing suicide, Alaafin heaps a curse on the Yoruba race. Afonja is later killed by the Fulani warriors on the order of the itinerant Fulani scholar of Islam, Alimi. Alimis action is triggered by Afonjas plan to return to and possibly rule Ilorin. Afonja dies on his feet, with a phalanx of arrows and spears shot into his body. Remarkably, there has been a resurgence of interest in Alaafin Aoles curse in Nigeria during the period Abiodun wrote the play. Several people have lately attributed the disunity among the Yoruba people, and, by extension, among Nigerians to Aoles curse which reputedly carried a great deal of weight. Victor Terhemba, a Lagos-based political analyst and social commentator, in a feature article published on 20 June 2015 in thewillnigeria.com entitled Yoruba Leadership And The Aole Curse makes a telling comment on Aoles curse In modern times, Yoruba people have, from time to time, had occasions to talk about this Aoles curse. Whenever Yoruba leaders fail to give the Yoruba people the kind of leadership that the Yoruba people are used to, and whenever Yoruba leaders fail to what Yoruba people regard as crucially important to the Yoruba Nation, it is usual to start hearing our people talk about the Aole curse The Yoruba people are worried that their governments and political leaders are failing to unite to attend to a number of unique challenges facing the Yoruba Nation today. In this revealing article, Victor Terhemba sheds more light on Alaafin Aoles character. The Oyo chiefs found out that Aole had an overbearing attitude towards his subjects, and lacked good leadership qualities. He was distrustful of the people around him, and was paranoid. He was calculating, always scheming and twisting. Even when he endowed people with public honours, he would immediately begin to undercut them. He had the despicable habit of saying uncharitable things about his chiefs in their absence. At the least provocation, he used his sacred and ritual powers as Alaafin to intimidate those who did not agree with him. He used his ancient palace totems to curse people, even over trivial issues. Akinpelu Yusuf (2014) in a feature article, Why Curse When You Can Comfort published in Tuck Magazine, an online political, human rights and arts magazine also revisits the issue of Aoles curse to illustrate his discussion on the plethora of reasons why people curse. The article writer mentions Aoles curse at the point of the discussion when he addresses the cardinal issue of whether or not curse can come to pass. He observes that although Aole has died a long time ago, the manifestation of his curse, though relative, cannot be totally ruled out. An article, Fellow Yoruba, Lets Break This Curse published in the Nigerian Tribune published as recently as December 16, 2016 writes on Alaafin Aoles curse, strongly warning on the compelling need not to ignore Aoles curse The Yorubas are suffering and the suffering is because of the curse placed on the Yoruba race by Alaafin Aole in 1835. I think it is high time we broke the curse. Since Alaafin Aole placed that curse on the Yoruba race, our lives had taken one tumultuous turn after another. The peace of our nation has been disrupted by jealousy, betrayal, hatred and witchhunt. Although we are trying to ignore that curse, the wise ones say that what is least expected causes the most damage, hence we cannot snub the curse. In the writing of The Trials of Afonja, Toyin Abiodun makes much attempt to replicate the historical account. There is a great deal of truth and authenticity in Abioduns presentation of history in the play he barely ruptures history. Key incidents in the play such as Alaafin asking Afonja to attack Apomu and Awele, Alaafins ulterior motive on the attack on Apomu which is to revenge the flogging he once received on the order of Baale Apomu for his crime of selling an Oyo indigene into slavery, the flogging of Jankalawa to death, the names of most of the characters in the play, Alaafin Aoles heaping a curse on Oyo chiefs and, by extension, the entire Yoruba race, and Afonjas dying on his feet with hordes of arrows and spears shot on his body, are all factual. However, like most historical drama, there are some situations in the play that are crafted away from the truth, for the purpose of dramaturgy. A good example of this rupturing of history by the playwright is the use of guns in the warfare by the Oyo army. Even though guns were already being traded in both the trans-Saharan and trans-Atlantic trades at the historical period the play covers, nowhere in Afonjas history is he or his army said to have employed them for warfare. For the convenience of dramaturgy, Abiodun introduces the use of guns in the play. An instance of this is when Afonja and his army launch an unexpected attack on the people of Oyo during the annual Bere festival Enter AFONJA, ALIMI, BAALE GBOGUN, FAGBOHUN, ONIKOYI, SOLAGBERU, AFONJAS ESOS and FULANI WARRIORS in war clothes. They fire shots in the air and the celebrants skirmish and disappear in a thick of smoke (116). The introduction of the characters of the witches is also a trenchant example of Abioduns departure from history in The Trials of Afonja. The six witches are emblematic of the supernatural power which has contributed immeasurably towards Afonjas twenty-nine successive victories at wars. They converge on Akesan market which Nelson Fashina in his Introduction to the play describes thus Akesan market, which is contiguous to the Alaafins palace, is a non-negligible passage that establishes the inextricable conjunction of space of existence between the physical society and the astral liminal plane of the witches, gods and goddesses. Alaafin, and the people of Oyo are oblivious of these supernatural forces who have been engineering Afonjas roaring success at wars.The spiritual source of Afonjas continuous victories in wars has not been historically documented. Abioduns TheTrials of Afonja has enjoyed critical acclaim since its publication. Susan Bukky Badeji (2011) has this brilliant comment on the play A cask of specially brewed work a fine blend of history and dramaturgy so fermented in the power of words you would drain even the dregs so intoxicating you cant help a hangover Abiodun is not only a wizard of words nut also a Master of the Game. On the above-mentioned comment on Abioduns sheer wizardry with words in the play, the playwright makes an illuminating comment on the diction in the play in an interview he granted with Atmosphere published in SankofaMag I made the language to reproduce the poetic tonal structures of the Yoruba language of yore. Such language is enriched not only by the colourful imagery to which the word conjure but also by the sounds of that language and the mannerisms of the users as projected by the rise and fall of the speeches as well as the diverse and variable tenors of the phonology. Tunji Azeez (2011) refers to the play as A dramatic exposition of the role of the Fulanis and their hold on Ilorin, a pure Yoruba town at that point in history. In this play, Toyin Abiodun presents history not as cut and dried as most writers do, very creatively. According to Abiodun Olayiwola (2011) Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja is an artistic reincarnation of an ancient tale which captures the intriguing travails of a war generalissimo of old Oyo Empire A well-hewned play plausible characters that are steeped in Yoruba Culture and history. It invokes the influence of history on the general well-being of contemporary society. Henry Hunjo (2011) vividly describes the play as A fine piece of drama, textually crafted to meet high standards of linguistic felicity and stage performance competence. In this play, Toyin Abiodun deploys his understanding of the dialectics of traditional Yoruba politics, diplomacy and warfare to enact a historic past on stage and to arouse the audience to embrace humanism in all spheres of governance and war. Nelson Fashina (2011) in his review of the play incisively comments that indeed, in Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja, what we have is a tragedy of a race and of a people who resist to move with the dynamics of the imperatives of change as an irresistible aspect of the history of any society. Chuks Okoye (2011) writes that Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja is a welcome addition to neutralize the depleting body of historical drama in NigeriaA tale of war, intrigues and heroism deftly crafted through a sensitive deployment of indigenous theatres many languages. The play is also a commercial success. It has been recommended for students in the Departments of Theatre Arts and English in a number of universities in Nigeria. The cardinal issues addressed in the play might have made many readers in contemporary Nigeria to have found the play compelling. The Trials of Afonja was written at a time Nigeria was beset with leadership problem. We must hasten to add here that the leadership problem still exists in Nigeria and is endemic in many African countries. The play interrogates the question of leadership, and even followership. Leadership is Abioduns major thematic preoccupation in the play. Embedded in this theme is the issue of power struggle, which permeates the fabric of the play, and propels its plot. One strand of the exploration of this theme is the clash of interest between the leaders and the led. This clash of interest is demonstrated between Afonja and his warriors in Bambaras, culminating in their defeat. Having subdued the Bambaras, Afonja wants the Oyos war generals and the Esos of Oyo to wait until they return home before sharing the spoils of war, in order to avoid any distraction. The Oyo war generals and the Esos of Oyo protest vehemently and express an opinion they have repressed over the years concerning the seemingly unjust sharing formular. They decide to be subversive by standing their ground on this, despite the fact that the tradition has been set over the years that they must return home before dividing the spoils of war. Their subversion is borne out of the fact that their action poses a potential threat to an important aspect of the culture in which they are part of. Their fear is that if they should get home, the status quo would remain OTUN BALOGUN laughs He wants us to carry the spoils of war home first. He wants to carry the spoils of war to Oyo. There, Alaafin will take half. Bashorun, as head of the Oyomesi, will take half of what is left then the rest of us, the rest of us who lay down our lives for the sake of the empire, who left our wives and children in Oyo to come and die in here on the battlefields what do we get…crumbs…he spits in disgust Never EKERIN I say we divide the spoils here and now. AKILAPA And I say yes, I say yes yes, or many of us must die fighting amongst ourselves today.AKILAPA draws his sword and all the other generals do same in his support.(24). The Oyo war generals and the Esos of Oyo could be regarded as representatives of the voice of present-day Nigerian citizens who, from years of experience, now believe that their leaders are fending for their selfish interest. These leaders cut across the board, from the President down to the local government chairmen, who apparently have not done enough to liberate the masses from the cesspit of poverty, denigration, and hopelessness. The Nigerian citizens are aware of the lump sums of money that trade hands at the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives. They are aware of the stupendous wealth usually amassed by the presidents, governors, senators, ministers, commissioners, local government chairmen, and other people in various positions of leadership. However, the Oyo army fail to consolidate on their victory. They succumb to sexual urge, and engage in sexual intercourse with Bambara women, who avail themselves of this opportunity to overturn the victory. The death of the Oyo warriors and generals is a containment of their subversion. With this, Abioduns The Trials of Afonja contains and undermine the potential for subversion. The altercation over the sharing of the spoils also foregrounds the power struggle which runs through the play. The deep-seated power struggle between Afonja and the Oyo war generals, particularly Akilapa, is evident in the manners the war generals address Afonja. When Afonja insists they must wait till they return to Oyo before sharing the spoils, Akilapa addresses him disrespectfully Hear him Hear him Because your mother had royal blood, you were made Aare Ona-Kakanfo over the rest of us Oyos generals, now you come here to lord it over us. You dish out commands as if we were your children (24). Akilapas reiterates his contempt of Afonja not long after YesThe mother of Aare-Ona-Kakanfo be cursed You are not the only one who deserves to be Aare-Ona-Kakanfo. Your mother be cursed he spits on the ground(26). Even when Afonja gives a strong warning to the Oyo war generals not to touch the Bambara women that have been given to them as part of their spoils of war, Akilapa remonstrates with him Who gave you that kind of power over us(30). The inference that can be drawn from these statements is that the war with the Bambaras gives Akilapa and, to a lesser extent, the other war generals the opportunity to express their disaffection with Afonja as the generalissimo of the Oyo army. Afonja demonstrates that he is far more powerful than them by fighting Akilapa, Otun Balogun and Ekerin at the same time, and by killing Ekerin and Otun Balogun, and inflicting a wound on Akilapa, who throws in the towel. Other instances of power struggle abound in the The Trials of Afonja. The power struggle between Afonja and Alaafin propels the plot of the play. When Afonja returns home alive after losing a battle to the Bambaras, Alaafin asks him to open the calabash and commit suicide in consonance with the dictates of the custom and tradition. In a clear demonstration of the power struggle between Afonja and Alaafin, Afonja stoutly refuses to open the calabash and commit suicide. The heated dialogue between them showcases the deep-seated power struggle between these two lead characters of the play ALAAFIN Do the honourable thing. Dont force me to do it for you AFONJA Do it for me…How will Kabiyesi achieve that ALAAFIN I only have to summon my guards1 AFONJA (laughs) Your guards Kabiyesi, Your guards I have an army covering all the gates of this palace. Gbogun and his men of war are just outside your doors.Arere need only play a certain tune on his flute and this palacethis palace will become a river of blood and come to ruin ALAAFIN stunned You You dare threaten your king so…Youyou dare threaten me…I AlaafinAlaafin Oyo…he places the calabash in his hand on the floor of his palace and raises his flywhisk Afonja, son of Alagbin-born of Pasin, son of Laderin-Oyo rejects you My ancestors reject you I reject you The gods of my fathers reject you he raises a foot and with it smashes the calabash into pieces AFONJA groans Haaa…Haa…Ha…Aole (36) The fractious relationship between Afonja and Alaafin Aole has been well-documented. Samuel Johnson (1937) in his highly influential work, The History of the Yorubas which reveals that Alaafin Aole succeeded Alaafin Abiodun who checkmated Bashorun Gaas nepotism. Bashorun Gaa was a despotic member of Oyomesi who unjustifiably deposed and forced to suicide several Alaafins namely, Labisi, Awonbioju, Agboluaje and Majeogbe. Alaafin Aoles reign was turbulent. It marked the commencement of the decline of Old Oyo which ended with the tragic death of the fifth king after him. Aole was saddled with the unenviable ill-fate of the nation, as suggested in the following song which was commonly sung in the era Laiye Abiodun lafi igba won owo. Laiye Aole ladi adi 1adikale. (In Abioduns reign, money was weighed in calabashes. In Aoles reign, we packed up to flee). According to historical accounts, Aoles first expedition was against the Baale of Apomu. The previous Alaafin, Abiodun had sent orders to the Ooni of Ife, to increase security at Apomu because many of his subjects were abducted and enslaved while going to that market. The Ooni ordered by his vassal, the Baale of Apomu to act accordingly. This created animosity between the newly-installed Alaafin Aole and the Baale. Aole also considered the Aare Ona Kakanfo as his arch-enemy and wanted him dead. In order to actualize his demise, the Alaafin and the Oyomesi ordered Afonja to attack Iwere, which Samuel Johnson ,(193742) describes as A place fortified by nature and by art, impregnable to the simple weapons of those days, and as the Kakanfo by the oaths of his office must either conquer within three months or die, and Iwere is impregnable, he will have no other alternative, but as in honour bound to make away himself. The power struggle between Alaafin and Afonja in The Trials of Afonja degenerates to an acrimonious note. In a desperate bid to defend his life and his land-llorin, Afonja enlists the support of the nomadic Fulani herdsmen led by Alimi, an Islamic cleric. With their help, he is able to ward off all oppositions, schemes and ploys of the Alaafin. In the process of this power struggle, Afonjas subversive proclivity is foregrounded. His refusal to take the calabash and commit suicide as the custom clearly spells out, demonstrates his effort to subvert and undermine the established order. He challenges the status quo and subverts the unwritten constitution. A good number of the actions he takes after this are also outrightly subversive. Intriguingly, it is the same Alimi and the Fulanis who assist him in conquering Alaafin Aole who also kills him at the climax of the play Afonja lays down his sword and pulls off his war cap. He takes another look at DEMOKE, agonizes, and cups his head in his hands. While he still maintains that posture, Re-Enter more FULANIS with AL HASSAN and MUSA. Suddenly, they surround AFONJA and begin to shower him with arrows and throw spears at him. He attempts unsuccessfully to wear his cap and also pick his sword during the attackAFONJA dies with his cap still held in his hand. (121). Afonjas eventual death is a containment of his subversive streak. There is also a power struggle between Afonja and Alimi which, interestingly, only manifests at the climax of the play. Upon the demise of Alaafin, Afonja refuses to wear Alaafins crown, much to Alimis consternation. Alimi feels disturbed when Afonja announces that his future is in Ilorin. He feels threatened and promptly orchestrates Afonjas elimination. His statement after the confirmation of Afonjas death is striking I thought he will rule here and leave Ilorin for me. I cant stay here. I dont understand all these people of Oyo who speak in roundabout ways. I take over his palace in Ilorin where I understand them and my own blood, starting from Abdulsalim, will rule Ilorin from generation to generation. (122). The power struggle between Afonja and Alimi ends in the latters favour. The second strand of the development of the theme of leadership in the play is the exploration of the issue of bad, corrupt, despotic leadership. This is a problem many African countries have grappled with since the attainment of independence. The remarkably slow rate of development in many African countries can be attributed to the corrupt, despotic, power-drunk leaders they have had over the years. The Trials of Afonja presents the social and political picture of Nigeria in 2012 when it was first published. Pervasive poverty, and various shades of corruption bestrode the countrys landscape like a colossus, during this period. The character of Alaafin is a representation of despotic and bad leadership which the country had witnessed over the years, and which had put a cog in the wheel of her progress. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,so goes an axiom. When Alaafin Aole was still a prince, he performed a reprehensible act of selling an Oyo citizen into slavery. In line with the constitution, Baale Apomu ordered him to be flogged. Being vindictive and inhuman by nature, Aole punishes Baale Apomu by asking for his head when he is on the throne as the Alaafin. Alaafins ordering of the beheading of the innocent Lasia and the flogging of Jankalawa to death are eloquent testimonies of his despotic nature. Abioduns The Trials of Afonja demonstrates the diffusive nature of power that is, how power is not exclusively class-related, extending throughout the human society. The diffusive nature of power is evident in the Oyomesi which is the major ruling council of the Oyo Empire. It is constituted by seven chiefs Bashorun (Prime Minister), Agbakin, Ashipa, Laguna, Akiniku, Samu, and Alapini. Each of them has defined roles within the day-to-day running of the Empire. The Oyomesi ooze power. They are overtly conscious of the quantum of power reposed in their individual positions. Little wonder, they express their utter shock and dismay when Afonja does not exempt them from his order that the people of Oyo should go home so that he can have a private discussion with the Alaafin, following his controversial return from the battle with the Bambaras. Alaafin could not belie his shock at this request, as he addresses Afonja You mean even Bashorun, the Prime Minister of Oyo, should excuse you before you speak with me (19). Bashorun does not mince words in his response to Alaafins preposterous request Heard what…Who is he…What does he think he is to insist that the lot of us, the lot of us who together make the head and heart of Oyo should leave because he wants to speak with the king What does he have to say that will not be brought before us Are we not the royal council Are we not the Oyomesi (19). Bashoruns statement not only depict how people in the position of authority use language but also a type of the power relations in the society. When Afonja loses his battle to the Bambaras after twenty-nine consecutive victories, he approaches the six witches led by Iya Mode (Yeye Eleye) who have been the architect behind his phenomenal success. Yeye Eleye, the head of the witches states bluntly that Afonjas avoidable loss to the Bambaras is orchestrated by her. She is incensed by Afonjas contemptuous treatment of her in Alaafins palace. Her use of language showcases how the dominant group exerts power over others, and how power permeates every fabric of the society IYA MODE YEYE ELEYE You indulge him You indulge Afonja We see him to battles and bring him home unhurtbut what does he do He chases him away like Im some disgusting leprous woman. Before Bambaras , we gave him twenty-nine victories add Bambaras to that, and you see that we have given thisthis ingrate thirtyYes Afonja, we gave you thirty victories at thirty battles. But instead of being grateful, you drove me from the palace like a she-goat that had come to eat a tuber of yam at the back of your yard (50). This is a clear indication of the power relations between the characters in the dramatic text. Afonja, who commands a whole army at war fronts, is now at the mercy of the witches, on the brink of tears. He pleads Iya ModeI meanYeye Eleye, please have mercy on me (52). According to Foucaults discourse theory, power is not necessarily bad, or negative, since it can also be put to productive and positive use. The invaluable assistance the witches have rendered to Afonja over the years illustrates a productive use of power. Their supernatural power has been employed to bestow the aura of invincibility on Afonja. The role of the Bambara women in the defeat of the Oyo army in the battle with the Bambaras is another major instance of the productive use of power in the play. The Bambaras men snatch victory on the jaws of defeat in the hands of the Afonja-led Oyo army, thanks to the Bambara women who have been shared as spoils of the war with the Oyo generals. Failing to heed Afonjas warning, The Oyo generals have sexual intercourse with the Bambara women, an act which culminates in their embarrassing defeat. Abioduns The Trials of Afonja foregrounds the disempowered, the marginalized in the society, who are suppressed and subjugated by power. The flogging of Jankalawa to death and the beheading of the innocent Lasia are heights of oppression in the wielding of power. Also, the female characters in the play are mostly marginalised and portrayed as the instruments of pleasure in the hands of men. Alaafin, for instance, makes a derogatory remark on his own wives to Owota Lafianu Owota Lafianu, dont mind these ones. They are nothing but rough flowers from Dahomey. They need better tending.to the two wives. Go Go Go… both of you. Get out of here (55). Also, Alaafins daughter and Afonjas wife, Demoke is portrayed as being inordinately jealous for walking out of her marriage to Afonja, following the latters marriage of a second wife, Halima. Alimis wife, Kaosarat also commits adultery with Afonja. In The Trials of Afonja, figures in authority habitually use language to express their dominance and request obedience from those subordinate to them. In accordance with the custom and tradition, Alaafin, as a king in Yoruba land, speaks in peremptory tone all the time. When Afonjas praisesinger plays his flute in Alaafins palace, Alaafin commands him to discontinue the playing Enough Enough of that cursed fluting in my palace (33). Alaafin also uses peremptory tone when cursing Afonja Oyo rejects you My ancestors reject you I reject you The gods of my fathers reject you he raises a foot and with it smashes the calabash into pieces(36). It is the same peremptory tone which his position demands that he used in ordering Afonja to attack Apomu and Iwere, despite the grave consequences of such actions. He informs the Oyomesi We send him to attack and sack Apomu (39). With deadened nerves, without batting of eyelids, he orders the beheading of Lasia, who brings the covered calabash which contains Baale Apomus head Take this one and behead him (77). He always demands obedience and respect from his subjects, with immediate effect and alacrity. The protagonist of the play, Afonja is also a past master of the use of peremptory tone when talking to other characters. When he wants to have a private discussion with the Bambaras, he dismisses the celebration of the people peremptorily O to o o o Enough…I say enough(16). He charges at the drummers to enforce his order I say it is enough. AFONJA removes a drummers cap and uses it to beat the drummers. (16). In Apomu, he directs his head slave, Lasia thus Go into Apomu. Tell Apomu himself that Afonja waits at this entrance to his land. Tell him I will speak with him at once (72). When one of his men of war, Fagbohun wants to express an opinion on the impending war with Apomu, Afonja shuts him up I do not ask you (72). In another instance, at the climactic scene of the play, he commands Arere Give me the calabash. (117). A good number of events and incidents in the play are thickly described. Alaafin explains the rationale behind the marriage of his daughter, Demoke to Afonja I gave you my daughter to give us that external bond in friendship to win your loyalty.(20). The custom of the opening of an empty calabash in Old Oyo is also thickly described so that it becomes meaningful to an outsider. According to the Oyo custom, the opening of the empty calabash is a sign of rejection which must be accompanied by the committing of suicide. In the play, several events are described which give us a glimpse of social, cultural and political life in Old Oyo Empire during the period. The Fulanis eat in lotus style. In order to assuage Afonjas curiosity, Alimi gives a detailed explanation of the motive behind this custom. The explanation makes the culture meaningful not only to Afonja, but also the readers of the play. In conclusion, it is instructive to note that Abiodun has published four plays Thunder in an Ancient Savannah (1997), The Marriage of Arike (2014), The Trials of Afonja, and Princess Ruka and the Bachelors Kings. All the plays except The Marriage of Arike have royal settings. Toyin Abioduns royal background is most probably responsible for the playwrights obsession with royal settings. He is a prince of the Lubokun Ruling Dynasty and son of HRH Liliken X of Ikaleland. His growing up in a royal background must have sharpened his skills in the vivid description of royal settings and characterization. Analysis of Playtext Against Stage Performance Students of English Department of the University of Ilorin staged The Trials of Afonja on 9 February, 2016 at the Universitys Arts Theatre. It constituted the Theatre Workshop course of the 300 level students of the Department. The stage performance was directed by Mr Benjamin Adaniken, while Dr D.K. Afolayan was the course coordinator. The performance commenced at 4 pm prompt. There are several points of convergence between the playtext and the stage performance. The theatre director maintains the storyline of the dramatic text. Just like the text, the performance commences with the two historians who play the role of narrators. The directors retain the real names of the characters in the play texts. The cast of the stage performance bear names such as Laroka, Bashorun, Iya Mode, Afonja, Kaosarat, Alimi, Arere, and Lasia, just like in the dramatic text. This gives the audience a constant consciousness of the playtext. The order of presentation of materials or events in Incident 1 of the dramatic text is also maintained in the stage performance. Larokas barging into the palace to break the news of Afonjas sudden return from the war, followed by the arrival of the people of Oyo in the palace, and then Afonjas arrival in the palace with his entourage. This is followed by Afonjas private discussion with the Alaafin, the reenactment of the war with the Bambaras on stage, and Afonjas stumbling out of stage after Alaafin pronounces a curse on him for threatening the Alaafin. Just like in the dramatic text, after Alaafin has pronounced a curse on Afonja, Demoke spurns her father, Alaafins advice, and leaves with Afonja, saying I leave with you, my husband.(3) The war scene between the Oyo army and the Bambaras also demonstrates a remarkable similarity with the dramatic text. The lighting even depicts the blocking of the text which states Darkness then, gradually, lights increase to a level below twilight (31). Another point of convergence between the dramatic text and the stage performance is that the number of witches in both is six. The Incident 7 of the dramatic text which takes place in Alimis camp shows a great similarity with the stage performance which principally animates the text. Events in the text such as the eating while sitting on a mat in lotus-style by a group of Fulani men, Hafizs threatening of Afonja with a knife, Alimis assuaging of Afonjas curiosity on why Fulani men sit in a circle to eat, and Afonja finally introducing himself are all enacted in the stage performance. Incident 15 of the dramatic text is another major point of convergence with the stage performance. Afonjas courtyard is the setting of the scene. Halima, Kaosarat and Afonja are the principal characters in this scene. Events are enacted on stage in the order in which they are presented in the dramatic text. Also, as evident in Incident 19 of the dramatic text, Bashorun and Alapinni visit Afonja in the stage performance. Bashorun informs him conspiratorially of Alaafins schemes and plots all geared towards Afonjas downfall. The final scene of the dramatic text which takes place in Alaafins palace demonstrates a major point of convergence between the dramatic text and the stage performance. The Incident starts with the Bere Festival. This is followed by the invasion of the palace by Afonja, Alimi, Afonjas Esos and Fulani warriors.and the killing of the soldiers of Oyo. Bashorun then gives the calabsh to Alaafin, pronouncing to Alaafin that The people reject you The Oyomesi reject you I reject you The gods of our fathers reject you (115). Prior to committing suicide, Alaafin pronounces his famous Aoles curse on his chiefs for their disloyalty to him. Afonja then rejects wearing Alaafins crown, and he is shot with a multitude of arrows and spears by Alimi and the Fulanis, dying on his feet, as earlier prophesised. This order of events in the text is religiously followed in the stage performance. Differences abound between the dramatic text and the stage performance. The points of divergence between the dramatic text and the stage performance outweigh the points of These differences will be critically examined.The first difference between the dramatic text and the stage performance is in the prologue. The statement the 1st Historian makes Power, in those days, was like riding on a tigers back is accompanied by action in the stage performance. The 1ST Historian (male) carries the 2nd Historian (female) on his back to illuminate the statement. Also, unlike the dramatic text whose prologue ends with the exit of the two Historians, the prologue of the stage performance witnesses the coming on stage of Afonja. His entrance on stage is greeted with a spontaneous response from the audience. He is a discernibly tall, imposing man. He is accompanied by a female character who praise-sings him as he struts the stage. His entrance is accompanied by the background song which, like most of the songs in the stage performance, is rendered in Yoruba language. It goes thus Itan Ilu Ilorin ree oh This is a story of Ilorin town Itan Afonja, okunrin ogun The story of Afonja, the man of valour. The song is sung repeatedly in the back-stage all through the stage performance. It serves as a reminder to the audience that Afonjas character towers above every other character in the play.The play is his story. No sooner had Afonja exited the stage that an Old Witch arrived on stage, accompanied by a Young Witch who carries a pot of fire. Old Witch and Young Witch wear red blouse and black skirt a costume which depicts them as witches The make-up they wear darkens their faces and hands, further accentuating their witch appearance. A tract of smoke trails their entrance and exit. A song accompanies their entrance and exit. It goes thus Eye Bird Eye aye bird of the world Eni ba kan e oh whoever challenges you Ijangbon lokan invites trouble. This accompaniment of Old Witch with Young Witch foregrounds a key assumption of New Historicism how literary texts reflected and commented on their historical and socio-cultural contexts. The accompaniment bestows more respect on the character of Old Witch she becomes more convincing in the stage performance than in the text. Several lines in the opening scene of Incident 1 when Laroka barges into the palace to break the news of Afonjas arrival are not enacted in the stage performance. Afonjas rioutous entrance into Alaafins palace in Incident 1 of the play is electrifying in the stage performance. Unlike in the text, he is accompanied in the stage performance not only by Arere, but also three drummers who literally ushers him on stage. The dramatic text simply states that A fearsome-looking man in war clothes AFONJA is the cynosure of all eyes (9). His fearsome look is foregrounded in the stage performance. He wears a black, sleeveless cloth filled with small calabash vials, royal beads on neck and hand, charms, a scabbard, a spear, a skull, cowries, a skullcap, leather pouch, animal skin, and holds a staff which is covered with clothes and charms. All through the stage performance, Afonja usually pokes the ground with the staff whenever he wants to emphasise a statement. The Oyos young womens singing is enacted in the stage performance. They are six pretty, youthful women who wear same lovely costume of yellow blouse and ruby wrapper. They dance round Afonja coquettishly, loosening their wrappers to illuminate the sexual innuendos of the song, much to the admiration of the audience. In the dramatic text, the playwright simply states Alaafin Aole enters in full royal clothes and appurtenances. The royal clothes and appurtenances are evident in the stage performance. Alaafin wears a crown, white clothes, beads on his neck and hands, and holds a flywhisk. While people of Oyo sing for Alaafin in the text, it is the pretty Oyo young women who dance and perform for Alaafin, who waves his flywhisk in appreciation of their impressive performance. The high point of Incident 1 of the play is when Afonja suddenly orders for the discontinuation of the celebration, as he is eager to have a private discussion with Alaafin. In the dramatic text, Afonja seizes the drumsticks of some of the drummers, removes a drummers cap and beats the drummers with it (16). He does not do this in the performance. Several lines of the characters in the scene are chopped off in the performance, especially in the course of the private discussion between Afonja and Alaafin. The scene is the first instance of the demonstration of the power struggle between Afonja and Oyo Mesi on one hand, and between Afonja and Alaafin on the other hand. The nuances of the expressions of the Oyo Mesi are fully realized in the performance, as they are astounded that Afonja could ask them to leave the palace together with the people of Oyo. Alaafin oozes authority on stage, and takes charge of the situation. He shouts O tooo Enough is enough Ibo le ro pe e wa Where do you think you are All the people in the palace, except Afonja, prostrate immediately, reflecting the historical and socio-cultural context of the play. Afonja moves about on stage, stamps his staff on the ground repeatedly as a symbol of authority. His subversive nature and power struggle with Alaafin is fully absorbed by the audience in the scene. The text states that ARERE enters under spotlight as IFAWOLE the BABALAWO. He is assisted by a Dundun Drummer as they both engage in invoking sleep by supernatural means. (22). The stage performance adopts a different approach towards ensuring the success of the Oyo army in the war with the Bambaras. A new scene is introduced in the stage performance. In this scene, the stage is bare. Afonja, assisted by Ifawole, brings a sacrifice for Esu (Laaroye) on stage. Their costumes depict the roles they play in the scene. Ifawole, as the Babalawo, wears white clothes, beads and carries a white calabash. A white wrapper covers Afonjas sleeveless top. He carries a bigger calabash, and kneels, as Ifawole stands to pray Afonja, Iwo loo bo ri I won Afonja, you will conquer your enemies Afonja, waa lore, waa boore Afonja, you will emerge victorious. Chorus Aaseee Amen Afonja drops the calabash which contains the sacrifice gingerly. Mission accomplished, Afonja and Ifawole exit the stage, moving backwards rhythmically, to the accompaniment of a song. This is followed by another new scene which is not in the dramatic text. In this scene, Esu (Laaroye) enters the stage, crawling. His costume and make-up commendably approximates the Yoruba concept of Esu a black cap, an overall cloth of black with red stripe, darkened face, darkened hands, long nails, grotesque appearance in general.A tract of smoke trails Esus entrance and exit on stage.The idea of his crawling on stage is also fantastic, as his entrance and exit arouse sustained curiosity and excitement in the audience. Esu crawls closer and closer to his sacrifice, laughing raucously Ah Ah Ah Ah. Esu devours the sacrifice, and crawls out of the stage, taking the remnants of the sacrifice along with him. The Esu scene in the stage performance reflects the Yoruba cultural milieu and belief in sacrificing to the gods, and also the significance of the acceptance of the sacrifices by these gods. Also, the stage performance vividly captures the scene of the Oyo battle with the Bambaras. While Afonja kills both Ekerin and Otun Balogun in the dramatic text (28), he only kills Ekerin in the stage performance. The fight between Afonja and Ekerin amply demonstrates the power struggle between them. Afonja triumphs, as he floors Ekerin, promptly collects a sword from one of the generals and stabs Ekerin to death with it. Ekerins corpse is later carried off stage. The subversion of Ekerin over Afonjas leadership, who is the generalissimo of Oyo army, is contained in the stage performance by his death. The heated argument between Afonja and the Oyo Generals over the sharing of the spoils of war, and whether or not to touch the Bambara women given to the generals as spoils of war is foregrounded on stage. When the 1st General sarcastically tells Afonja If your own plantain does not stiffen anymore, and 2nd General tells him How is it your business what we do with our sugarcane (30), they demonstrate in the stage performance by holding their crotches. The audience roar in laughter. The love-making scene between the Oyo Generals and the Bambara women is vividly portrayed in the stage performance. According to the text, amidst the darkness, moans and screams of sexual passion are heard.(31). In the stage performance, the stage is bright. Two women romance each of the Oyo Generals, and the scene is sexually explicit. A woman commenced the enticement by flaunting her bums and voluptuous breasts before one of the soldiers, who becomes instantly sexually aroused. The men fondle the womens breasts, and the women respond remarkably well, drawing spontaneous laughter and excitement from the audience. The love-making between the Oyo Generals and the Bambaras women is demonstrated in their body language. The scene also showcases another point of divergence between the dramatic text and the stage performance. According to the text, Bambara men suddenly enter the stage while the Oyo Generals moan with pleasure in the heat of their love-making with the Bambara women (31). Conversely, in the stage performance, a Bambara woman serves the Oyo Generals poisoned drink in the course of their love-making with the Bambaras women. The Oyo Generals writhe in pain, and die, one after the other. The women celebrate their victory, or the role they play in the victory. The scene demonstrates one of the tenets of Foucaults discourse theory power is not exclusively class-related it permeates every fabric of the society. The ordinary spoils of war are the ones who turn things around dramatically for the Bambaras in the war. The scene returns to the present moment, in which Afonja and Alaafin continue their private dialogue. Several lines from the text are edited out in the stage performance. The discussion on Alaafins mother in the text is edited out in the performance. Alaafins lengthy explanation to Afonja on the reason Afonja must obey the tradition by committing suicide is edited out in the performance. Also, in the dramatic text, as Afonja angrily leaves Alaafins palace, the Oyomesi, which consists of seven members, and Otun and Osi enter the stage to meet Alaafin in the palace. In contrast, only three members of Oyomesi come to the palace in the stage performance. This is most probably informed by the theatre directors belief that the three characters can adequately capture the message of the scene. More often than not, theatre directors are more concerned about the message than the messenger. They all dress like Yoruba chiefs, putting on agbada, caps, royal beads and hand beads. Bashorun holds a staff with which he gesticulates while speaking. Characteristically, many of the lines of these Oyomesi members are edited out. After the Oyomesi and Alaafin leave the stage, the three palace guards converge, apparently to gossip about the unfolding events, and later disperse. This is not in the dramatic text. Incidents 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17 and 20 of the text are not enacted in the stage performance. To mitigate the effect of this, the 1st Historian who doubles as the Narrator comes on stage again after Incident 7 to narrate the coming events. According to the Narrator, Alaafin asks Afonja to launch an attack on Apomu, and raze everything into ashes, and bring the head of the Baale of Apomu. This, the Narrator states, is a plot to turn the whole of the Yoruba race against Afonja. Rather than allowing Afonja to kill the people of Apomu, Apomu releases his head. Incident 3 of the text is also pronouncedly different from the stage performance. The scene in the text takes place in Akesan Market which witnesses the interaction between buyers and sellers, and the witches occupy one area of the market. The buying and selling scene is not enacted in the stage performance, which plunges straight to the convergence of the six witches. They enter the bare stage in backwards steps and rhythmic movement to a song in the background, with a tract of smoke on their trail. Their costumes and make-up perfectly depict their roles as witches-a set of people who dwell in the supernatural realm. They wear black dress. Red scarfs are knotted round their stomachs. They have long koroba (a popular Yoruba) hairstyle. The make-up artistes of the stage production do a marvelous job of creating the impression of witches on them. Their faces and hands are heavily darkened, and their teeth blackened. The smoke billows on, as they form two rows of three witches per role. Their rhythmic movement is sustained all through the scene. The text is completely silent on their physical appearance. Not long after, Iya Mode (Yeye Eleye) enters the stage, accompanied by a young witch who carries a burning pot with a thick swab of cloth. The power relation between Iya Mode and the six witches is evinced in the costume. Iya Modes red clothes and the fact that she is accompanied by a young witch shows that as her name, Yeye Eleye implies, she is the mother or leader of the witches. This power relation is further captured as the scene unfolds when the six witches plead on behalf of Afonja who, unlike the sober, pathetic, apologetic figure he cuts in the text, maintains a strong, resolute stance in the stage performance, leaving the stage in a fit of anger. The reasons for his anger are the witches failure to give him victory against the Bambaras, and their preposterous request that he should donate his beloved wife, Demoke to them as meat. In the dramatic text, in the encounter with the witches, Afonja is followed by Arere. In contrast, Afonja is unaccompanied in the stage performance. He enters the stage in backward steps. New lines are introduced in the performance. For example IYA MODE (YEYE ELEYE) Afonja, o je mo mi o. Afonja, you know what I am capable of doing. AFONJA Do your worst There is a power struggle between Afonja and Iya Mode in the stage performance. Iya Mode vows to deal with him, despite the pleas from the six witches, who say Yeye, please think of the future Dont do what you are about to do Yeye, think of the people of Oyo Think of our children. Yeye Eleye retorts Afonja should have thought of that before. When the witches plead with Yeye Eleye, they kneel, while Yeye Eleye stands. In the dramatic text, we are told that A grindstone hangs from an invisible rope at the centre of the invisible cave and a lamp burns gently under the grindstone (49). This is not realised in the performance. The witches exit in backward steps. There are discernible differences between Incident 6 of the dramatic text and the stage performance. In the text, Afonja and Kaosarat are already together, when the rough-looking men come. In the stage performance, the reverse is the case Kaosarat is already embroiled in an altercation with the men when Afonja comes on stage. In the text, Kaosarat sells tuwo masara (a meal made of ground corn). Conversely, she sells fura de nunu (a brand of cow milk popular in the northern part of Nigeria) in the stage performance. In the text, the men are three they are only two in the performance. In addition, while Afonja fights with the men in the text, he does not fight with them in the stage performance. He only chases them away, as they pose little or no resistance to him. The moment he mentions to the unkempt men that Im Aare Ona Kakanfo, they are filled with trepidation. They promptly pay Kaosarat. They subject Kaosarat to minimal humiliation in the performance, unlike the great humiliation they subject her to in the text such as the tossing of her headdress amongst themselves, and the removing of her wrapper and throwing it around (62). The text is silent on Afonjas clothes in the scene. His costume in the stage performance perfectly depicts him as a traveller. He wears a danshiki (Yoruba male attire), shoulders a load in a pouch, and holds a flywhisk. A Fulani song accompanied Kaosarats coming on stage. In the text, Afonja and Kaosarat exit without betraying any emotion. In the stage performance, Afonja admires Kaosarat, and surveys her lustfully. In Incident 7 of the text which is set in the camp of Alimi, only Alimis daughter, Halima brings food for the men. In the stage performance, a few other women join her in bringing the food. Several long lines in Incident 11 of the text, which takes place in Alaafin Aoles palace, are edited out in the stage performance. Lasia wears black clothes. Mourners in Nigeria and several parts of the world do wear black colours. Ironically, Lasia is not a mourner in this context, but he is to be mourned. There is a sharp contrast between Incident 12 of the text and its equivalent in the stage performance. The text opens thus Enter ALIMI from within (backstage) in sparse clothing which shows he now lives in AFONJAs compound. He admires the furnishing, ornaments, and artifacts in Afonjas courtyard. (79). In contrast, the stage performance opens with Alimi, Kaosarat, and some Fulani peoples visit to Afonja in his new base, Ilorin. The Fulani men and ladies perform Fulani songs and dances for Afonja, who looks visibly impressed and elated. The songs and dances and the costumes reflect the socio-cultural background of the Fulani people. The men hold back sticks, and they all dance rhythmically. After this, just like in the text, Alimi alerts Afonja that he hears war songs, as Alaafin (disguised) and his Esos invade the palace. Towards the end of the scene, Alimi enjoins Afonja to marry Halima with a view to retaining the support of Alimis men (the Fulanis). In the text, Demoke, who is already on stage simply avoids Afonjas gaze, which registers her protest over Alimis suggestion. This scene is coalesced into the ending of Incident 14 of the text during which Demoke enters the stage, and is incensed to see Afonja cuddling Halima. Momentarily, Demoke exits from the stage, and soon re-enters, carrying her load, apparently in readiness to discontinue her marriage with Afonja following his decision to marry a second wife. She is visibly disturbed. A sarcastic song in the background accompanies her actions So o tan eh It serves you right So o tan eh It serves you right Demoke oh Demoke Aboko ku Who wants to die with husband The song makes reference to Demokes rash decision to follow Afonja to Ilorin, disregarding her father, Alaafins contrary advice. Demoke weeps uncontrollably, and tells Afonja After all I did for you I left Alaafin because of you. Afonja placates Demoke, who leaves the stage, demented with grief. Demokes action demonstrates how the play reflects the socio-cultural milieu of the period of its writing. Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja was first published in 2012. This is a contemporary period in Nigerian history, when Nigerian women are becoming increasingly disenchanted with polygamy. The popularity of polygamy has witnessed a steady wane in recent years. Most Nigerian women do not want to share their husbands with any other woman for any reason whatsoever. Even among the muslims, whose religion permits polygamy, it is becoming unfashionable. The wedding feast between Afonja and Halima in Incident 14 of the text is not enacted in the stage performance. Incident 15 of the text opens with Alimi, Kaosarat and a number of Fulanis who are poised for cattle-grazing. This is edited out in the stage performance. Unlike in the text, Afonja enters the stage chewing stick. The romantic texture of this scene is pronouncedly animated in the performance, which thrills the audience. On the stage, Kaosarat attempts to loosen Afonjas wrapper. Afonja takes her inside. Two guards are stationed on the stage, apparently guarding Afonja. The two guards look knowingly at each other, and gossip when Afonja and Kaosarat exit the stage. Remarkably, this scene is coalesced into Incident 19 of the text during which Bashorun and Alapini visit Afonja. When Bashorun conspiratorially informs Afonja of Alaafins past atrocities and schemes to destroy Afonja, Afonja screams Sango oh Get ready for war in the performance. He accompanies the statement with action. The final scene of the text (Incident 21) also shows some differences from the stage performance. The Awujale of Ijebuland and the Etsu of Nupe and their peoples appearance is not enacted on stage. The people of Oyo wear green clothes. Men and women, wearing matching costumes cluster in twos, and engage in a highly choreographed dancing which noticeably excited the audience. The men carry the women romantically off the centre of the stage. Singing and performance precede the presentation of the gifts to Alaafin. Guards take the gifts inside. The chaos which envelopes the stage in the text the moment Afonja, Alimi, Afonjas Esos, and the Fulani warriors enter the stage is commendably animated in the stage performance. The battle scene excites the audience. Unlike in the text, Demoke briefly mourns the dead Alaafin, shakes his body, spots the small calabash vial of poison, faces the audience, drinks it, and drops dead. When Afonja closes Demokes eyes, he mourns her briefly in the performance. He laments Ah Demoke He carries Demokes corpse, and faces the audience. He asks Arere Is there a place for Demoke to be buried Go and find out In the stage performance, the moment Alimi and other Fulanis exit the stage, the other actors return on stage one by one to join Arere in the lamentation Afonjas demise. They all bow for Afonja who dies on his feet. This is now creatively converted to a curtain call, as the audience clap in admiration and appreciation of a wonderful stage performance. The theatre directors demonstrable application of performance aesthetics of drama in this stage performance is quite commendable. The director generously use songs to depict the atmosphere and the message of several scenes in the play. While some of the songs are from the dramatic text, a good number of them are improvised. Some of the improvised ones will be highlighted. In the prologue of the play, the completion of the Historians speech is accompanied by the song in the background Itan re oh Story Story Ewa gbo itan Come and listen to story Itan re oh Story Story Ewa gbo itan Come and listen to story Afonjas ceremonious entrance on stage into Alaafins palace is accompanied by the song Afonja la o ma pe oh We hail Afonja Afonja la o ma pe We hail Afonja Afonjas announcement to Alaafin of losing the war to the Bambaras is accompanied by the song Iruu ki leyi o What tragedy is this Akinkanju padanu ogun A warrior has lost a battle Eemo re oh What a disaster Akinkanju padanu ogun A warrior has lost a battle The song which Ifawole, the Babalawo sings in the dramatic text is replaced by another song in the stage performance, wishing the success of the sacrifice. In the course of the fight between Afonja and Akilapa during the war between the Oyo army and the Bambaras, a song filters from off-stage. The conquest of the Oyo soldiers by the Bambara women is appropriately accompanied by a song which depicts the atmosphere Ete obinrin The wiles of women Ete obirin The wiles of women Awa lalagbara aye We rule the world All in all, songs are effectively employed in the performance to depict the atmosphere of the particular scene. There is melody in the songs, and the composer/s demonstrate creativity. Costumes and make-up are also put to effective use in the stage performance. The costumes in the performance achieve the principal roles of costumes in stage performances revealing the culture and the period of the play revealing the actors social status and positions assisting in characterization establishing the relationship between the characters, and individualizing the characters. Afonja always wears his war cap, and goes about with his staff. The Fulani men and women such as Kaosarat and Halima are always on Fulani clothes. Remarkably, there is the creative usage of stage lighting in the stage performance of Abioduns The Trials of Afonja. This helps to illuminate the moods of various scenes. When Afonja finally announces to Alaafin that the Oyo army lose the war with the Bambaras, a sober mood envelopes the stage. This mood is appropriately captured with the stage lighting which darkens a wee, and then becomes brightened again. In the love-making scene between the Oyo generals and the Bambaras women, the stage darkens. It gradually brightens as a Bambara woman poisons the Oyo generals drink, and they die in quick succession. In order to reflect the timing of such an event (nightfall), the stage is a bit dark when Afonja and Ifawole offer a sacrifice to Esu. In the meeting of the witches, the stage is bright, largely as a result of the pot of fire which the young witch carries. The stage lighting also achieves selective visibility. It helps to focus the audiences attention only to certain areas, performers, and props which may be the main focus or emphasis of the text. The stage lighting also helps to emphasize the flow of the story. The stage design of the production is also quite commendable. The background design of Alaafins palace shows that it is a palace. Afonjas courtyard also approximates a courtyard. In certain scenes such as the Esu scene, and the witches scene, the stage is bare. This gives room for the free flow of movements of the characters on stage. Finally, the director plays a close attention to verisimilitude. None of the witches is light-complexioned. They are all dark or chocolate-an index of the darkness of the minds of witches. The Fulani men and women such as Alimi, Kaosarat and Halima, are light-complexioned. This enables the director to achieve verisimilitude Fulani people are usually light in complexion. The stage production is commendable. Interview With The Director of The Stage Performance of The Trials of Afonja. The researcher succeeds in conducting an interview with Mr Benjamin Adaniken, the director of the stage production of Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja which is analysed above. Enjoy it. Can you please tell us about your background My name is Benjamin Adaniken, popularly known as Ben Da Poet. Im from Owan West Local Government Area in Edo State.I attended Juli-mat International School, Lagos, and then Ogba Grammar School in Lagos.Then, I proceeded to the University of Ilorin, where I studied Theatre Arts. I graduated in 2007. Im currently studying English Language and Literary Studies at the University of Ilorin.Im a professional and award-winning stand-up comedian and compere. Im also a theatre director and a poet.I have been gracing stages a long time ago, and it has become part of my everyday life.I have directed many plays like The Trials of Afonja by Toyin Abiodun, The Rebellion of the Bumpy-Chested by Stella Oyedepo, The Trials of Brother Jero by Wole Soyinka, Ogidi Mandate by Olu Obafemi, The Re-birth by Williams Ogaga, etc. What informs the choice of the play, The Trials of Afonja for the production The Trials of Afonja is a play that talks about how Ilorin came into existence, and also the story of the rise and fall of a Yoruba warlord, Afonja. Also, the play was chosen because it tells the history of the place on stage, thereby making us bring history to the new generation. Prior to the time of staging the play, The Trials of Afonja has not been staged before at the University of Ilorin. To what extent did you tamper with the text in the stage performance Well, not really much, as the messages were kept intact. Just some scenes that wont affect the message were cut out or narrated. Alaafin Aole and a few other actors deliver a good portion of their lines in Yoruba language. What must have informed this The play is about Ilorin, and also a Yoruba warlord known as Afonja, so its a Yoruba setting. Lines have to be delivered mostly in Yoruba to drive home the message. Several scenes in the dramatic text are not enacted in the stage performance. Why This happened because of the limit of duration in stage performances, and to avoid making it boring. Your casting is commendable. For instance, the role of Afonja is played by a tall, imposing man. Fulani men and Kaosaat are fair in complexion. How did you accomplish that Fulani men are mostly light-complexioned. I was conscious of the significance of verisimilitude on stage. I tried to achieve that by using light-complexioned men to play the roles of Fulani men and Kaosarat. According to historical accounts, Afonja was an imposing man who oozed a great deal of aura and confidence. Naturally, the built of the man who played the role of Afonja contributed towards giving him the role. Why did Esu (Laaroye) crawl on and off the stage This was done for aesthetics purpose, and to go with the song being sang at the back-stage. You used plenty of songs in the background to propel the plot of the play. Realising the setting of the play, songs were needed to provide ethical and social background, to create mood, and to create rhythm in order to enable the audience to reflect on what has been presented. What is the audience response like during the production Oh The audience were visibly impressed, and enthralled because the real story of Ilorin was presented before their very eyes in a University located at the city of Ilorin. 4.3. Text 11 Ola Rotimis Kurunmi 4.3.1. Analysis of the Play Text HOSTILITIIES did not immediately follow the declaration of secession. There seemed to be a lingering hope on both sides that the worst could still be averted. On the Federal side, secession appeared to be one more bluff from Ojukwu, while on the Biafran side, Ojukwu was confident in the belief that the Federal government could do nothing. Both sides were to prove greatly mistaken. Meanwhile, May lengthened into June, and July came, but there was still no sign of war. In the uneasy calm that had followed the declaration of secession, isolated incidents occurred, but it did not seem that there would be hostilities. From Ojukwus point of view, it would appear that secession was not at that stage designed as a break-away from the Federation, but was one more in the power struggle for control of the Federation. His hope at this stage seems to have been that once the East seceded, the rest of the Federation would disintegrate, and that he would then proceed to regroup the Southern states under his leadership and bring the North to heel. He also felt that the Federal government was too weak to oppose secession by force, and rightly calculated that even if he wished to, it would be hampered by divided counsel and lack of unity among the component parts of the Federation. In addition, he had been in contact with a number of foreign powers, notably Israel and had received promises of early diplomatic recognition and of military support in the event of war, and was confident that even if there was war, he would beat the Federal forces. No force in black Africa could defeat him, he proudly boasted. Culled from The Tragic Years Nigeria in Crisis, 1967-1970. The above vividly captures the high degree of tension which envelopes Nigeria on the eve of the Nigerian Civil War, better known as the Biafran War which was fought between July 1967 and January 1970. It was a war fought to counter the secession of Biafra from Nigeria. Biafra represented the nationalist aspirations of the Igbo people, whose leadership felt they could no longer co-exist with the Northern-dominated federal government of Nigeria. After two and half years of the war, there were about 100,000 military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran soldiers died from starvation (Stan Chu Ilo, 2006). The first immediate cause of the Nigerian Civil War was the first military coup of 15 January 1966, led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu. A raft of Northern leaders such as the Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and Alhaji Ahmadu Bello were killed in the coup, while some Igbo leaders were spared. Not long after, General Johnson Aguiyi- Ironsi became the Head of State. This fanned the embers of anger among the Northerners who did not feel comfortable with the dominance of the Igbos. On July 29, 1966, a Northern-led counter coup was staged in which General Aguiyi Ironsi was killed and which General Yakubu Gowon became the new Head of State. This was another immediate cause of the Nigerian Civil War. The final immediate cause of the war was the massacre of the Igbos living in the northern part of Nigeria (Ola Balogun, 197363). As a means of ensuring the unity of the country, Nigeria was divided into twelve states from the former four regions by the Federal Military Government in May, 1967. The former Eastern region under Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu saw the act of creating twelve states by decree without consultation as the last straw that broke the horses back. On 30 May, 1967, Lt. Col. Ojukwu declared the existence and independence of the Republic of Biafra. Remarkably, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Biafra. The formation of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign States of Biafra (MASSOB) by is an eloquent testimony of this. The Igbo people still feel increasingly marginalized by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Ola Rotimis highly successful historical drama, Kurunmi was written when the Nigerian Civil War was in progress. According to Ola Rotimi (197464), the war was at its bloodiest peak at the time of my writing the play. Rotimis admittance of the influence of the Nigerian Civil War on the writing of the play manifests in the theme of war which permeates the fabric of the play. Little wonder, Tunji Azeez (2012) categorises the play, together with Wale Ogunyemis Ijaye War as war drama and not historical drama as studies such as Olu Obafemi (1996), Olaniyan (1997), Ebewo (2005), and Adeniyi (2007) have categorized the play. The plays first Lagos performance took place on 15 January, 1970, the day of Biafras surrender (Chris Dunton, 1992). New Historicists argue that works of literature do not independently transcend their time, but are instead always socially and politically implicated within their historical context (White, 1989). When Rotimi was writing Kurunmi, the prevailing situation .in Nigeria was the Nigerian Civil War, a war which resulted in the wanton loss of human lives and property. Even in performance, Rotimi draws attention to the plays topicality and to the way in which this registers among audiences When audiences watched the production of Kurunmi, they nicknamed characters in the play judging them from their actions and utterances, after some prominent Nigerian war-lords on both the Federal and Rebel lines in whose actions and utterances the audience found parallels (Folarin,7). There are many points of convergence between the war in Kurunmi and the Nigerian Civil War. Firstly, both wars broke out largely as a result of the intra-class disagreement among members of the ruling class. Furthermore, like most wars over the ages, both wars were preceded by war-peace talk or negotiation. Prior to the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War, the Aburi Accord was reached in 1967 at a meeting attended by delegates of both the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Eastern delegates, led by the Eastern Regions leader, Lt. Col Odumegwu Ojukwu . The meeting was billed to be the last opportunity to avert the war. It was held between 4 and 5 January, 1967 in Aburi, Accra, Ghana, where Colonel Ojukwus safety is guaranteed. The Aburi Accord broke down irretrievably as a result of the differences of interpretation of the Accord by both sides (Shehu Sani, 201310). In Rotimis Kurunmi, Are Kurunmi is presented with an opportunity for dialogue and reconciliation. He chooses war, and mocks Adelu by soiling his white apron with okro soup and giving the Oyo messengers the soiled apron to give their king. Thirdly, both wars attracted outside interference in form of mercenaries and superpower interventions. The only difference is that, while the 19th century war attracted only British intervention (Shehu Sani, 2013), the Nigerian Civil War attracted a proliferation of world powers, with each trying to outdo each other in the supply of weapons of mass destruction to the two parties of the war. Again, the two wars recorded heavy casualties. Matthew Umukoro (2011 171) has described the Ijaiye War as one of the most devastating civil wars in Yoruba history. The Nigerian Civil War was equally devastating. Lastly, in the two wars, the real victims were the oppressed masses who were made canon-fodder in the power struggle among members of the ruling class. Kurunmi has been a successful play both in text and in performance. Chris Dunton (199218) gives an account of the plays success Kurunmi has been a successful play with audiences, and critical coverage of early performances was especially enthusiastic. The enshrinement of the play as a study- text is evident in the fact that, ten years after its premiere, it had already appeared on the NCE (National Certificate of Education) literature syllabus, the literature syllabus for the IJMB (International Joint Matriculation Board) exam and the teachers Grade 11 English syllabus for the Northern States. Rotimis skills were given very early recognition by the Nigerian literary establishment. The success of this play after its publication can be attributed partly to the subject matter of leadership explored by the playwright. His career is a reflection of the career of many men and women in leadership positions in various countries across the world. A study of Kurunmis character gives us an insight into the psychology, mentality, and mindset of these people, in every stratum of the human society. Kurunmi is an historical tragedy on the nineteenth century crisis in Oyo empire in Nigeria (Ajayi Smith, 1971). The play is based on the Ijaiye War of 1860. As with the Nigerian Civil War, the Ijaiye War was triggered by a concatenation of events. Ola Rotimi (1971) in the Historical Note, which serves as a pre-text, to the play gives a useful background information on the play In 1858, Alafin Atiba, sensing that he was soon to die, called his leading Chiefs to get them to acknowledge the Crown Prince, Adelu, as his successor. The move was contrary to the constitution of Oyo, which required the Aremo or Crown Prince, who enjoyed great power while his father ruled, to commit suicide on the Alafins death. Ibadan supported Alafin Atibas move, reflecting his own position as a new town with a constitution without precedent among the old towns of the Oyo Empire. Ijaiye, under Kurunmi, opposed Alafins decision as contrary to tradition. The deep-seated rivalry and the power struggle between Ibadan and Ijaiye, the two new mainstays of Oyo, also largely influenced their respective decisions. The outcome of their respective stance is the source of drama for Rotimi in Kurunmi, whose dexterity in the exploration of historical materials plumbed new depths in Kurunmi, a play which has enjoyed critical acclaim. The play centres on the power struggle between Kurunmi, the Are-Ona-Kakanfo of Ijaiye, the unflinching supporter of tradition, and Ibadan chiefs led Balogun Ibikunle. The Egba support the Ijaiye. In defence of tradition, Kurunmi drags his people into a ruinous war. In the war, the Egba advises and mounts pressure on the the Ijaiye to take the risky venture of crossing river Ose to attack Ibadan and her allies. His alliance with the Egbas proves disastrous for him, culminating in the defeat of the Ijaiye people in the hands of Ibadan. The Ijaiye recorded heavy casualties in the war. Kurunmi loses his five sons, Arawole, Sangodele, Fatoki, Ogunlade and Efunwabi in the war. The death of his five sons marks the climax of Kurunmis cataclysmic fall from grace. He becomes grief-stricken, and devastated by the monumental tragedies which befall him. He says When a leader of men has led his people to disaster, and what remains of his present life is but a shadow of his proud past, then it is time to be leader no more (93) He drinks poison from calabash bowl and states his final wish to be buried in the River Ose (93). Matthew Umukoro (2011175) makes an incisive comment on Kurunmis final moments on earth Kurunmi reportedly pined away in grief and hunger, repeatedly asking himself whether he was in the wrong in the war. He finally died in June, 1861. It is interesting to note that the war outlived Kurunmi. Despite the destruction of Kurunmis new base by the Ibadan as early as March 1862, the war raged on till 1865 when it officially ended (Samuel Johnson, 1921). In a revealing interview granted The Nation newspaper Pa Layiwola Adio, one of the grandchildren of the great warrior Kurunmi makes a felicitous remark on the war The war between Ijaiye and Ibadan was heavy with casualties. And according to what we were told here, thousands of Ijaiye died in the war. It you walk eight miles from this town towards North, West, East, and South, you will discover a lot of clay pots, mud houses and shrines buried there, thus evidencing that some people had lived here over two hundred years ago. They were probably buried here. We have excavated a lot. Divested of all hopes, grief-stricken, Kurunmi commits suicide by taking poison. In Kurunmi, Rotimi brings into spotlight the senselessness and horrors of the Nigerian Civil War, and the untold hardship the war brought on the masses. New Historicist criticism examines what the interpretation of an historical event says about the interpreters. Rotimis vivid portrayal of the physical and psychological tortures of war situations strongly suggests his utter condemnation of the Nigerian Civil war. The devastating effect of the Ijaiye War is graphically portrayed in the moving dialogue between Woman and Kurunmi WOMAN impatiently My husbandwhere is my husband Has anything happened to him My husbandLejoji. KURUNMI (dreamily) We lost thousandsmost of our best soldiers. WOMAN Lejoji is not one of your best soldiers, he is only a boy- KURUNMI I did not notice him then. WOMAN Why not Was he not fighting for you How Could you not have noticed him KURUNMI When elephants were being slaughtered by the thousand, how could a man take notice of the death of a house rat WOMAN Sohe ishe isdeadis it Answer me. (84). In both the Ijaiye War and the Nigerian Civil War, the real victims were the masses, who were made canon-fodder in the power struggle among the ruling class. Akintunde Akinyemi (201043) describes Ola Rotimi and another notable Nigerian dramatist, Wale Ogunyemi as two of the closest Nigerian dramatists in English to the Yoruba traditional performing arts both in terms of the use of oral tradition and history. Olu Obafemi (199689) remarks that owing to the playwrights strong commitment to the need to gain rapport with the audience in the mode of traditional drama, both Rotimi and Ogunyemi prefer to produce their plays in the round close to the open air or village square performance tradition, rather than on the proscenium stage. In a 1974 interview with Bernth Lindfors, Rotimi acknowledges his inspirational depth too oral literature and cultural material which his tenure as a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) availed him. He admits This position, I must say, introduced me to a new world, a culturally revealing world-that is, the world of traditional oral literature upon which Ive relied heavily as the basis for creative innovation. (Dem Say, Interviews With Eight Nigerian Writers, 1974). In view of this, Akintunde Akinyemi (201043) argues that a preoccupation with the essence of fashioning his cultural and historical background must have encouraged Rotimi to research into the historical struggles of the Yoruba traditional oligarchies as documented by modern historians. Rotimi (197465) confirms further in the interview with Berndth Lindfors that on reading Ajayi and Smiths landmark book, Yoruba Warfare in the Nineteenth Century, he was Struck by the charged atmosphere of unrest in Yorubaland of that period The turmoil, the internecine wars that occupied and bedeviled our forebearers came alive in such intense colours. They were happenings of such belligerency that were at once frightening and yet captivating. According to historical account, in 1858, the Alafin of Oyo, Alafin Atiba, sensing that he was about to die, broke tradition and made his heir, Adelu, the Alafin. Prior to this, this tradition required the heir apparent to commit suicide on the death of his father, Kurunmi, the Are-Ona-Kakanfo. The historical background to this tradition, a policy to curtail the excesses of those overzealous Crown Princes who usually assert power and authority with impunity, is found in Samuel Johnsons The History of the Yorubas, a rich seam of information. Johnson reveals that the Crown Prince in the Old Oyo practically reigned with his father, having nearly equal power as the Alafin himself. However, a startling discovery was later made that some Crown Princes who were often tyrannical, exercised power and authority over and above the Alafin. Samuel Johnson (1921170-174) reveals the case of a crown prince who was strongly suspected of terminating his fathers life in order to attain full powers. In order to checkmate the excesses of the crown princes, a law was then made to the effect that since the crown prince reigned with his father, he must also die with him. Kurunmi, the Are-Ona-Kakanfo of the kingdom, vehemently opposed Alafin Atibas relegation of tradition, insisting that Prince Adelu should commit suicide and be buried with his father as the tradition demanded. When Kurunmi could not stop the installation of Adelu as Alafin, he decided to attack Oyo and reinstate the decadent tradition. He had the support of the Egba people, while Alafin Adelu enjoyed overwhelming support from the people of Ibadan. Several actions and events in Rotimis Kurunmi lend themselves to Clifford Geertzs thick description. Are Kurunmis uncompromising stance on the sustenance of the dictates of the tradition is captured in the opening scene of the play My people, I greet you today the feast of Ororunmy sons here and I, we have just come back from a meeting with Alafin Atiba in OyoWe were all seated. Oba Atiba come down from his high throne. In his right hand, the sword of Ogun in his left hand, the bolt of Sango. He came towards us Swear, my people,said he, swear to Ogun and to my forebear, Sango, that my son, Adelu, will be king after me(17). In Yorubaland, Ogun and Sango are among the prominent gods worshipped by the people. Ogun is the god of iron, while Sango is the god of thunder. The great power bestowed on these gods by the Yoruba people is evident in Kurunmis speech above. In Yoruba cosmology, the gods are so potent that swearing in vain to them would incur their wrath. A thick description analysis of Rotimis Kurunmi would necessarily pay a close attention to the cultural elements embedded in the play. The conflict between tradition and change is one of the major thematic thrusts of the play. Alafin Atiba, sensing that death is imminent, holds a conference of the Alafinate to discuss the pressing issue of dynastic succession. He suggests that Adelu (Crown Prince) should succeed him when he dies. All the prominent chiefs and warlords, notably, Oni Ife, Timi Ede, Balogun Ibikunle, Bashorun Ogunmola give their consent. Kurunmi storms out of the conference, as the issue being discussed is contrary to tradition. On this, Kurunmi says My people, we too have tradition. This is what makes us men. This is what makes uspeople, distinct from mud The pride of man, my people, is his tradition (17-18). Kurunmi cuts the figure of a custodian of culture and tradition, who will leave no stone unturned in the defense of tradition. He later informs Timi Ede and Bashorun Oluyole whom he has treated with a great contempt Go Tell the world Kurunmi will never prostrate himself to shoot a deer with a father one morning, and then squat with the son in the evening to shoot a goose NeverneverI say n-e-v-e-r (21). There is something culturally dignifying about prostrating and less dignifying about squatting. The culture conflict in the play is further demonstrated in the playwrights juxtapositioning of the African culture with the alien culture, represented by Reverend Mann, a major character in the play. The Manns serve as a structural device to keep a diary of the war. The character of Reverend Mann also contributes significantly towards the deepening of Kurunmis characterization. Rotimi introduces Reverend Mann and his Christian soldiers after the culturally charged opening scene of the play A band of Ijaiye Christian converts appears, led in a procession by the Rev. and Mrs Mann. Suddenly, from a distance, the ssound of egungun drumming breaks forth and the converts begin to react very uneasily. As the drumming and chanting come closer, members of the Christian group begin to run off one after the otherThe mob converges on the Rev. Mann, then moves away, leaving him bleeding from a slash on his orehead (22-23). The above heightens the cultural antagonisms that propel the plot of the play. Initially, the deployment of the cultural elements favour Kurunmi, but later, they combine to constitute and ignite the hubristic factor in his character to the extent that the gods appear to have deserted him. Reverend Mann fights hard to introduce Christian influences in Ijaiye. From the exposition to the resolution of the play, Kurunmi displays defiance and obstinacy in his struggle to avoid tampering with his African (Yoruba) traditional beliefs. His tradition is a symbol of the Yoruba nation, and, by extension, Nigeria which he believes has been usurped and vandalized by inimical neo-colonial forces. In the dialogic relationships between Kurunmi and Reverend Mann, Kurunmi steadfastly projects the peoples tradition. Kurunmi says at a point in the play A cow a cow is about to be shipped to Whitemans land and she is happy. Very happy. Ehnlet the cow go. When she gets to Whitemans land, what will she become C-o-r-n-e-d b-e-e-f (22). The metaphor portrays colonial experiences and how it has hindered the African traditional values. Rotimis Kurunmi was published not many years after Nigeria attained her independence. This was the period when colonial influence was very heavy in Nigeria. Sunday Joseph Adodabo (201674) makes a compelling comment in this direction Rotimi effectively explores history in Kurunmi to deconstruct existing colonial accounts of the war as well as foreground the fact that the 19th century wars with their intrigues and consequent resolutions have a place in contemporary dialogue towards the achievement and understanding of the postcolonial siscourse on war and peace generally in Africa and particularly in Nigeria. We have a few other instances of events which are thickly described in the play. Kurunmi performs the following action in the presence of the messengers from Oyo, Obagbori and Kutenlo He leans back relaxedly in his chair, dips the ladle into the bowl of stew, scoops the contents okro stew. He lifts the spoonful towards his mouth, repeatedly, letting much of the sauce slaver sloppily from his mouth down on to the white cloth, smirching it. The messengers are shocked (26). Kurunmi completes his symbolic act thus Kurunmi ends the act by wiping his mouth clean with the unsoiled parts of the cloth, then casually he undoes the knot behind his neck, folds up the cloth in a crude bundle, and holds it out to the messengers (27). In this context, Kurunmi sends a message of contempt to the newly-installed King Adelu. The messengers give an accurate interpretation of Kurunmis action, as one of them, Kutenlo exclaims Contempt (27). Also, in order to make the point that Ibikunle is old and spent, and therefore gain an upper and in the power struggle between them, Ogunmola ties a dead black crow to Ibikunles house. To an outsider, this is simply an action of tying a dead black crow to someones house. However, the action is symbolic and significant. It is the acme of humiliation. In Yoruba cosmology, a black crow symbolizes cowardice. Power struggle runs through the play. There is a reasonable measure of historical background to this. Toyin Falola and G.O. Oguntomisins interpretation of the nineteenth century Yoruba history in Yoruba Warlords of the 19th Century (2000) is germane to our discussion. In the magisterial work, the two seasoned historians argue that the Kurunmis objection to Adelus succession was not only based on Kurunmis desire to ensure that Oyo succession rule was religiously observed, but also as a result of the enmity between him and Atiba. They claim that reality probably dawned on Kurunmi that Adelu, who was Atibas favourite son, was likely to revive the Alafins control over Upper Ogun towns. In view of this, Kurunmi refused to recognize Adelu as the new Alafin, and did not pay the traditional homage to him. Instead, he was reportedly seeking another candidate of the older line from the royal families of the refugee towns of Saki, Igboho, and Kisi.The tragic conflict in Rotimis dramatic adaptation of Ijaiye War resides in the character of Are Kurunmi whose fortunes in relation to his society and the cosmic environment inform Rotimis tragic vision. Olu Obafemi (199699) avers that Kurunmis supreme belief in his own individual powers, based on his military astuteness is the main germ of his tragedy. The documented power struggle between Kurunmi and Atiba is evident in Rotimis Kurunmi. Kurunmis language drips with sarcasm as he reports his encounter with Atiba to the people of Oyo during the feast of Ororun Clown, I yelled, out of my cursed sight spits. I shall be no party to perversion and disgrace. I picked up my staff and walked out (17). Failure to manage this power struggle degenerates into the pogrom. There is also a power struggle between Kurunmi and Alafin Adelu, who feels insulted by Kurunmis insolence and disregard for his authority. Another instance of power struggle in the play is that between Kurunmi and Ogunmola. This is a simple reflection of the rivalry between the two mainstays of the new Oyo that is, Ibadan and Ijaiye. Ogunmola recounts his harrowing experience with Kurunmi It was my wife I went to get from under his bosom in Ijaiye when he caught me and tied me to a post in his back yard. For fourteen whole days Kurunmi kept me prisoner, and fed me on white ashes in his backyard, tied to a post (46). Pa Layiwola Adio (2013) sheds more light on this in his interview with The Nation newspaper Kurunmi captured Ogunmola alive and he was brought to Ijaiye where he was chained and was fed with ashes in the palace The story continued that in the night one of Aare Kurunmis wives betrayed him as she secretly went to unfetter Bashorun Ogunmola and assisted him to escape. Power struggle is also evident between Kurunmi and five notable Ijaiye warriors, Epo, Fanyaka, Akiola, Asegbe and Amodu. They barge in on and remonstrate with him about his overbearing attitude and dictatorial leadership style EPO What is all this about going to war AKIOLA You did not consult with the people. FANYAKA When a man has placed himself far above his people, he is ready to gamble with their lives. ASEGBE You talk so much about breakers of tradition. AMODU You have grown too powerful, my lord. FANYAKA It is better to be loved than feared. EPO Answer my question, Great One. KURUNMI Do you dare AKIOLA You will not bully us, Old One. FANYAKA Answer the question. (37). The remonstration continues WARRIORS Kurunmi, Kurunmi, Kurunmi Abah AMODU Your power chokes us, my lord. (39-40). Perhaps the most pronounced power struggle in the play is that between the Ibadan War General, Balogun Ibikunle, and his 2nd in command, Ogunmola. They have different attitudes towards the idea of Ibadan waging a war with the Ijaiye. Ibikunle is demonstrably wary of going into war with the Ijaiye due to the consanguinity between them. Ibikunle says Caution, my brothers. Ijaiye and Oyo and Ibadan, my brothers, are one. A man cannot be so angry with his own head that he seizes the cap from that head and dons his buttocks with it (46). On the other hand, Ogunmola is pugnacious, and insists on going to war. Two principal reasons largely inform Ogunmolas stance. One, he has an axe to grind with Kurunmi. The war, he strongly feels, would give him the great opportunity to revenge the untold hardship and embarrassment he earlier suffers in Kurunmis hands. Secondly, he is contemptuous of the much older Ibikunle whom he feels is spent. He calls Ibikunle a coward in the presence of the warriors and other Ibadan chiefs. Mortified, Ibikunle states BattlesI have seen many, my brothers. Ogunmola calls me a coward…Ogunmola calls me a coward (50) Ibikunle and Ogunmola drag their power struggle to the Ibadan camp of the war front. Wielding a spear, Ibikunle intimidates Ogunmola who finds the encounter unnerving. Power relations are amply demonstrated in Kurunmi. The Ijaiye people hold Are Kurunmi in awe. The Ijaiye crowd always prostrate themselves in deference to him whenever they come to the palace. The warriors always prostrates themselves or kneel down when addressing him. The Oyo messengers, Kutenlo and Obagbori prostrate themselves in greeting when they meet me Kurunmi. They even wait for him to ask them to rise up before doing so. On several occasions, people always end their speeches with my lord when addressing the enigmatic character of Kurunmi.These are indices of the power relations between Kurunmi and his subjects. The visit of Timi Ede and Bashorun Oluyole to Kurunmi is another instance of power relations. The costumes of Timi Ede and Bashorun Oluyola symbolize their royalty. Their speeches reflect the socio-cultural and historical contexts of the power they wield. As nobles, they expect the Ijaiye crowd to prostrate themselves, in consonance with the extant culture and tradition. Instead, they receive a cold reception from the Ijaiye people. Oluyola voices out his anger AwuKurunmi, have we fallen so low in the eyes of your subjects that even slaves among them now feel too noble to prostrate themselves in respect for our presence (18). Kurunmi retorts I will have no one call my slaves, slaves. There are no slaves in Ijaiye. Every man, every woman, every child in Ijaiye is Kurunmis child (18). Stephen Greenblatts subversion-containment dialectic will also be employed in the textual analysis of Rotimis Kurunmi. Kurunmi can be described as a subversive play as it calls into question the ideology of the right of a king to tamper with the status quo by breaking the tradition. The Alafin of Oyo, Alafin Atiba did that by breaking the tradition and installing his heir, Adelu, as the Alafin. The tradition before then required the heir apparent to commit suicide on the death of his father. Kurunmi, the Are-Ona-Kakanfo of the kingdom vehemently opposed Alafin Atibas tampering with the tradition, insisting that Adelu should commit suicide and be buried with his father. However, the fact that Kurunmi eventually failed in his opposition to Atibas move is a reinforcement of the ideology. The protagonist of the play, Are Kurunmi is a subversive character. While the other prominent chiefs and kings see reason with Atiba on the need to be innovative and change the tradition, Kurunmi stands his grounds. He manifests his subversion by walking out of a meeting with the king. The custom and tradition demands an absolute respect for kings who, according to Yoruba belief, are the gods representatives on earth. Right from the exposition to the exordium of the play, Kurunmi brooks no opposition, and muffles any dissenting voice. He has no modicum of respect for constituted authorities as represented by Alafin Atiba and Alafin Adelu. He does not carry his subjects along, and takes the rash decision of going into war. The loss of the war, and Kurunmis tragic end is a containment of his subversion. The five armed Ijaiye warriors, Epo, Fanyaka, Akiola, Asegbe, and Amodu subvert the traditional opinion that a generalissimo of the army must not be queried over his actions. They ooze a great deal of confidence as they challenge him over his superciliousness and overbearing attitude towards his subjects. Their subversion is contained in the text as Kurunmi effectively handles them, and regain their trust. Amodu reassures Kurunmi From this day on, as before, it is Are Kurunmi I will serve, it is Are Kurunmi I will die for. (42). All the men say this in unison at the end of the scene It will be so. Nothing, nothing shall again separate us from oneness with you. Nothing. They all lean forward and grab the sword, sanctifying their oath. (42). The above statement and the action of the warriors is a containment of their subversion. Finally, Ogunmola is another subversive character. He is unabashedly disrespectful of Ibikunle who, in hierarchy, is his superior. Ibikunle is the Ibadan War General while Ogunmola is the 2nd in Command. During the meeting of the Ibadan Council of Elders and Warriors, Ibikunle derides Ogunmola, calling him a coward. He also sends his boys to deface Ibikunles front porch with a black crow, which is the symbol of cowardice. Ibikunle later handles and overwhelms him a few months later in the Ibadan camp of the Ijaiye War. This is a containment of his subversion. Analysis of Play Text Against Stage Performance Ola Rotimis Kurunmi was performed by the theatre troupe of the Oyo State Council for Arts and Culture on Thursday, 24th March, 2016. The venue of this impressive, well-attended stage performance was the Cultural Centre, Mokola, Ibadan, Oyo State. The production was directed by Mr Bamiji Olaiya, a director and staff of the Oyo State Council for Arts and Culture. One distinguishing feature of any successful stage performance of Rotimis Kurunmi is its unique set designer. It takes an experienced set designer to come up with something that will approximate it. The uniqueness is borne out of the battlefield scenes of the play, which is centred on the Ijaye War of 1861-1865. The stage background is built in form of a hill, with slopes which enable Kurunmi at a point in the production to climb the hill to respond to Ogunmolas boast of having killed many Ijaye men at the thick of the battle VOICE KurunmiKurunmithis is Ogunmola sending greetings from the Ibadan camp. Come over and count the heads of your men in the ashes of my fire-place. Laughs lustily. KURUNMI almost a soliloquy You boast too early, Ogunmola, imp of Fesu. To thunder is not to rain. But it is well. We shall meet. Tomorrow I heard youWe shall meet. Tomorrow, we shallwe shall Tomorrow. (65-66) Kurunmi utters his lines in a baritone voice, supemely confident and poised for battle. There are a number of points of convergence between the play text and the stage performance. These will be examined. Firstly, according to the stage direction in the opening scene of the text The play opens on Kurunmis agbole, the closest English term for which is compound. Even this term falls miser-ably short in portraying the sacred pictorial essence of what an agbole really is. In this particular agbole, for instance, the gods of the tribe are present in varying images of earth, granite and wood (11). The set design of the performace depicts the afore-stated textual description. According to the text, the shrine of Ogun, the god of iron is positioned in the centre of the compound. This is what obtains in the stage performance. The shrines of other gods are placed left and right of the shrine of Ogun. The shrine of another god-remarkably more gigantic than the others-is tucked at another corner on stage. The shrine of Ogun is the most actively used both in the text and on stage. It has palmfronds, metallic objects, clothes, etc, on it. Furthermore, the scenes in the performance are arranged in the order in which they are presented in the text. The sequence of incidents in the performance aligns with the text. Like in the text, events in the play move at a frenetic place. The play is devoid of any intermission. There is a seamless flow of incidents. The names of the characters in the dramatic text are also maintained in the stage performance. The actors also deliver a reasonable portion of their lines, as they are in the text, although, there are slight modifications here and there. In addition, majority of the stage directions or blockings given in the text are observed in the performance. Again, the key incidents in the text are enacted on stage. These include Kurunmis meeting with the people of Ijaye, punctuated by Oluyole and Timis visit Kurunmis encounter with Rev. Mann the meeting of the Ibadan council of Elders and Warriors the Ijaye war camp the Ibadan war camp and Kurunmis committing of suicide. However, there are several points of divergence between the dramatic text and the stage performance. The first major point of divergence is that the playwright makes very limited descriptions of characters, places, costumes, props, objects, etc. Most of the time, he merely mentions characters, places, objects, etc. The director of this stage performance does a marvelous job of animating the text, and transforming it from play text to performance text by his employement of appropriate costumes, make-up, dcor, stage lighting, etc. In the opening scene of the text, the blocking of the play simply states that Enter Abogunrin rattling a small gourd as he approaches the shrine of Ogun, the god of iron, in the centre of the compound. (11). No further description is made of the shrine of Ogun in the text. In the stage performance, the Ogun shrine is painstakingly built. It has palm fronds, iron objects, clothes, etc. In the text, the play opens with Abogunrins entrance on stage. In contrast, in the stage performace, he is accompanied by two other men who dress in a similar fashion with him, and who pours libation to the other two gods in the shrine, as Abogunrin does that to the shrine of Ogun. Abogunrins lines in the text are shared with him by the two accompanying men in the performance. They chorus the line Termites dwell underground. Several of the long lines of the characters in the text are edited out in the stage performance. Characteristically, the actors occasionally inject lines into the performance which are not in the dramatic text. In the opening scene of the play, the Ijaye crowd sings a song in the performance which is not in the text A o ba baba dele we will follow king home A o ba baba dele we will follow king home Eni ti o ba baba dele who ever fails to do that Iya ni o je will suffer the consequences A o ba baba dele. We will follow king home The song underscores the peoples unflinching love of, and veneration for Kurunmi, the Generalissimo of Ijaye. Not only lines but also scenes are edited out in the performance. The scenes in the text which are not enacted on stage include Rev. Manns acrimonious encounter with the frenzied mob of Ijaiye old men and youths Rev. and Mrs Mann at home Mrs Manns recording of her experiences in a diary the encounter between the Manns and the Egba council and one of the scenes of the Ibadan camp, involving Ogunmola, Ibikunle, and Ajayi. The scene in which Kurunmi soils his apron in order to send a contemptuous message through the Oyo messengers, Kutenlo and Obagbori is also not enacted on stage. The text is silent on Kurunmis physical appearance. He wears free-flowing clothes, and holds a long staff and a short one which assist him in gesticulating and emphasising his points. The short staff is permanently with him in the performance. All through the performance, Kurunmi employs body language a lot. His domineering role is also captured in the stage performance by his authoritative manner of speaking. His voice oozes authority and occasion sarcasm. In the text, only Kurunmi sings and dances to the lines The tortoise will say Brother, not until I have been disgraced. Not until I have been disgraced(25). In contrast, the line is accompanied by drumming in the performance. This enables the message to sink properly into the audience. The text states that when in the presence of Timi and Oluyole, Kurunmi crosses to mould an object from clay, while his eldest son, Arawole, leads the townsfolk away.(19). In the performance, Kurunmi does nothing of such, and the crowd protests as they leave the stage. The great awe in which the people of Ijaiye hold for Kurunmi is evinced in the stage performance. They always kneel or prostrate when addressing him, and hardly look into his eyeballs. He speaks in imperious tone, and struts about the stage. Rev. Mann carries a bible in practically all his appearances on stage. The text never mentions this. His gentle disposition, mien, sober look, and carriage of a bible add plausibility to his character as a Reverend Father who is on a mission not only to spread the gospel, but also to propagate peace among the people of Ijaye. He delivers his lines in slow, measured cadences a textbook example of how a Reverend Father should speak and behave. The import of the encounter between Kurunmi and the five rebellious armed warriors, Epo, Fanyaka, Akiola, Asegbe and Amodu becomes fully realised in the stage performance. They position themselves strategically on stage, poised to round Kurunmi up if the need arises. The nuances of facial expression, tones, and body language of these warriors speak volumes of their disenchantment with Kurunmi. The line said by Amodu in the text You have grown too powerful, my lord. (39) is repeated in the performance for the purpose of emphasis. The purpose is accomplished, if the audiences response to the scene is anything to go by. The text merely describes the warriors as armed. The performance animates the degree of being armed. Their clothes are laced with charms. They carry guns, swords and other weapons. Their subversion is fully realised on stage. The subversion is contained in the performance, as Kurunmi recovers his composure, produces a sword, pokes it in the shrine and reestablishes the power relations between them, that he is their leader. The warriors become elated after collecting bags of gifts. The Act 2 Scene 1 of the play which involves the Ibadan Council of Elders and Warriors is another significant point of divergence between the dramatic text and the stage performance. The text is opened with the discussion of Ogunmola, Ibikunle, and others. In contrast, in the performance, the scene is opened with the young warriors brandishing guns and swords, and doing a well-synchronised choreography. They sing Won n fiku sere oh They are toying with death Won n fi ku sere They are toying with death Awon Ijaye The Ijaiye people Won n fi ku sere. They are toying with death. The song illuminates their war-like disposition, and readiness to go into war and crush the Ijaye people. When the argument between Ogunmola and Ibikunle unfolds, the warriors form two rows, with a row behind Ogunmola, and the other row behind Ibikunle. Ogunmolas subversive nature and utter contempt of Ibikunle is foregrounded on stage. He stands when talking, and raises his voice. He attempts to leave the stage in the middle of talking, returns to meet the Ibadan Council of Elders, and repeats the process thrice. Apparently, he cashes in on the excitement of the audience over his action by repeating the process three times. Ibikunle states the lines Ogunmola calls me a cowardmore than it occurs in the text. The actors on stage with him placate him. In the next scene which is principally an encounter between Rev. Mann and Kurunmi, Rev. Manns long lines are edited in the performance. Unlike in the text, Rev. Mann opens the bible while quoting bible passages to Kurunmi in the stage performance. For the first time in the play, Kurunmi dispenses with his normal clothes, and changes to war clothes. Kurunmi is accoutered for battle by three men. The number of men is not stated in the text.The clothes contain vials, charms, swords, spears, and other paraphernalia of war. A song with the cenral message that Kurunmi is set for the battle field, and there is no going back is heard from the back-stage. The mbu-o-o,bu mi-i-i analogy drawn by Kurunmi to Rev. Mann in the text (55) is animated in the performance. Kurunmi squats while explaining it, and urges Rev. Mann to do same. The three categories of soldiers in the dramatic text are distinguished in the performance with their costumes. The Ibadan soldiers are costumed in blue war clothes and war caps. The Egba soldiers are costumed in black war clothes, while the Ijaiye soldiers wear grey costume. This colour separation tremendously assists the audience in following the storyline. Act 3 Scene 1 of the text involves the Ijaye war camp. The choreography of the Ijaiye warriors is fantastic.They hold swords in the course of the performance, and entertain the audience with electrifying war songs. Unlike in the text where we have a single Areagoro, two actors share the role of Areagoro in the performance. They share the lines in the text. The expert choreography recommended for all war-dance in the text (62) is accomplished in the stage performance. In the text, Kurunmi sprinkles good-luck charm powder, from a huge black pot on the Ijaiye warriors (62). In contrast, in the performance, Kurunmi serves each of the warriors with drink from a calabash. After Kurunmis exit, the Ijaye warriors give a prolonged performance. In Act 3 Scene 4 of the text, 3rd Warrior is whisked off the stage by Kurunmis bodyguards. The performance assumes a more dramatic, tragic dimension, as he is killed, and his corpse is whisked off the stage, accompanied with a background song. There is also a stark contrast between the text and performance in the opening incident of Act 3 Scene 6 of the play. In the text, the scene opens with the dancing of Egba troops to frenetic drumming, and the expression of the readiness of the Egba troops to ally with the Ijaye in waging war against the Ibadan. In the performance, the scene opens with a thoroughbred Egba man coming on stage to praise-sing and reel out the panegyric of the Egba people, much to the admiration of the audience. The Egba warriors are costumed in black war clothes and multi-coloured trousers. In the scene involving Sokenu, Ibikunle, Ogunmola, and Kujenyo, a great deal of pressure is mounted by Ibikunle on Kujenyo, the witch-doctor, to perform a correct divination. At a point, Ibikunle removes Kujenyos cap, glances at his head, and say Your head is still correct. This is conspicuously absent in the text. The deep-seated power struggle between Ibikunle and Ogunmola is animated on stage. The Act 3 Scene 8 of the text is also quitte different from the performance. In the text, the progress of the war between the Ibadan and Ijaye is reported by Rev. Mann and Mrs Mann, who read from their diaries with which they chronicle the war proceedings REV. MANN Tomorrow came. The beginning of the agony. Ijaiye is no match for Ibadan, Either in human resources or in war material. Ibadan won. Another tomorrow came. May 5. Ijaiye arms are fast running out MRS MANN Another tomorrow came. May 10, 1860. The death of Ijaiye is any time now. (66) In the stage performace, the war, which is the kernel of the play, is enacted on stage. First to come on stage are the fully-armed Ibadan warriors, who chant war songs and perform war dance, moving to one side of the stage. They are led by the war generals, Ibikunle and Ogunmola. Closely on their heels are the equally armed Ijaye warriors who move to the opposite direction, and chant different war songs from the Ibadan warriors. Gradually, they close in on each other, and hostilities commence in earnest. The Ibadan warriors gain an upper hand, overwhelm the Ijaye warriors, and pursue them victoriously off the stage, after inflicting wounds on some of the Ijaye warriors. The next scene illustrates one of the major points of divergence between the play text and the stage performance. The scene is not originally in the text it is a creation of the director, to drive home his message on the overwhelming defeat of the Ijaye people by the Ibadan, and also to recreate the slave trade which characterized the Yoruba internecine wars of the nineteenth century. In the gripping scene, the vanquished Ijaye warriors are chained together-an index of enslavement- and are led on stage by Ibadan War Generals, Ogunmola and Ibikunle. They are pumelled, beaten, and their costumes are bloodied, as they are led off the stage. With the scene, the crushing defeat of the Ijaye people in the war is fully registered. Arguably the most gripping scene of the performance is the Act 4 Scene 3 of the text when the tragic news of his five sons death at the battlefield is broken to Kurunmi. The scene involving Kurunmi, Ogunkoroju and Woman, which precedes this scene is coalesced with the stage realization of Act 4 Scene of the text. While the scenes are separated in the text, they are fused in the performance. Kurunmis grief is fully animated on stage. Visibly shaken, he opens the bag containing his first son, Arawoles severed, bloodied head, brings out the head, and, not unexpectedly, becomes very emotional and crestfallen. Unlike in the text, he repeatedly calls his sons name Arawole, clutching at the severed head in anguish. A dirge enveloped the stage, and Kurunmi wails and laments, cradling the severed head. He staggers off the stage, still clutching at the severed head. Others follow him. In the climactic scene of the play, Kurunmi drinks poison from calabash bowl in the text, and then staggers off the stage. The gradual effect of the poison on him is fully realised on stage. Costumed in his war clothes, he grips at his stomach periodically, as the poison steadily penetrates his blood stream. A sharp contrast between the text and performance in this scene is that, in the performance, as the deleterious effect of the poison heightens, Kurunmi manages to move to each of the shrine of the various gods in his compound, embraces each of them briefly, falls to the ground, stands up again, and staggers off the stage. The audience clap in admiration of Kurunmis enactment of the scene. Two women in white costume enter the stage to praise sing Kurunmi. In the middle of this, a voice filters on stage from the background Erin wo which means the elephant has fallen. The import of this statement dawns on the women on stage, as their praisesinging immediately metamorphose into a dirge, in honour of Kurunmi, who is dead. One of the women rolls on the floor, grief-stricken. Four other women, also in white costumes, join the women on stage. They sprinkle a powdery substance on stage from the small calabash each of them holds. The Ijaye warriors all file out in the middle of this. They are followed on stage by a small cortege of four slaves bearing a native-made stretcher, which contains Kurunmis clothes, customarily wrapped in white clothes. The dirge envelopes the stage. Each of the warriors performs a ritual on Kurunmis corpse by dropping a feather on the body. On the completion of the ritual, the four slaves bearing the corpse throws the corpse into the hilly part of the set. The warriors and the women then break into songs, and give an electrifying performance. The Ibadan Council of Elders enter the stage, followed by Reverend Mann. They form a straight line, and face the audience. The warriors continue their choreography. Kurunmi joins them on stage, and the curtain call is done by all the actors. Without mincing words, the stage performance of Ola Rotimis Kurunmi is exceptionally good. The fact that the performance was for a special occasion must have contributed immensely towards the thoroughness of the director and the members of the cast. Speaking at the grandeur occasion in Ibadan, the Oyo State Council of Arts and Cultures General Manager, Mrs Olayinka Adedeji said the performance was to maintain the national heritage of the country as part of its statutory duties, and also to tell the Yoruba history for the benefit of the youths and research. According to her, the council is the arm of government detailed to preserve and promote inherent cultural values in Oyo State. The 1500 capacity hall was filled to the brim during the performance. The technical aspects of the production are marvellous. The costumes individualise some of the characters, depict the social classes and statuses of some of the characters, and differentiate the three warring groups the Ibadan, the Egba, and the Ijaiye. Kurunmis costume when going to the war front is remarkable-heavy, filled with charms and weapons. It is uniquely different, and individualizes him as the generalissimo of the Yoruba Empire and leader of Ijaiye. The chiefs in the play dress like typical Yoruba chiefs-long robes, caps, and also wear beads on their necks and wrists. Ogunmola and Ibikunle later change to war clothes in the course of the performance. The war clothes of the war Generals are discernibly different from the warriors. They are heavily laced with charms, cowries, weapons, and other appurtenance of war. Kujenyos role as a witchdoctor is appropriately depicted with his white costume. In a similar vein, Mosadiwin and other women who perform ritual on Kurunmis corpse wear white costumes. As much as possible, the colours of the costumes harmonise with the set. There is the creative usage of stage lighting which helps to illustrate the various moods of the warriors, the townspeople, and other actors, at intervals. The stage lighting also indicates the periods of the day in which different incidents in the play take place. Kurunmis incessant recourse to the Ogun shrine, as well as the various battle scenes are well illuminated in appropriate hues. Yoruba language forms an integral part of the production. The songs which are done offstage are rendered in Yoruba language, apparently to depict the socio-cultural background of the play. The actors also occasionally add Yoruba words and expressions in the delivery of their lines. Kujenyo delivers the message of his divination in Yoruba language. Off-stage songs are copious in the performance. The stage management is also impressive. 4.4 Text III Athol Fugards Blood Knot Analysis of the Playtext In South Africa, on 21 March 1960, the Pan-Africanist Congress had launched a campaign against the pass laws, pre-empting the ANC, who were due to begin their protests at the end of the month. One demonstration site was Sharpeville-a location near the Vaal River town of Vereeniging-where a large crowd of determined but good-tempered demonstrators converged on the police station. The panicky white policemen opened fire, killing 69 and wounding many more. Many had bullet entry wounds in the back, indicating that they had been shot as they ran away. It seemed like a firing squad at an execution. Culled from White Lies by Denis Herbstein The widely-reported 1960 Sharpeville Massacre briefly described above is one of the tragic episodes of apartheid, a policy which was made the official state policy in 1948 by the newly-elected President Daniel Francois Malan. Due to apartheid, racial segregation was strictly implemented in all spheres of life. The first piece of apartheid legislation was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriage Act, 1949, which was followed closely by the Immorality Act of 1950, making it illegal for most South African citizens to marry or pursue sexual relations across racial lines. From 1960 to 1983, 3.5 million non-white South Africans were removed from their homes, and forced into segregated neighbourhoods, in one of the largest mass removals in modern history. The non-white (eighty percent of the population) were banned from schools attended by whites, who constitute twenty-percent of the population. They were also prohibited from living in the white areas of cities, ridding in the same vehicles, or eating in the same restaurants. (Alade, 2008). The height of the oppressive nature of apartheid was the introduction of pass laws, a form of internal passport system designed to segregate the population, severely limit the movements of the black population, and allocate migrant labour. The black population was required to carry these passbooks with them. Apartheid sparked significant domestic and international opposition, resulting in some of the most influential social movements in the twentieth century. It was the target of frequent condemnation of the United Nations, and brought about an extensive arms and trade embargo on South Africa (Alade, 2008). In 1990, a prominent leader, who has been imprisoned since for his vehement opposition to apartheid was released from detention. Apartheid was abolished in mid-1990s. Our interest in apartheid in this study is sparked by the fact that the text being examined in this section, Blood Knot is, like most of Athol Fugards plays, inspired by apartheid. Apartheid was and has remained an enduring theme of South African writers. The evils of apartheid are explored by writers like Athol Fugard, Bessie Head, J.M. Coetzee, Dennis Brutus, Alan Paton, Peter Abraham, Dan Zwelonke and Alex La Guma. Athol Fugard has received critical attention and acclaim, perhaps more than any other South African writer. Derek Cohen (197774) spots Fugards prodigious talent as a playwright early enough Although several of the handful of internationally-known South African writers have tried their hands at drama, only Athol Fugard remains a playwright of stature. Having won acclaim in the English-speaking world with over half dozen successful plays about South African life, Fugard stands assured of a place in dramatic history. Michael Coveney (198834) states that Fugards criticism is not levelled at pigmy politicians, but is expressed in a canon of dramatic writings which registers, in anguished and poetic terms, the suffering endured at the hands of those who rule and legislate. J.W. Lambert (199022) sees Fugards plays as the depiction of life in the dustbin of South African society. Njoki and Ogogo (201483) succinctly capture Fugards preoccupation with apartheid in his dramatic oeuvre Athol Fugards plays cannot be read and understood outside the ideals, values and practices of the apartheid regime in South Africa before the black majority were allowed to vote in 1994. Several critics have focused on Fugards style of writing, with a particular reference to his remarkable characterization. B.M. Ibitokun (1995 97-98) in his book, African Drama and the Yoruba World-view has this to say on Fugards plays We detect from Fugardian characters a lava of rebelliousness. Fugard provides a sleight of the eye which sees beyond the canvas of the mimeticthrough subtleties and sour delicacies, Fugard puts across his message. It is no wonder that he is considered persona non Grata and urged to go into exile by the white minority government of Pretoria. Jonathan Hammond (199943) describes Fugards work as consisting of Very individual and profoundly conceived charactersand a political and social significance informing every line of the text without ever becoming blatant or overtFugards main strength lies in his ability to create plays on two levels the bedrock economic and political one and the personal one of the characterization and relationships. These two levels subtly impinge and interact on each other, creating works of art that are emotionally as well as politically convincing. Russsell Vandenbroucke (2001120) finds that The characters, despite their plight, maintain an infectious and incisive sense of humour, and variations on the play-within-play are used. Whatever the desperate conditions of their lives, Fugards characters are able to laugh- At themselves, at their surroundings. Sometimes, it is the laugh which keeps one from the brink of insanity, but more often it is a simple bemusement, an ability to see and embrace incongruities. Biodun Jeyifo (200698) finds Fugards unique characterization fascinating In the emergent dramatic patterns of the plays of Athol Fugard, five characters, not to say six, seven or eight, is a crowd. What we uniformly encounter in each of the dozen or so plays available to us as the published dramatic corpus of the playwright is a maximum of four, and more commonly a complement of three or two characters, as the effective dramatis personae. Continues Jeyifo It is this shrunken world or worlds where individuals, groups, communities and races are walled within the physical and social space allowed them by the system that Fugard has persistently and unremmitingly transposed into his dramas. The constant invariable point of departure for all the characters is that of confined Victimhood. MacDonald (2002) and McLuckie (2003) also describe Fugard as a dramatist of enormous power who uses a small cast. Fugard begins his play, Blood Knot by expressing the grim situation of the blacks in South Africa during apartheid In 1958, the second year of our marriage, we moved to Johannesburg where I found a job as a clerk in the commissioners court. Every black man or woman had to carry a pass-book, the endorsement which decides where he may live, work, travel, etc. Any violation of the endorsement is a statutory offence and is dealt with in a Native Commissioners court. The usual sentence is about two weeks imprisonment (v). Here, we learn that there are two entities. The whites have the upper hands as they are the ones punishing those blacks who go against the pass laws while the blacks face the brunt of the oppression by the pass law. The pass law is designed to control and restrict the blacks in their own lands. It was a control measure by which every black South African male over the age of fifteen faced the summary arrest if unable to produce his pass on demand by a policeman. The passbook had to contain a monthly signature by the employer, poll tax receipts, official endorsements for work and residential permits in specified areas, and a photograph of its owner (Dennis Herbstein, 2004)). Set in South Africa in 1961, during apartheid, Blood Knot narrates the story of two South African brothers, Zachariah and Morris, born of different fathers but raised by the same mother. They are of different skin pigmentations. Zachariah is jet-black, while Morris passes for white, and has done so in the past, but has for over a year returned to live with Zachariah in a one-room shack in a run-down, non-white slum of Korsten, at the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. The shack is littered with old rags, pots, pans, pallets, a tin stuffed with savings, a bible, and an alarm clock. Zachariah is stark-illiterate and a little slow-witted. However, he has a menial job, working as a gatekeeper at a public park. The atmosphere of the play is suffused with apartheid as evident in Zachariahs job of keeping black people from coming into the whites-only park. Morris acts as a homemaker-cleaning their room, cooking meals, mending Zachariahs clothing, and preparing nightly footbaths for his brother who suffers from foot sores, from having to stand on his feet all day. He, however, cannot vacate the grueling job because he is restricted from moving elsewhere by the pass law. Zachariahs snotty boss is not willing to change his position for another because he is contemptuous of blacks. At night, they read the bible together in a perfunctory manner. Despite the brothers cloistered domestic intimacy, they are still separated by the strictures of race. Zachariah depicts a typical Fugards black character in his plays. Fugard ventilates his feelings and expresses his disenchantment with the way the blacks are treated through the roles he gives to his characters. The black characters in Fugards plays are given disadvantaged roles, making the audience sympathise with them. In contrast, the white characters are negatively portrayed, which alienates the readers or audience from them. Zachariahs arduous job evoke the readers pity. Morriss plan is that the savings would be used to buy a farm of their own some day. Zachariah is more concerned with the present, and feels bored, and in need of fun and a woman. He misses his fun-loving friend, Minnie terribly, as evident in the dialogue between him and Morris in the opening scene of the play ZACHARIAH Youre not going to make me forget. I wont. Im not going to. We had woman, I tell you. Pounding the table with his fists Woman Woman MORRIS Do you still want the farm ZACHARIAH Stop it I wont listen Jumps up from the table. Rushes across the other side where his jacket is hanging. Begins to put it on. what do you think I am, hey Guess Two legs and trousers.Im a man. And in this world there is also woman, and the one has got to get the other. Even donkeys know that. What I want to know now, right this very now, is why me, Zach, a man, for a whole miserable little year has had none.(97). Morris later comes up with the idea of Zachariah going into a pen-pal relationship with the opposite sex. Zachariah strikes up a pen-pal relationship with a white girl, Ethel Lange. Conscious of the great danger such a relationship portends, Morris warns Zachariah that in such a segregated South Africa, such a relationship can only mean real trouble. Morriss fears are confirmed, as Ethel Lange writes that she is coming to Port Elizabeth, and wants to meet Zachariah. This, to Morris, means trouble. ZACHARIAH What have I done, hey I done nothing. MORRIS When they get their hands on a dark-born boy playing with a white idea, you think they dont find out what hes been dreaming at night. They have ways and means, my friend. Mean ways. Like confinement in a cell, on bread, and water, for days, without end(141) Here, Morris is not being an alarmist. He hints on the Immorality Act of 1950 and the Mixed Marriage Act of 1949 which banned any form of sexual relationship between black and white people in South Africa during apartheid. In order to avoid meeting Zachariah, the brothers agree to have the white-looking Morris meet her, and pretend to be Zachariah. To prepare for the date, Morris buys expensive coat and trousers, that befit his white South African status, with the money he and his brother had been saving. Morris begins to adopt white mannerisms and speech patterns the moment he puts on the clothes. The brothers settle for a role-playing game when the relieving news come that Ethel would no longer visit Port Elizabeth. The game assumes bizarre twists, as Morris recreates the oppression and subjugation of the majority black people by the minority white people by pummelling and brutalizing his brother. Evidently, he is disdainful of Zachariah, and he does not mince words about his hatred of Zachariah MORRIS You know something I hate you… Well, I hate you, do you hear Hate…Hate…HateHe attacks ZACHARIAH savagely with The umbrella. When his fury is spent he turns away and sits down. (173) The play ends with no real resolution. The brothers will apparently endure each other for many cheerless years to come. Morris makes a striking concluding statement in the play on what connects the two brothers MORRIS No. You see, were tied together, Zach. Its what they call the blood knotthe bond between brothers. (176) A couple of incidents in the play are thickly described. At a point, Morris reiterates the need to get a new suit which he will wear in order to impress Ethel Lange ZACHARIAH I think we can buy one. Couldnt we I reckon for a meeting with Ethel we can manage a hanky all right. MORRIS And the breast pocket ZACHARIAH Whats the problem there Lets also MORRIS Dont be a bloody fool You got to buy a whole suit to get the breast pocket. And thats still not all. What about socks, decent shoes, a spotty tie and a clean white shirt How do you think a man steps out to meet a waiting lady On his bare feet, wearing rags, and stinking because he hasnt had a bath… (149) The suit becomes an index of oppression to be later employed by the white character, Morris, to oppress his black brother, Zachariah. This comes to full manifestation during the role-playing game, when Morris adorns the suit, and deal ruthlessly with his brother. The singular event carries a great deal of weight. It captures the harrowing experiences of the black people from the hands of white people in South Africa during apartheid. Fugards Blood Knot can also be analysed using Stephen Greenblatts subversion-containment dialectic. The two characters demonstrate a varying measure of subversive proclivities. At the beginning of the play, Morris, light-skinned, is subservient to Zachariah, dark-skinned. He cooks for, prepares nightly footbaths and performs other sundry chores for his brother. This challenges the prevailing ideology during apartheid in South Africa in which the black were subservient to the white. Morriss subversion is later contained in the text, as he comes out of his shell, and his attitude changes dramatically towards Zachariah. He illuminates apartheid policy by feeling decidedly superior to Zachariah. Zachariah is also subversive. He desires a white lady despite the law against it, and Morriss strident warning to him to desist from the act MORRIS I warned you, didnt I I said. I have a feeling about this business. I remember my words and wise ones they turn out to be. Because now youve got it I told you to leave it alone. Hands off Dont touch Not for you I know these things I said. But, oh, no, Mr Z. Pietersen was clever. He knew how to handle it(139-140) His subversion is contained in the text by Ethels changing of her mind about visiting Zachariah in Port Elizabeth. In her correspondent to Zachariah, she breaks the news of her engagement to Stoffel, as Morris reads her letter to Zachariah, who, pitiably, cannot read and write MORRIS Then listen. Reads Dear Pen-pal. Its sad news for you but good news for me. Ive decided to get married… The lucky man is Stoffel, who plays in my brothers team, full-back. Its a long story,,,(165). According to Foucaults discourse theory, power is one of the ways in which a dominant group exerts its influence over others. This is evident in Blood Knot. Morris, due to his skin pigmentation represents the dominant group which overwhelms and suppresses the black. The theory also examines the extent to which power relations organize and promote accepted social thought and behaviours. In the play, the power relations between the characters, Morris and Zachariah discernibly shows that Zachariah is disadvantaged. The fact that Morris is smart and lettered, while Zachariah is dull and stark illiterate is in tune with the ideology of apartheid. Morris has a noticeable edge in the power relations, which he utilizes. At the climax of the day, the edge Morris has over Zachariah in the power relations is fully demonstrated. Power struggle is evident in the play. There is a power struggle between Morris and Zachariah. Zachariah, as the plot of the play thickens, begins to asset, and to articulate himself. He spurns Morriss advice of disconnecting with Ethel Lange, due to their diverse skin pigmentations. However, Morris overwhelms him eventually in the power struggle. Morris, through his use of language, expresses his dominance over Zachariah. He often speaks in a peremptory note to Zachariah. An instance is when he tells him Dont be a bloody fool (149). Fugard forages through topics such as raciality, apartheid, and white supremacy in South Africa, brotherhood and familial ties, and several other themes in this play which has enjoyed an enduring popularity since its publication. Analysis of Playtext Against Stage Performance Blood Knot was staged by the Platypus Theatre, a Germany-based professional theatre group on October 31, 2013. The stage production was directed by Mr Kenneth George Phillip. There are several similarities between the play text and the stage performance. Undoubtedly, the text is the raw material through which the performance is derived from. First, the sequence of events in the text is followed in the performance. The play is divided into seven scenes. The director religiously followed the sequence of incidents in the performance. Also, several incidents in the text are enacted on stage. Vital incidents in the text such as the nightly footbath, Morriss cooking of the meals, the striking up of a pen-pal relationship, the buying of new clothes, and role-playing game are all enacted in the stage performance. Furthermore, the director is guided by a good number of the stage directions given by the playwright. For instance, when Ethels letter, accompanied with her photograph, arrives, the stage direction is given below ZACHARIAH jumps up and comes to grips with MORRIS who, after a short struggle, is thrown violently to the floor. ZACHARIAH picks up the letter and the photograph. He stands looking down at MORRIS for a few seconds, amazed at what he has done. (124) The afore-stated action is animated in the stage performance. In another instance, like in the text, the opening encounter between the two brothers in the stage performance is without words. The characterization of Morris and Zachariah in the performance is in line with the text. In the text, like in the performance, Zachariah is dark-skinned, while Morris is light-skinned. Another striking similarity between the text and the stage performance is the setting of the actions of the play a one-room shack in the Non-White location of Korsten, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The description of the shack given by the playwright, approximates, to a very large extent with the setting of the stage performance. The only remarkable difference is that while there are two beds in the text, there is a single bed in the performance, which foregrounds the level of deprivation of the two brothers, who survive on the paltry income Zachariah earns from his unfulfilling job. There are several points of divergence between the play text and the stage performance. In his transformation of the play from playtext to performance text, the director tampers extensively with the text. These points of divergence between the text and the performance will be examined. First, while there are two characters, Morris and Zachariah in the text, there is a third character, Charles Barnard in the stage performance. He not only acts, but also periodically punctuates the performance with comments and directorial instructions given to Morris and Zachariah. He opens the stage performance with a brief address to the audience Welcome to this shack. We have two brothers, Morris and Zachariah living in the shack. The time ,1960s in South Africa. He points to a corner of the shack Over here are factories. He moves to another corner of the shack Over here is a lake. The factories stink, and the smell disturbs the residents of the shacks. This shack is one of the many, hundreds and hundreds of shacks which depict the appalling conditions the black people who live in the shack fall victim of the policies of apartheid. When Zachariah waxes nostalgic about the fun-loving Minnie, his urge for a woman is fully animated in the stage performance. He says Its Friday night Are you ready In the text, Zachariah states Minnie used to come. He had a bottle, or I had A bottle, but we both had a good time, for a long time(97) The good time is realised in actual performance by Zachariahs holding a bottle of an alcoholic drink, taking a swig from it, and waltzing towards the third actor, Charles who, tucked in a corner, plays a guitar and supplies the music Tonight is the night Oh Tonight is the night. Charles and Zachariah dance briefly. Zachariah is visibly excited, as he drinks and dances. In the opening scene and all through the stage performance, several lines of the characters in the text are edited out in the performance. The long lines are drastically reduced. The focus is, essentially, on the capturing of the messages of the lines of the characters. Some of the lines in the text are outright removed in the performance. There is a difference between the reduction of the long lines in the text, and outright removal of lines. Both cases are copiously demonstrated in the stage performance. Charles interrupts the flow of the performance towards the end of the opening scene of the performance, In order to, early enough, depict the apartheid atmosphere embodied in the play. He brings on a disgusting, threadbare coat which is riddled with holes. He asks Morris to put on. Morris, who could not belie his disgust, complains Oh, this is disgusting he tosses it at Zachariah, and says it stinks. Charless response to Morriss comment is instructive Yes, everywhere stinks. The coat represents evil and injustice in apartheid South Africa. What you feel now is how every young man feels. Charles, with the aid of the coat, accomplishes his mission of darkening Morriss mood. He later launches the brothers into the next scene of the performance. In the text, the nightly reading of the Bible by Morris is foregrounded. In contrast, the Bible is read only once all through the performance. The audience finds Zachariahs excitement and anxiety to see Ethels photograph quite hilarious. In the text, Zachariah does not hold any bottle of alcoholic drink. He does so occasionally in the stage performance. An instance is when he, with a tinge of sarcasm, asks Morris Have-you-ever-had-a-woman (117) He sits on the bed, taking a swig from a bottle of drink. Charles intervenes again at the beginning of scene three in the stage performance. He furnishes the brothers with instructions on how the scene will unfold. A glaring contrast between the text and the performance is demonstrated in this scene when Miorris breaks into a song Soon I will be done With the troubles of this world With the troubles of this world With the troubles of this world Soon I will be done With the troubles of this world. The song underscores the high premium theatre directors place on songs in stage performances, with a particular reference to African plays. In scene three of the text, Zachariah merely verbally complains bitterly about his demeaning, laborious job, and his overbearing boss who apparently derives a sadistic pleasure in making his life miserable. He animates this in the performance by his transfer of his aggression on Morris, and by his action. He shoves Morris away, and angrily undressing. His frustration and compelling need for a woman are foregrounded in the performance. Charles punctuates the dramatic flow again when Morris reads Ethels letter, in which she reveals that her brother, Cornelius is a policeman. Charles stresses the danger this portends This is apartheid You can land days in jail With this letter with a trial, without a lawyer. He waxes sentimental in painting the horrifying nature of apartheid to the black people in South Africa. After the scene in which they recall the games they play, particularly the driving on wheel, each of the actors come on stage to narrate a fragment of their individual experiences on apartheid and racism. The driving on wheel game is fully animated in the performance. A demonstrable difference between the text and the performance is when the brothers realize the need to buy new clothes, which would brighten Morriss chance of having a successful encounter with Ethel when she visits Port Elizabeth. Charles plays the role of clothes and shoes seller. He brings the handsome clothes and a pair of shoes to the shack, collects money from Morris, and exits. The sight of Ethels photograph is animated in the performance. Morris and Zachariah struggle for the photographs, prance about the room, and are visibly excited. In the text, Morris simply wears the new clothes. A more detailed attention is devoted to the new clothes in the stage performance. Charles enters the shack, and takes a measurement of Morris with a tape rule. Morris withdraws to a corner of the shack to change his costume into the new clothes. A wooden plank shields him from the audience as he changes to the new clothes, assisted by Charles. While this is going on, Zachariah dances in a corner to a rhythmic song in the background. Unlike in the text, a role playing commences immediately Morris adorns with the new clothes. He beings to feel superior to Zachariah, who repeatedly says Yes, boss to Morriss commands. Unlike in the text, Zachariah stands on the stool in the performance, and bows subserviently. The actors sometimes change the lines in the text during the performance, as exemplified below MORRIS The sight of you affects me, Swartgat. (170) In the performance, Morris says Your presence affects me. Morris even calls Zachariah a bastard. The climactic scene of the text when their role playing assumes bizarre twists is fully animated in the performance. Morriss contempt of Zachariah is illuminated. He pummels him repeatedly with the umbrella, and kicks him viciously. Zachariah cuts a pathetic figure, and recreates the experience of the black people during apartheid in the scene. The costumes individuate the characters in the stage performance. Morris and Zachariah wear casual dresses-shirts and trousers- at the earlier stage of the play. As the play climaxes, Morris changes to the new clothes. The casting of the play is fantastic. Zachariah is discernibly more humorous than Morris, as his actions draw spontaneous laughter from the audience. The three actors give very good accounts of themselves, and play their roles professionally. The stage lighting is put to effective usage all through the performance. In the scene involving Charles playing the guitar and singing, and Zachariah dancing and drinking, the stage darkens, to indicate that the partying and clubbing of Zachariah and Minnie, not unusually, take place at night. The stage also darkens after the bible reading, to show that it is bedtime. The stage lighting also focuses on particular objects and actors which the director wants the audience to see at any particular point in time. Undoubtedly, the director of this stage production of Fugards Blood Knot does a marvelous job of transforming the play from play text to performance text. Interview With the Director of the Stage Performance An interview was conducted by this researcher with Mr Kenneth George, the director of the stage performance of Fugards Blood Knot which was analysed above. Enjoy it. 1 Can you tell us about your background I am from Bombay, India, a graduate of St.Xaviers College, Bombay with a B.A. in English Literature. Since my college days (from 1986-87), I have been working professionally as a theatre actor as well as leading an amateur theatre company as director. In 1994, at the age of 24, I left India to travel, live and work with different theatre companies in Japan, the USA and Europe, before settling in Berlin in 2004. Details about my work can be obtained on HYPERLINK http//www.writingonwater.org www.writingonwater.org 2 As a theatre director with years of experience, how challenging and how rewarding is theatre directing profession The challenge for me is to always start from a position or state of presence within myself, as well as achieving this presence with the ensemble. It is from this ground of presence that the creative act begins for me, and for the actors I work with. This is most efficiently achieved through a disciplined, collective training for body, breath and voice. Then, following the demands of a specific production, we start elaborating on the exercises and structuring them towards improvisations that explore the world of the specific play. The greater challenge is the challenge for funding, for the material means necessary to be able to create an environment that facilitates this kind of approach. This greater challenge does not have any formulaic answers it is a continuous process of search and adaptation to existing circumstances. It is difficult to measure the rewards for me it is a deeply inward, almost spiritual activity, and the rewards are also most perceivable in an inner dimension on the outer level, I suppose one can say, that the off-shoots of working 30 years non-stop in theatre has been a developing and always-expanding awareness of the human condition, and the appreciation of other human beings. 3 What fascinates you about apartheid South Africa Any form of oppression of people by people is unforgivable. My grandfather suffered under British rule in India I have been an outsider most of my life as an Indian in Europe and North America racism and nationalism in all its diverse forms are issues that I have to deal with on a daily basis not just theoretically, but in actual living experience. Apartheid in South Africa is a particularly horrific instance of institutionalised racism that operated quite blatantly well into the latter half of the 20th century. What appalled me the most is that the world allowed it to continue for so long. 4 What informs your choice of the play, I mean Athol Fugards Blood Knot As an international theatre group in Berlin with actors from non-German backgrounds, the issues of immigration, integration, multiculturalism, and racism are issues we live with, and we decided to thematise it in our next production. I chose Athol Fugards The Blood Knot because (a) I believe him to be a humane and compassionate artist with a tremendous appreciation of the power and magic of the theatre and (b) because The Blood Knot gave us the possibility of working with a story which was very specific, and at the same time explored fundamental universal issues that affect all humanity issues of prejudice, privilege, guilt, and redemption. 5 Were you not bothered that the central issue in the play-the penpal idea-is no longer fashionable Ha-ha We did consider substituting the pen pal idea but those were short-lived considerations. The outdatedness of pen pals ceased to be a problem when we hit upon our directorial concept, which is explained in the answer to your next question. 6 In the play text, there are two characters Morris and Zachariah. In the stage performance, you introduced an additional character. What must have informed that We are a theatre company making shows in English exclusively for school-children of different grades. The target audience for The Blood Knot was the age group between 16 and 18-19 year-olds. We were very aware that Apartheid was not a burning, contemporary issue for these kids growing up in post-Wall-Berlin. We had to make it relevant, by connecting the world of the play with actual instances of racism here, today. Thus we came up with the idea of presenting Athol Fugards The Blood Knot as a play-within-a-play where three artists from Berlin who are themselves not German, come together to work on The Blood Knot. This meta level gave us the possibility of creating moments where the actual could intervene into the fiction, thereby clarifying and/or commenting upon it. 7 How easy or difficult was it for you to assemble the interracial cast Not too difficult. Berlin is a very culturally rich city with all races and religions mingling. We found a black South African actor to play Zach, a white Polish-Canadian actor to play Morris. 8. To what degree did you tamper with the original text in the performance For logistical reasons of duration (we perform for school classes who come to the theatre during school hours with their teachers), we had to edit a little bit, but we did not excise any element of the story. And we added personal testimonies of the three actors from time to time, we broke the fourth wall, and each performer talked directly to the audience about their own personal experiences with racism in the here-and-now, thereby injecting relevance and urgency to the story of the two brothers. 9. What has been the level of response to the performance so far We had a fairly satisfactory run of the show for an entire season, but are not currently playing it. 10. Have you toured with the cast Unfortunately not. CHAPTER FIVE THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN TEXT AND PERFORMANCE IN SELECTED SOCIO-CULTURAL AFRICAN PLAYS 5.1 INTRODUCTION In this chapter, three additional dramatic texts will be analysed. These are Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman, Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa and Francis Imbugas Betrayal in the City. A common thread that runs through these plays is that they explore the male/female power relations in the various societies in which each of the plays is set. The points of convergence and divergence between each of these plays and their stage performances will be critically evaluated. 5.2 Text 1 Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In The Chest of a Woman Analysis of The Playtext Whoever thought the flame of drama has been put out in the Ghanaian entertainment scene should have been at the National Theatre last weekend to witness In The Chest of a Woman, a play written and staged in honour of the Chief Justice of Ghana, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood. Present at the theatre was her Lordship, Mrs Georgina Wood and several other noble dignities including Ms. Joyce Aryee By Jacquiline Afua Bondzi Culled for allafrica.com.posted on 17 August, 2007. Our interest in the personality of Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood is borne out of the fact that, as clearly stated above, it was in her honour that the Ghanaian famous dramatist, Efo Mawugbe wrote and staged his popular play, In the Chest of a Woman. He was then the Deputy Executive Director (Artistic) of the National Theatre, Ghana. Mrs Georgina Wood was sworn in as the first female Chief Justice of Ghana in 2007, In The Chest of a Woman was staged in her honour a few weeks after her swearing in, and the play was published a year after, in Ghana. New Historicism analysis typically considers what was going on when a literary work was written. Many Ghanaians, both at home and in the diaspora, celebrated the emergence of Mrs Georgina Wood as the first female justice in Ghana, as it was emblematic of the relaxation of the patriarchal Ghanaian society. In other words, the appointment of a woman to such a coveted position was a commendable recognition of the fact that women are as important as men, and must not be dumped only to subaltern roles. Mrs Georgina Wood was born on 8 June 1947 in Ghana. After her secondary school education, she proceeded to the University of Ghana, Legon, where she was awarded the LL.B in 1970. She was called to the bar after attending the Ghana Law School. After working with the Ghana Police Service, she joined the Judicial Service as a District Magistrate in 1974. She rose through the ranks, to become the presiding judge of the Appeal Court in 1991.She was appointed to the Supreme Court by President John Kuffour on 12 November, 2002, an appointed she had earlier declined She was nominated for the position of Chief Justice of Ghana in May 2007. On 1 June 2007, the Parliament of Ghana approved her nomination as the new Chief Justice of Ghana by consensus. As at June 2007, this made her the first woman in the history of Ghana to head the Judiciary, and also made her at the time, the highest ranked female in Ghanas political history. Since taking office, she has sworn in three Ghanaian Presidents the late President John Evans Atta-Mills in January 2009, then Vice-President John Dramani Mahama, upon the death of the President on 24 July 2012, and President-elect John Dramani Mahama, winner of the December 2012 General Elections on 7 January 2013 . She has promised to retire in May 2017, having chalked the age of 70 (YEN.COM). The play is a celebration of the achievements of not only Mrs Georgina Wood, but all Ghanaian women and their right to all they may aspire to. The play witnessed a new surge in popularity when it was recommended for the Senior High School students in Ghana. The urgent currency of some of the cardinal issues addressed in the play to the Ghanaian society could have been largely responsible for the recommendation of the play. In the play, the playwright demonstrates a firm grasp of the Ghanaian culture, displayed in delightful proverbial language, village gossips, royalty, and humorous outpouring of his characters. He is a past master of stage craft. This is hardly surprising when his educational and professional backgrounds are put into consideration. He is a product of the School of Performing Arts, University of Legon, Ghana. He holds an MFA degree in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from the University of Legon, Ghana. He has worked in the public service for several years as a Director of Arts/Culture. When the play was published, and staged in honour of Mrs Georginia Wood, he was the Deputy Executive Director (Artistic) of the National Theatre, Ghana. Efo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman is a revolutionary play, a radical departure from plays which project male chauvinism by African dramatists such as Ola Rotimi, Wole Soyinka, and Joe De Graft. The playwright constructs a different image of womanhood. In the Chest of a Woman interrogates the status of women in Ghanaian society, with a particular reference to their right to family property which is denied them by custom. The play raises the succession and inheritance problem in the matrilineal system among the Asante people of Ghana. Agyeman Ossei in his Introduction to the play comments that Mawugbes familiarity with Asante culture is as a result of his being born in Kumasi, with a family home in Kentinkrono. He also observes Mawugbes accurate understanding of the politics and the power relations, inherent in the Asante Matrilineal inheritance sysyem vis–vis the position of men in society. Critics of various persuasions have commented on the theme of women empowerment which runs through the play, as amply demonstrated in Nana Yaa and Ama Ekyaa, two galvanized, feminist-conscious characters in the play. According to Damlegue Lare (2015) Mawugbe no doubt creates strong female characters who are rebellious and defiant against oppression and injustice. His Female characters are insightful women who reject the traditional idea of womanhood, and who climb the limelight of change to project themselves in the realm of emancipation. Commenting on the playwright, Damlegue Lare (2015) describes him as one of the few West African playwrights who escapes feminist indictment for negative portrayal of female characters. Owonibi (2009236) is of the opinion that Mawugbes crusade for gender reconstruction goes beyond the mere sentiment and makes for the door of qualitative reconstruction that will bring into full manifestation the entire potential of women. The play is a pointer to how African women are gaining leadership position, and are gaining relevance in every stratum of the society. The play is a celebration of African women and women across the globe in positions of leadership. The world has witnessed the power of some prominent women like Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth, Angela Merkel, and Ellen Johnson Sirlef, the President of Liberia, who is the worlds first elected black female Preesident, and Africas first elected female Head of State. In his paper, Female Masculinity, a Question of Identity Construction in Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman states that Nana Yaa is the paragon of female masculinity in the sense that she is setting up a new cultural dimension that should give chance to women for new identification as full humans despite her exaggerations at a point. Through Nana Yaas portrayal, the playwright suggests a new stratagem for women. The fight in favour of women by women should transcend mere complaints, and should be pro-active. Women must bring men to know realize the compelling need for them to acknowledge womens rights. The plot of the play is not convoluted. Queen Mother, realizing that she is about to die, summons her two children, Nana Yaa and Kwaku Duuah to bestow upon them her last blessing before joining her ancestors. The elder daughter of the Queen Mother, Nana Yaa is denied the succession to the throne to rule the Ebusa Kingdom because of her gender. She is put on the back burner in favour of her younger brother. Queen Mother, in obeisance of the patriarchal Akan society which the play is set does not mince words about this QUEEN MOTHER And you, my son, sit on my right. Take this sword. (The sword is placed in his hand) To you I give this whole Ebusa Kingdom and Everything within it. At the right time you shall( In The Chest of a Woman,18). Nana Yaa, an overly confident lady and an epitome of female masculinity responds spontaneously to protest vehemently with her being denied the opportunity to succeed her mother as the ruler of Ebusa Kingdom NANA YAA This is nonsense… It is most unacceptable to me, Mother, if this is what you call an honour, Then may I beg to be dishonoured immediately. (18). She is enraged by the turn of events and resolves to turn things around by hook or crook. Nana disguises her daughter, Owusu Agyeman, as a boy from birth. Her action is as a result of Queen Mothers decree while about to breath her last that after the reign of Kwaku Duah 11, any of her two children who first brings forth a male should have that son inheriting the throne. She strives to hide this secret by all means possible. Her game plan is that when her brother dies, her son would succeed the throne and rule the Ebusa Kingdom. Nana Yaas dishonest plot backfires. Kwaku Duah 11, King of Ebusa Kingdom sends a delegation to her elder sister, Nana Yaa Kyeretwie to prepare her son, Owusu Agyeman, to come and be trained in the art of kingship and succeed him after his demise. He and other inhabitants are oblivious of the fact that Owusu is actually a girl. Nana Yaas secret is maintained, and the son is sent to the royal palace for training. Kwaku Duah 11s strong wish is for his daughter, Ama Ekyaa to marry a prince so as to perpetuate the royal lineage by marrying a prince. His desperation for the realization of this strong wish beclouds his sense of judgement and morality. He encourages Ama Ekyaa to fall in love with the heir apparent, who, for obvious reasons, never reciprocrates her romantic overtures. The rumour of Ekyaas pregnancy spreads among the palace slaves and gossips, notably Adwoa and Akosua. This pregnancy out of wedlock is a taboo, which can leave the reputation of the king in tatters. The penalty for such a crime is that the daughter must be killed in order not to incur the wrath of the gods. The king summons the elders and the wise of the land over the knotty issue. Ekyaa is asked to publicly announce whoever is responsible for her pregnancy. Owusu Agyeman is charged with the responsibility of sitting on the sacred royal stool and pronouncing judgement and death sentence on the wayward princess. She brazenly lies that Owusu, the heir apparent is responsible for the pregnancy. Owusus real gender is eventually unveiled, and Owusu and Ekyaas lives are spared at the end of the play. Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman is a play that lends itself to Stephen Greenblatts subversion-containment dialectic. The play is, evidently, a subversive text. The plot of the play is strewn with subversive actions and characters. In the Chest of a Woman is a subversive text as it calls into question the ideology of male dominance and patriarchy which is practiced in Ebusa Kingdom, the setting of the play. Kwaku Duah 11, for instance, is a king of Ebusa Kingdom, while his sister, Nana Yaa is simply a married woman at Kyeremfaso. Her primary role is to produce a male child who will succeed the reigning king. The palace slaves, Adwoa and Akosua are also reduced to doing domestic chores. The subversion is, however, contained by the text. Nana Yaas plan for her son Owusu tosucceed Kwaku Duah 11 as the king of Ibusa Kingdom does not come into fruition, as her real gender is unveiled at the climactic stage of the play. The lead character of the play, Nana Yaa is subversive. She challenges the status quo. The law is extant in Ebusa kingdom that only men can become king. As a paragon of female masculinity, she stoutly rejects the stereotypical notion which the Ibusa men has over women, and reveals how the customs and history of the Ibusa kingdom which were written by men have been skewed in favour of men 1st ELDER Well, Princess, your mother insists that never in The history of Ibusa has a woman ruled where there is a man to do so. And you have to accept NANA YAA Tell her I say NO. I dont want to be honoured then. Tell her that. Where is it written That a woman cannot rule where there is a Man I want somebody to tell me. ELDER The history of the Kingdom says so. 1st ELDER Our customs say so. 2ND ELDER Yes, our customs indeed say so(21) The elders mentioning of the customs further enrages Nana Yaa, who further demonstrates her subversive proclivity by disparaging men, and even the elders who, according to the custom, deserves absolute veneration from her NANA YAA That the customs And history of this kingdom were written by men. (The men cheer) the most cowardly of the Human speciesand the most myopic and Glory-loving yet very lazy creatures Odomankoma ever moulded, perhaps by Mistake. ELDERS (Shouting angrily) Hey Watch your tongue Watch your words Yaa Serwaa, be very careful. NANA YAA Ill say it again and again and yet again. Men are the most bloodthirsty, destructive, Unthinking, childish(21). Her subversion here is contained by the first that she never contest the last edict made by her mother, Queen Mother, which is that her brother, Kwaku Duah must succeed Queen Mother. This comes to pass, as Kwaku Duah assumes the throne as the king of Ebusa Kingdom and Nana Yaas strong desire and determination to succeed her mother does not come to pass. The status quo is maintained. Her hiding of the true identity of her daughter, Owusu also exemplifies Nana Yaas subversion. This is a ploy for Owusu to succeed his uncle Kwaku Duah when he dies. Owusu is not favourably disposed towards the arrangement, but Nana Yaa cows him to submission. Nana Yaa informs Owusu of the catalogue of atrocities and dastardly acts she has committed in her desperation to for Owusu to take up the mantle of leadership upon Kwaku Duahs demise. Poisoning her husband to death for threatening to let the cat out of the bag, chopping of the midwifes tongue so that she will never be able to reveal her secret to the world, and the killing and enslaving of many servants for their suspicion about Owusus sex are some of the dastardly acts perpetrated by Nana Yaa. Remarkably, these desperate, inhuman acts represent part of the containment of her subversion in the text. She becomes a very unattractive character to the readers and the audience. The fact that her plan backfires at the end of the play is a further containment of her subversion. King Kwaku Duah 11s daughter, Ama Ekyaa is another subversive character in Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman. Her first subversive act in the play is her challenge on the traditional, conventional opinion that in African continent, the norm is for the man to woo the woman/lady, and not the other way round. She woos her cousin, Owusu, who, naturally finds her action reprehensible EKYAA Oh Owusu You mean you havent noticed the efforts I have been making day and night to get at your Heart (Owusu shakes his head) What Do you shake your head OWUSU Ekyaa,my cousin, I find it really difficult to understand That such words should come from a woman Oh, it is most shameful. EKYAA (Angrily) Nonsense What is shameful about it Tell me, what is reprehensible about that I dont see anything wrong with a woman Laying bare her emotions before the man she Loves (53). Owusus spurning of Ekyaas amorous advances is a containment of her subversive act in the text. Ekyaas subversion is also illuminated in her outrightly disrespectfully way of talkingto a father, the King of Ebusa kingdom when the latter probes her on her pregnancy. This is revealed in their dialogic relationship KING Is it true then that you are what the rumours say You are (Ekyaa tries to walk away) Dont go yet. One more question. Who is the man responsible Stop staring at me that way and answer the Question. EKYAA ( Boiling with rage) If you were not my father I would have spat into your face or hurled this stool at you. (73). The king to whom everybody in the kingdom of Ibusa owes respect and veneration is here denigrated by her own daughter who has lost any sense of respect for her father. Her withdrawal of the statement and the kings exposure of her to opprobrium during the great Durbar of Chiefs and Elders in the final leg of the play contain her subversion. Essentially, the characters of Nana Yaa and Ekyaa are portrayed by the playwright to showcase womens struggle for their liberation and rights. The hidden message in their depiction is a clarion call for wwomen to identify their objectivesor interests, and defend them by all means. King Kwaku Duah 11 also demonstrates subversion in the play by orchestrating a plan for is daughter, Ekyaa to marry her cousin, Owusu, all in his desperate bid to perpetuate the familys wealth and sustain aristocracy in the society. He severs Ekyaas relationship with her boyfriend, Amokoa by sending him far away. The palace gossips, Akosua and Adwoa shed more light on this in one of their gossiping encounters ADWOA I want to understand one thing. Why would daasebre want the two cousins to marry AKOSUA Very simple that way the stool and the wealth of the Kingdom remain in the family for good. ADWOA My goodness, I now understand. I now see what length men will go to sustain aristocracy in society. Eeei men, Hmm(44). The failure of the realization of his plan is a containment of his subversion. Remarkably, power struggles and power relations run through the play. In the dramatic text, Mawugbe demonstrates the depth of his knowledge on the power relations inherent in the Asante Matrilineal inheritance system. In terms of power relations, members of the royal family wield considerable power, and influence, and expect people to treat them with veneration. For instance, Nana Yaya is enraged when her Chief Messenger, Okyeama Bonsu to kneel down when addressing her. She, however, goes overboard by threatening to have him executed when next he forgets to do that. Adwoa, one of the palace slaves and gossips, also washes Owusus hands and dries it with a napkin whenever he eats. The citizens of Abusa kingdom, in accordance with the ruler-subject power relations, always put My Lord or Your Highness to their sentences when addressing King Kwaku Duah 11. Okyeama Bonsu does that when addressing Nana Yaa, whose presence always fills him with trepidation. In addition, the Elders of Ebusa kingdom, based on the power relations inherent in the kingdom, expects absolute respect from Nana Yaa, as constituted authority. Their amazement over Nana Yaas contemptuous treatment of them is borne out of her unabashedly upsetting of the power relations. Also, Ebusa kingdoms custom places a higher value on the boy-child than the girl-child, as expressed below, in the course of the altercation between Nana Yaa and the Elders NANA YAA I am the elder child. Customarily, it is 1 who Must succeed you and not my younger brother. 2ndELDER Dont forget he is a boy and you a girl. 1st ELDER Besides, he will soon grow into a man. (18). The above depicts the tyranny of patriarchy in the traditional African society. It undermines the woman, and relegates the girl-chirld to the background. The power relations in the play is also revealed in the peremptory tone and authoritative use of language by the characters in positions of authority. Nana Yaa, Kwaku Duah 11 Ekyaa, Owusu and other people speak peremptorily, and expect their commands to be obeyed with immediate effect and automatic alacrity. For instance, Ekyaa authoritatively calls Adwoa, and she repliesYes, my mistress. (45). King also speaks authoritatively Will you stop bandying words with your Mistress and run for the salt, before I get Nana Yaa is the past paster of this. Her language is couched in authority, and she brooks no opposition. She is highly courageous, and does not think like Richard Rorty (19941) who believes that we cannot escape the tradition to which we belong or step outside our skins. According to Foucaults discourse theory, power is everywhere it permeates every fabric of the human society. Muwagbes In the Chest of a Woman is a projection of the empowerment of women in the highly patriarchal Ebusa kingdom, and, by extension, the traditional African society. In the play, leadership in all spheres by his abrafos (soldiers), and a council of elders, who are all men. The fact that no single female is among the council of elders underscores the patriarchy. The playwright empowers female characters like Nana Yaa and Ekyaa in order to undermine the oppression of the men. Nana Yaa reveals her inner resolution and point of view on the notion of power as she soliloquizes towards the end of the First Leg of the play NANA YAA Ye spirits, above.May you let me live to see the successful end of the wheel of change Ive set in motion. A wheel of change that shall leave all men convinced that, in the chest of a woman is not only an extension of the breast and a feble heart but a flaming desire to Possess and use Power (35-36) Nana Yaas aforestated lines encapsulates the main thrust of the play. Embedded in the lines is the title of the play In the Chest of a Woman. It shows that the strong desire to hold and use power is not an exclusive male preserve, as the Ibusa kingdom projects it to be women have a strong desire to hold and use power. The role of the palace gossips in the play, Adwoa and Akosua, illustrates a productive use of power as espoused in Foucaults discourse theory. As palace slaves, ordinarily, they are supposed to be practically powerless. However, they contribute significantly towards the propelling of the plot of the play. Their informing of King Kwaku Duah 11 of their prompt observation of Ekyaas pregnancy thickens the conflict of the play to be resolved. The plot of Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman is strewn with various instances power struggles among the characters. Queen Mother, wittingly or unwittingly, kickstarts the power struggles in the First Leg of the play. On the verge of death, she summoned her two children, Nana Yaa and Kwaku Duah, a girl and a boy, and bequeathed the whole Ebusa Kingdom to the boy, giving only the left overs to the girl. To such an unfair sharing of inheritance, Nana Yaa reacts spontaneously This is nonsense(18). Queen Mother, with the overwhelming support of the council of elders, had her way, and Kwaku Duah is catapulted into power. Power struggle typifies the relationship between these two siblings. Having lost out, Nana Yaa orchestrates a plan to ensure that her son Owusu succeeds Kwaku Duah. She confesses to Owusu that the duel she engages in the royal palace is not targeted at Ofori, but her brother, King. The duel would have given her the opportunity to eliminate him, and assume the throne OWUSU Thank you, mother. Why did you engage that man in the duel NANA YAA Hmmas a matter of fact, It wasnt the man I wanted. It was a careful trap meant to lure the one With whom I once shared the same womb. OWUSU WhoMy uncle NANA YAA Yes OWUSU (Shocked) Your own brother NANA YAA I thought he would rise up to defend the honour of manhood so that I could kill him and succeed our mother. but his stars were awake. The duel in the royal palace between Ofori and Nana Yaa represents the power struggle between men and women of Ibusa town, which the playwright attempts to project. In this power struggle, Nana Yaa is overly confident, and determined. She overwhelms Ofori. The council of elders are stunned by the turn of events. It takes the prompt intervention of Queen Mother to check Nana Yaa from committing murder NANA YAA I have got you now. (She lifts the knife and is about to bury it in his chest). I am going to QUEEN MOTHER No, stop it My daughter, stop where you are Go no further. Spare an old woman the sight of blood at her Last hour. Paint me not a red picture of my last few Moments on earth. NANA YAA Oh, Mother. (Panting heavily and feigning exasperation) Why do you take the meat out of my mouth Just when I am about to set my teeth into it You should allow me to kill him and remove his tongue for a trophy. To teach these living spectators that courage is not the monopoly of men (24). As far as Nana Yaa is concerned, her dogged fight is on behalf of her gender against the opposite gender. Through her character and Ekyaas, Mawugbe queries the society for being male-centered and male-oriented by ostracising women from the circle of power management. Several incidents in the play illustrate Clifford Geertzs thick description. In the opening scene of the play, the Ebusa kingdoms custom of offering water to visitors as first thing is thickly described, so that it becomes meaningful to outsiders (6). Another instance of thick description in In the Chest of a Woman is when Nana Yaa strongly warns her son, Owusu never to sit on the judgement stool in Kwaku Duah 11s palace at Nkwanta. She does not merely issues the warning, but thickly describes the custom NANA YAA Now my son, listen carefully to what I am going to tell you. Over there in your uncles palace at nkwanta is a judgement stool on which Daasebre sits to adjudicate serious matters affecting the Ebusa Kingdom. Dont EVER sit on that stool, unless youve been enstooled and sworn as King. No woman, it is said, shall ever sit on that stool unless shes been sworn a queen. If you disobey this order your own blood shall be used in cleansing the stool(34) The fact that a reference is made to the custom at the climactic stage of the play shows Nanaa Yaa is not sounding an alarmist here she is, as a matter of fact, schooled in Ebusa kingdoms customs and traditions. The palace slaves and gossips, Adwoa and Akosua do far more than lightening the atmosphere of the play. They thickly describe the motive behind King Kwaku Aduahs actions such as sending for Owusu to commence his training on the art of kingship, and sending his daughter, Ekyaas boyfriend, away from the town. Analysis of Playtext Against Stage Performance Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman was staged by students of the Department of Performing Arts, University of Ilorin in 2015. It was Special Project for the students for the 2014/2015 academic session. The artistic director of the stage performance was Dr Adekoya Adeniyi, while the technical director was Dr Ademola Olumide. There are a number of similarities between the playtext and the stage performance. Firstly, the theatre director maintains the storyline of the play. Both the play and the stage performance narrate the same story. Also, the names of the characters in the text are maintained in the performance. The actors on stage bear the same names given in the text. The costumes and make-up used on the actors in the performance approximate their roles in the text. For instance, the council of elders look elderly indeed, with the white hair on the head. Abrewanana, an octogenarian, according to the text, looks remarkably old in the performance her hair completely white, she stoops, and holds a stick to aid her locomotion. Ama Ekyaa and Owus Agyeman dress like a princess and a prince they are, and King Kwaku Duah 11 really look kingly. Furthermore, the major incidents in the text are enacted on stage. These include Owusus playing of the game of Oware with Nana Yaa the palace scene in which Queen Mother bequeaths her estate between her two children, and the resultant altercation between Nana Yaa and the elders the fight between Nana Yaa and Ofori the gossip scenes between the palace slaves and the gossips, Akosua and Adwoa the evening meal in the palace eaten by Kwaku Duah 11, Ama Ekyaa and Owusu Agyema the romantic encounter between Owusu and Ekyaa and the great Durbar of Chiefs and Elders at Nkwanta. As much as possible, the actors try to capture the mood of these incidents and give the central messages. However, the points of divergence between the text and performance outweigh the points of convergence. Some of these points of divergence will be highlighted. The text makes no description of the palace, and costumes of the cast. The Ghanaian setting of the play is depicted in the stage performance by the palace, costumes of the actors, props, drumming and songs. The palace has a multi-coloured background. The colourful background is fascinating. The excellence of the casting is partly accomplished by the costumes. All the characters wear costumes and make-ups which perfectly depict their roles. The council of elders always appear in special clothes, beads on the necks and wrists. Ekyaa and Owusu dress like prince and princess, which are the roles they play in the text. King Kwaku Duah dresses like a Ghanaian king, while Nana Yaas costume and reflect royalty. Nana Yaa looks pretty in her densinkran outfit. Okyeama Boateng, as chief messenger, holds a long, special, royal staff all through the stage production. A number of Ghanaian songs, which are not mentioned in the text, are sung in the course of the production. The following song repeatedly comes off-stage in the production In the chest of Chorus A woman In the chest of Chorus A woman There is a lot of power Chorus In her chest in her chest There is a lot of power Chorus In her chest in her chest. The song is repeated, as it captures the thematic thrust of the play. The audience is adequately exposed to Ghanaian culture through the stage production. The first major point of divergence between the play text and stage performance is that performance is commenced with with the coming on stage of eight pretty ladies, who are adorned in Ghanaian costume of skimpy, red blouse, and mini skirt. They tie bandana on their heads. They perform a song, with excellent choreography. Their performance reassures the audience that they are to watch a memorable stage performance. In the middle of their enthralling performance, a narrator enters the stage, also in Ghanaian costume. He wears a white agbada, decorated in yellow stripe, and also a yellow cap. He is in an expansive mood, and alive to his role as Narrator, all through the performance.The bevy of ladies acknowledge his presence by kneeling before him, and greeting. The ladies sit while he stands. They listen to him with rapt attention. When Narrator mentions In the chest of a woman, the ladies chorus In the chest of a woman What is in the chest of a woman NARRATOR Many years ago In the year of plenty. LADIES In the year of plenty NARRATOR Yes, in the year of plenty. The Narrator gives a brief background information on the play. He then breaks the fourth wall in stage performance by facing the audience, and addressing them Sit back, relax And see things for yourself. The director of the stage performance discernibly ruptures the sequence of incidents in the text. The opening scene of the text is the playing of the game of Oware between Owusu and Nana Yaa in the inner court of Nana Yaas palace at Kyeremfaso. In contrast, the performance opens with the scene in the palace of Queen Mother dying and bequeathing the stool of the kingdom to Kwaku Duah and the resulting duel between Nana Yaa and Ofori. This rupture of the sequence of incidents is most probably informed by the directors desire to grip the attention of the audience as early as possible in the performance by plunging straight to the thick of the action. Okomfo, the priest of the shrine looks really scary in the performance, thanks to the marvelous job the make-up artist does on him. According to the text, The dying Queen Mother is lying on a mat with her body propped up by pillows (16). However, in the stage performance, the dying Queen Mother sits on the chair, flanked by two palace servants who prop her. While the text is silent on this, Kwaku Duah is visibly excited when Queen Mother announces her bequeathing of the whole Ebusa Kingdom on him. Nana Yaas fury over the turn of events is animated in the performance. She shows her exasperation by prancing about the stage in the course of delivering her lines. The elders ask her Princess, what do you want The duel between Ofori and Nana Yaa particularly excites the audience, who sit on edge to know the outcome. Nana Yaas confidence on stage in her encounter with the council of elders in the palace is infectious. Unlike in the text, the scene in the performance is followed by the coming on stage of the Narrator again. He addresses the audience, telling them part of Nana Yaas narration to Owusu in the courtyard of Kyeremfaso. The Narrator emphasizes on Nana Yaas claim on having stayed three days without food. The audience spontaneously states Three days without food The rupturing of the sequence of incidents in the text continues in the performance as the Narrators exit on stage is followed by Queen Mothers death on stage, and her corpse being carried inside, amidst wailings. Kwaku Duah weeps inconsolably.The background song is enacted In the chest of Chorus A woman In the chest of Chorus A woman There is a lot of power In her chest, in her chest There is a lot of power In her chest in her chest. There is a drastic reduction in the lines of the characters in the text in the performance. This reduction and editing of the lines in the text is evident all through the performance. The next scene to be enacted on stage is the opening scene of the text, where Owusu and Nana Yaa are engrossed in a game of Oware (1). They play for a reasonable spell of time in the text. In contrast, the playing of the game is short-lived in the performance. While Nana Yaa merely sternly warns her chief messenger, Okyeame Bonsu in the text, she slaps him in the performance. When Nana Yaa says in the text To every mountain, Okyeama Boateng, Chief Messenger of Kwaku Duah 11 replies There is a valley. (7). In the performance, a chorus in the background says There is a valley, and not Okyeama Boateng. Nana Yaas great worry over Okyeame Boatengs message from King Kwaku Duah 11 is animated in the performance. She rolls on the floor, and remains pensive, as she delivers her lines somberly. The power relations between Nana Yaa and Owusu is revealed in the fact that while Owusu sits on an ordinary chair, Nana Yaa is ensconsed in a royal stool. Unlike in the text, Nana Yaa slaps her Chief Messenger, Okyeame Bonsu once again in the performance when Okyeama Boateng and her join Nana and Owusu on stage. Her utter contempt of him is evident in the performance. Nana Yaas concluding lines in the scene is In the chest of a woman Is not only an extension of the breast and a Feeble heart But a flaming desire to possess and use power (36). The text gives no blockings on this. In the performance, Nana Yaa clutches at her breasts while delivering the above lines. Like in the text, the aforementioned scene is followed by the scene involving the palace slaves and the gossips, Adwoa and Akosua in the performance. However, while the text describes them as elderly women in the palace (37), their roles are played by youthful, vibrant actresses in the performance. A background song Akproko Gossip Akproko Gossip Akproko Gossip ushers them on stage. Unlike in the text, they carry small baskets in the performance, giving the impression of coming from the market. They tie wrappers, and wear scarfs. A woman passes by in the middle of their gossip, and exchange greetings with them. The scenes involving these palace gossips thrill the audience a lot, as they punctuate their dialogus with laughter. The scene involving Adwoa and Akosua described above is followed by an intermission in the stage performance during which two pretty ladies come on stage to entertain the audience with a well-choreographed dance. They wear skimpy blouses and miniskirts, and beads on their necks, wrists and legs. In the next scene which takes place in the palace of Kwaku Duah 11, there are discernible differences between the text and the performance. Kwaku Duah 11 wears special clothes, beads on his neck and hands, and a royal cap. In the performance, in the encounter between King and his daughter, Ekyaa, King sings and dances with daughter about the topic of love. The chorus joins them in the rendition of the song. The romantic song apparently accomplished its intended purpose of reassuring Ekyaa on the need to continue to woo Owusu until he succumbs. The point of divergence between the text and the performance of In the Chest of a Woman continues in the next scene which involves the romantic encounter between Owusu and Ekyaa. Ekyaa does not sing in the text. However, she breaks into a romantic song in the performance Love I will give you my love My love You will take care of me He will never let me down I will give you my love. Ekyaa matches her romantic song with romantic movements on stage. She seizes Owusus cap, and wears it. The bareness of the stage in this scene gives Ekyaa and Owusu a sufficient room to maximize their stage movements. As in the text, the next scene in the performance is the scene involving Town Crier, Adwoa, and Akosua at the Palace of Kwaku Duah 11. The performance enables the audience to know the dawuru mentioned in the text, being carried by Town Crier. It is a very big gong. In the performance, Town Crier emerges from the audience, beating the dawuru, and making the announcement mentioned in the text. However, he never mounts the stage he stays at the lower dais of the stage. Since his message addressed to male and female citizens of Abusa, the performance introduces verisimilitude by the clustering of many people around Town Crier, as he makes the announcement. When Akosua and Adwoa head hurriedly in the direction of Town Crier, song filters from the background Aproko Aproko What your eyes see oh You must say. Aproko Aproko In the next scene, Akosua and Adwoa seated in the Palace of Kwaku Duah 11. They stand at the front part of the stage in the performance. The Aproko background song continues. When Ekyaa and King are left on stage, Ekyaas absolute fury is fully realised in the performance. Ekyaa makes a statement in the text EKYAA If you were not my father I would have spat into your face or hurled this Stool at you. (73) She matches the above statement with action in the performance by carrying a stool, and attempting to hurl it at King, who promptly disarms her, and takes charge of the situation. Differences abound between the text and the performance in the final scene of Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman. The scene involves the great Durbar of Chiefs and Elders at Nkwanta, seat of the Ebusa Kingdom. In the performance, there are two rows of chiefs on stage, flanked by a bevy of ladies at the back of each row. While the text is silent on the gender of the two bards, in the performance, 1st Bard is female, while 2nd Bard is male. The two bards emerge from the audience, and deliver their lines from the lower dais. Nana Yaa, with three ladies, also emerges from the audience, and mount the stage. Her being accompanied on stage gives Nana Yaa the aura of royalty, which she evinces all through the stage performance. The regal splendor with which the text characterizes King Kwaku Duah 11s arrival on stage is foregrounded in the performance. Four stool carriers convey him on stage, while a big umbrella shields him. The Kete dancing of a group of ladies fascinates the audience. The choreographers characteristically wear Ghanaian costumes, wrappers and beads. Unlike in the text, two guards stay on the lower dais, apparently to protect the people on stage in the course of the proceedings. They have swords in the scabbards, and wear dead-pan facial expression. When Okyeame Boateng delivers his lines That since two heads have always proved to be better than one(79), he randomly touches the heads of two people from the crowd. This is not stated in the text. Again, unlike in the text, Ama Ekyaa is dragged on stage in the performance. Nana Oppongs advanced age is captured in the performance with the costume, make-up, his gait, and stage movement. In the performace, there is an intermission in-between this climactic scene. Two women come on stage to perform Kete dancing, much to the admiration of the actors on stage, and the audience. The dancing defuses the tension which has thickened on stage. When Owusu is mandated to rest his buttocks on the judgement stool, in accordance with the Ebusa kingdom custom and tradition, he exchanges knowing glances with Nana Yaa in the text, and gives his consent to sit on the judgement stool. In contrast, in the performance, Owusu is visibly disturbed. He becomes fidgety on stage, and moves to Nana Yaa, saying Mother, save me A girl resumes Owusus role when the guards return on stage with Owusu. The girl completes Owusus role in the performance. The stage performance ends with a choreographic dancing of four ladies. The moment they exit, the actors come on stage to take the curtain call.The actors all sing the thematic song of the stage performance. All in all, the stage performance of Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman is quite impressive. The director and the crew members successfully mentally transports the audience from Nigeria, where the play is staged, to Ghana, the setting of the play. The costumes, props, stage design, music and choreography contribute immeasurably towards the vivid portrayal of Ghanaian culture, specifically the pre-colonial Ghanaian society embodied in the play. The royal setting of the play is convincingly captured in the performance. The casting is commendable. The actors play their roles excellently well, and demonstrate vast experience on stage. The audience particularly enjoy the gossip scenes, and the scenes involving Okyeame Boateng. They carry the audience along in all their stage appearances. Lighting is also put into good effect in the stage performance. The stage is bright in most of the scenes, since the incidents in scenes are enacted in daytime, and not at night. The lighting also accomplishes selective visibility. The audience sees only what the director wants them to see at any given point in time. The overall feeling or mood of different scenes is also captured through the lighting. 5.3 Text 11 Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa Analysis of Play Text The forward to Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa, written by the playwright provides a useful background information on the play There is in Ghana a story-telling art called Anansesem by Akan-speaking people. The name, which literally means Ananse stories, is used both for the body of stories told and for the story-telling performance itself. Although this story-telling is usually a domestic activity, there are in existence some specialist groups who have given it a full theatrical expression with established conventions. It is this system of traditional theatre which I have developed and classified as Anansegoro. A consideration of some of the conventions of Anansesem will reveal the bases of The Marriage of Anansewa. Who is Ananse, and why should so many stories be told about him Ananse appears to represent a kind of Everyman, artistically exaggerated and distorted to serve society as a medium for self-examination. He has a penetrating awareness of the nature and psychology of human beings and animals. He is also made to mirror in his behavior fundamental human passions, ambitions and follies as revealed in contemporary situations. (The Marriage of Anansewa, 3). As stated above, Ananses character is crafted to serve society as a medium of self-examination. The need for that was compelling at the era Efua Sutherland wrote the play. The play was first published in 1975, eighteen years after Ghana attained her independence from the British colonial masters. During this period, Ghana wrestled with post-independent disillusionments such as social contradictions, moral depravity, corruption, political upheavals, poverty, and several others. This myriad of problems are also exposed in the novel, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by a fellow Ghanaian writer, Ayi Kwei Armah. The dominant theme of The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born is hopelessness.This is emphasised by an image pattern organized around filth, corruption, decay, and defeacation. It was the period in which the first Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown by the military, allegedly due to the grand-scale corruption which marred his regime. The military take-over took place in February 1966 when Nkrumah left Ghana to visit Hanoi in North Vietnam. He was at a stop-over in Beijing on February 23rd when military officers took over his government. On the positive side, it was during his regime that major development projects took place in Ghana . The Marriage of Anansewa has been a commercial success in text, and has been widely performed on stage. Several years ago, it was among the literary texts recommended by the West African Examination Council for Literature in English in the West African School Certificate Examination. The positive response the play has enjoyed since publication can be attributed to the subtle ways in which it addresses a number of problems which has plagued Ghana, and the African continent in general. The likes of avaricious Ananse, who are soaked up in the culture of consumerism abound. Such people, especially those in leadership positions have put a cog in the wheel of progress in many African countries. The Marriage of Anansewa is a well-crafted drama with hints of folk-tale, strewn with hilarious scenes and incidents. The play essentially explores traditions and their loopholes. It projects the whole politics of the bride price. The plot of the play revolves around the character of Ananse, an old rogue who wants to make as much money as possible by marrying off his daughter, Anansewa. He promises her to four well-to-do chiefs at the same time Chief of the Mines Togbe Klu IV The Chief of Sapa, and Chief-Who-Is-Chief. He asks Anansewa to take photographs which he proudly shows the suitors ANANSE Certainly, I covered miles. I travelled the country, by bus, by train, by ferry-boat. I lobbied for introductions into palace after palace. I listened with ears alert. I observed with keen eyes. I assessed everything before I selected the four chiefs to whom I could show your photographs with advantage . (19). The above lines demonstrate how scheming, calculating, and crafty Ananse is. Soaked up in the culture of consumerism, Ananses action is deliberate. Anansewa draws a reasonable conclusion from his fathers act, and breaks into a song spontaneously, to describe her fathers roguish, selfish act My father is selling me, Alas, Alas Whoever thought he would Alas, Alas But let me tell you bluntly, Ill never comply. I will not let you sell me Like some parcel to a customer. Not ever Not ever Not ever Not ever (19-20) Armed with his good knowledge of the traditions, Ananse exploits the loopholes inherent in the tradition on bride price. Until a suitors bride price is accepted, and the head-drink ceremony is conducted, he cannot be given the privilege of a husband. Hence, whatever a suitor gives to the bride-to-be or her parentsis considered a gift it is unaccounted for. Knowing fully well that his 20-year-old daughter, Anansewa can be married to only one man despite his enticing four different suitors, he builds a net of competition for prospective suitors to pay their way with gifts. Ananse informs Anansewa on one of such gifts ANANSE Stop just there. You are holding in your hand almost all of the full amount of that thing. That thing is the first solid proof that Chief-Who-Is-Chief is not just showing interest with his mouth. He is willing and eager to oil the wheels of custom and therefore he has sent something for the maintenance of the object of his interest. (22). Anansewa has been out of school for her lack of fees. She acknowledges that the burden of her need is on her father ANANSE Ten cedis, ten cedis, one hundred clean cedis altogether, one hundred and twenty cedis. Take that to the miserly principal of E.P.s Secretarial School. ANANSEWA My fees ANANSE Correct. You can return to school. ANANSEWA (She drops toher knees, embraces her father and nestles her head on his chest.) Oh, father. (18). Ananse identifies and capitalizes on her need for education to manipulate her. Ananse enlists the support of his girlfriend, Christie disentangle the web of deceit he has spun CHRISTIE (Lovingly) Georgie. Speak. ANANSE From this evening through all day tomorrow until sunset the next day, we have something to do here which, to tell the truth, I couldnt call easy without lying. CHRISTIE Command me ANANSE (Taking her hand). Very well, lets go and wake up Anansewa. (66). With Chrities active support, Ananse fakes his daughters death to deceive the suitors. She eventually resurrects and is married off to Chief-Who-Is-Chief, whose motive for intending to marry Anansewa he finds most appealing. A number of events in Sutherlandsreadily lends themselves to Clifford Geetzs thick description, as they are thickly described. The overriding example of this in the play is the head-drink ceremony, which is an integral aspect of Ghanaian culture and tradition. The playwright introduces the characters of the young couple, Akwasi and Akosua to foreground the significance of the head-drink ceremony to the Ghanaian culture, and also the storyline of the play. Since Akwasi is yet to perform the head-drink ceremony, Akosua is at liberty to discontinue the relationship, at no notice. Akosua, despite her belligerence, reassures Akosua that she will totally submit to him once he performs the head drink ceremony AKOSUA Any time youre ready, bring my head-drink home to my parents. And after that, I will stop when you call. Ill take care of your house. Ill sweep, Ill scrub, Ill wash your clothes, and Ill quarrel sweetly with you to your extreme delight. Bye. (27). Storyteller sheds more light on this by attempting to educate Akwasi, and situating the couples scene with the main plot of the play STORYTELLER I say, young man Gentleman (AKWASI stops) If you know that this girl is in the wrong, why dont you take her to court (AKWASI is hesitant). Sir, have you, by any chance, performed her head-drink ceremony AKWASI Look, dad, whoever you are, dont make me wild. (He stalks out, driven away by jeering laughter from the PLAYERS.) STORYTELLER There you are. As I was saying, it is possible for ananse to profit from the gifts his daughters suitors bring, and not be bound by any obligation at all (27). The thick description of the head-drink ceremony makes it meaningful to outsiders. Another major instance of thick description in the play is the explanations given on the reasons the various suitors intend to marry Anansewa. In order to get himself out of the quagmire, Ananse persuades Anansewa to pretend to die, and announces her tragic death to the chiefs. They respond by sending messengers who explain how each of the four chiefs would have cared for Anansewa. The Chief of the Mines declares that she could have brought up his children. The Chief of Sapa had hoped she would replace his bitchy, ugly wife. According to Togbe Klus messengers, the chief would have been glad to exploit Anansewas secretarial skills in his business, and having recently embraced Christianity, would not follow the old custom of sending a funeral gift. The Chief-Who-Is-Chiefs messengers express his devastation sincehe regarded himself as having already married to Anansewa. He promised to bear the whole cost of the funeral. Touched by his kindness and generosity, Ananse brings his daughter back to life, as she prepares to marry Chief-Who-Is-Chief. According to New Historicism theory, even the most powerful discourse is not permanent. Power moves through all social levels, by way of marriage, commerce, and intellectual exchange. Marriage propels the plot of Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa. As the title of the play suggests, the play centres on her impending marriage. Ordinarily, she cannot marry more than one man at a time. However, her unscrupulous father, Ananse, capitalizes on her beauty, and her desperation to pay her school fees, to collect gifts from from different suitors who, coincidentally, fix the dates of the head-drink ceremony at the same time. Through his action, Ananse launches the four chiefs into a power struggle. In the struggle to tie the nuptial knot with Anansewa, Chief-Who-Is-Chief is triumphant. It is instructive to note that Ananses action is not triggered by his straightened circumstances. Giving her daughter to one of the chiefs is enough to relieve him considerably of his financial burdens. He is simply a crooked and crafty man, devoid of moral scruples. The Marriage of Anansewa approximates the power-relations between an African father and his daughter in the African cultural milieu. Anansewa becomes disconsolate when she sees through her fathers dangerous scheme ANANSEWA (Picking up copies of the letters she has arranged beside the typewriter) Chief of Sapaase Chiefof Akate and this other chiefs whose name is whispered in the ear. Four Chiefs. But dont you see theres only one of me (She is almost in tears.) Whats this youve done to me (23) In African culture, obedience to parents by children is sacrosanct. Chiildren must respect their parents, almost to the point of veneration. Anansewa is steadfast in her respect for her father, despite her disappointment. She resigns to her fate, hoping that Ananse will rise to the occasion when it matters most ANANSEWA (Smiling with sympathy) All right, father. I suppose Ill leave it all in your hands and trust you. ANANSE Many thanks. (23) When Ananse unveils his plan to Anansewa that she must pretend to die, she initially is very relunctant to cooperate with her father. However, due to the power relations between them, and her strong desire to find a lasting solution to the knotty problem her father is entrapped in, she gives her father an unflinching support ANANSEWA Why didnt you say that straightaway Tell me quickly what it is that I must do. Say it, and stop my heart from breaking. Im ready. (She has moved until she is right behind the web screen by now.) ANANSE Are you wholeheartedly, or only halfheartedly Ready ANANSEWA From head to toe, Im ready. ANANSE (Grasping her hands happily). Ah, how greatly relieved I Am. Im worn out. (59). Here, Anansewa does not demonstrate any form of inconsistency of characterization. She conforms with the ideology of the sharing of problems in African communities. Since she is in a vantage position to solve her fathers self-inflicted problem, she gives her overwhelming support. Power in the play is illustrated as not merely physical force, but a pervasive human dynamic, determining our relationships to others. In the afore-stated scenario, Anansewa and Christie are powerful enough to liberate Ananse from his quagmire. It demonstrates that power is not exclusively class-related it extends throughout the society. Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa demonstrates traces of Stephen Greenblatts subversion-containment dialectics. Ananse is decidedly a subversive character. Through Ananses exploitative act of collecting gifts from four different suitors and promising each of them to give his daughters hands in marriage to him, the play generates subversive insights. Ananse explores the loopholes of the tradition of head-drink ceremony in the Ghanaian society. Remarkably, the text contains and undermines its potential for subversion by submitting to and reinforcing the dominant thinking of the day. Ananse is reduced to an emotional wreck, as he suffers a great deal of psychological torture in his struggle to clear the mess he has created for himself by his subversive act. An instance of this is given in one of his dialogic relationships with his dependable lover, Christie CHRISTIE (Rushing) George, whats wrong with you ANANSE Christie, my head aches. CHRISTIE (To PROPERTY MAN) BrIng aspirin or anything to stop a headache. Man, hurry. ANANSE All of a sudden, an earthquake has erupted in my Head (52) Analysis of Playtext Against Stage Performance Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa was the 2015 Convocation Play of the University of Ibadan. It was staged on 14 November, 2015 at the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan. The play was directed by Dr Soji Cole, a lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan. The stage design has a spider drawn in the backstage. This depicts the fact that The Marriage of Anansewa is based on the Ghanaian tradition of Anansesem (Ananse stories), a body of tales on trickster figure, Ananse. There are several similarities between the playtext and the stage performance. Some of these will be highlighted. Firstly, the sequence of the incidents in the text is religiously followed in the stage performance. There is no rupturing of the sequence of incidents, unlike some of the plays earlier examined. Also, the actors in the stage performance deliver most of the lines in the text.. The editing of lines is not pronounced in the stage performance. As in the text, the players perform the bulk of the songs. Another point of convergence between the play-text and the stage performance is that the blockings given by the playwright in the text are, to a large extent, followed in the performance. An instance is when Ananse takes off the raincoat and hands it over to PROPERTY MAN. (10). He does exactly that in the performance. In addition, majority of the incidents in the text are enacted on stage. The seamless flow of the incidents enhance the comprehension of the performance by the audience. Also, the props and most of the items mentioned in the text are employed in the performance. However, there are numerous points of divergence between the play and the stage performance. Firstly, the players singing and dancing become animated in the stage performance. Like all the members of the cast, they wear Ghanaian costume. The text is silent on their population. In the performance, the players are roughly forty. Their skimpy clothes accentuate their beauty. Beads adorn their necks, wrists and legs. The text is also silent on their gender. They are predominantly ladies, with a few young men who do the drumming. They display dexterity in their singing, dancing, and drumming. They are partitioned into two rows. They sit in the chairs in the two rows. Their dynamism is infectious. Periodically, all or few of them come on stage to sing and dance. In the opening scene of the performance, Anansewa sits, as she needs to type letters, while Ananse delivers his lines standing, moving around the stage. Anansewa also stands occasionally to deliver her lines, and engage in stage movements. The father-daughter power relation between Ananse and Anansewa is foregrounded in the performance. A few of Ananses lines in this opening scene are edited out in the performance, especially in the long lines. In the performance, Anansewa is visibly shocked when Ananse delivers his lines O Mighty-Tree-Of-Ancient-Origin Mighty-Tree-Of-Ancient-Origin(14). Ananse gesticulates a lot in the delivery of his lines. He matches his lines with actions. He accompanies the lines When driver ants (15) with the stamping of his feet on the ground. In the text, Ananse states Thats the story (18). In contrast, it is the crowd who makes the statement in the performance. Anansewa accompanies her recall of the fuss her father made to have her photograph taken with the standing on the chair, and posing, in the stage performance. Again, the text simply states that Anansewa sings, with the accompaniment of the PLAYERS My father is selling me, Alas, alas Whoever thought he would Alas, alas (19) In the stage performance, she rolls on the floor, weeping while giving a rendition of the song. Her performance touches appropriate chord in the audience. Besides, the players are more involved in the rendition of the song in the performance than in the text.Occasionally, the actors do modify the lines in the text in the performance. However, the message is conveyed. This is exemplified in Ananses statement when in two months time you could have your certificate in your hand (21). In the performance, Ananse replaces that withyou could get your certificate. In the text, Anansewas lines Am I the object Oh, I wish, I wish(21) is devoid of any blockings or stage directions. In the performance, Anansewa animates this by clutching at the letter like a prized object, employing a romantic tone, fluttering her eyelids coquettishly, and genuinely longing for Chief-Who-Is-Chief. The fact that she is set to marry Chief-Who-Is-Chief, whom she has a natural, unalloyed love for advances the argument that The Marriage of Anansewa is a comedy it ends on a happy note. In the same scene, another difference between the text and the performance is when Ananse says My eyes are my oracle. (21). In the performance, the statement becomes very forceful, as it is said, not by Ananse, but by the players. Anansewa repeats the statement I wish, I wish (22) not long after in the text. In the performance, she states Oh I wish Oh I wish Visibly elated, she embraces Ananse for a reasonable spell of time. In summary, the swinging of her mood in the text is illuminated in the performance. In the text, after the encounter between Ananse and Anansewa, Storyteller rises among the PLAYERS, and speaks to them. This is not enacted in the stage performance. The next scene in the performance is the encounter between Storytellers and the young couple, Akwasi and Akosua. A sharp contrast between the text and the performance is that while the text has only one Storyteller, there are two Storytellers in the performance. All through the performance, the two Storytellers share the lines of the single Storyteller in the text. They complement each other.The couples lines in the text are accompanied with actions in the performance. The significance of the head-drink ceremony in Ghanaian marriage is foregrounded in the encounter between Akwasi and Akosua. The audience found the scene particularly hilarious. Unlike the man in the text, the role of Postman is played by a lady in the performance. Her sense of humour is great. She amuses the audience in all her stage appearances. In the first encounter between Ananse and Postman, Ananse demonstrates his pleasure with the contents of the letter by collecting it with a flourish. Unlike in the text, the scene is ended with a Ghanaian song in the background. The song filters onto the stage periodically, in the course of the performance. The text describes the setting of Act Two of the play thus PROPERTY MAN sets a chair and a side table when the dance ends. ANANSE, dressed in a brand-new cloth, enters in good spirits and sits (31) In the performance, Ananse looks discernibly youthful, dressed in a T-shirt, a pair of jeans, a face cap, and a pair of trainers. An old, analogue telephone is placed on the side table. The church scene, when Ananse goes to church to express his appreciation to God over his recently acquired money is graphically portrayed in the stage performance. The church members sing the song Count your blessings Name them one by one It will surprise you what the Lord has done Count your blessings Count your blessings See what God has done. The song, which is not stated in the text, is sang thrice in the performance, amidst gyration from the pastor who holds a big cross, a bell, and wears a white garment with purple surplice and an over-sized pair of shoes. He shakes his body rhythmically to the song. An offering basket is placed close to him. Players come on stage in batches, drop their offerings, and sing and dance, as the comical pastor rings the church bell ecstatically. Ananse, apparently in an expansive mood, looking spruced, also comes on stage, drops his offering, and joins the pastor in the gyration. The audience laugh uproariously in this hilarious scene. In the text, Ananse addresses the workmen collectively. However, in the performance, they are individually addressed. In the text, prior to the arrival of Chief-Who-Is-Chiefs Messenger, Ananses request for an electric fan is obliged by Property Man who brings a large toy electric fan for him. In contrast, in the performance, a girl performs the function of an electic fan. She rotates her head to symbolize the movement of electric fan. This draws spontaneous laughter from the audience. Ananse introduces a new line to the text in the performance when Postman arrives. He says You again In the text, Chief-Who-Is-Chiefs Messenger is a man. In contrast, a sexy-looking lady plays the role in the performance. She wears a sleeveless blouse, and mini-skirt. She crosses her legs while sitting down, and is highly composed in her dialogue with Ananse. In Act Three of the text, Ananses mother, Ayas character is introduced She is very well dressed in grandmotherly style, looking as though she has stepped out of an old photograph (44). The grandmotherly style is animated in the performance. She wears an armless blouse, a wrapper, a head gear, and beads on her neck, wrists and legs. She holds a walking stick, and stoops while walking-an index of her senescence. Her hair is greying. When Ananses aunt, Ekuwa says Aya, Im on my knees to you (45), she kneels down in the performance. Christie, Ananses lover, makes a fashion statement with her dressing. As from this point in the performance, a different actress resumes Anansewas role. This manifestly demonstrates the dictatorial will of the director. Some of Ayas lengthy lines in this scene are reduced. In the giving of their gifts to Anansewa, the Players come in pairs to drop the gifts. A pair introduced a line not in the text Anansewa, may you never be tired on bed. This triggers an uproarious laughter from the audience. In the next encounter between Postman and Ananse, Postman joins Ananse in his dancing on stage-a sharp contrast with the text. The letters the Postman brings throw Ananse into melancholic mood. He shouts, removes his cap, and rolls on the floor. The song Sensemise e (50) is not enacted in the performance. In the text, Anansewa breaks into song My heart, my heart, Stop beating, My heart, my heart. The chance has turned to wind, To wind, wind, wind(58) The singing is manifestly different from the performance.While she singlehandedly does the singing in the text, Storyteller, and Players are actively involved in the performance. The Players sing the chorus Oh, Anansewa, Oh, Anansewa, Oh, Anansewa, Anansewa, Anansewa. (58) In singing the chorus, the Players leave their seat, and position themselves at Anansewas back.One of the Storytellers plays the role of a choirmaster, directing the singing. In the text, Ananse sings the song The world is hard, The world is hard, The world is really hard (61) In the performance, he rolls on the floor while singing it. Ananse, Aya, and Ekuwas lines in the text (62-63) are considerably altered in the performance. However, the main gist of the encounter is retained. When Aya says I am abandoning myself for death to take me away (63), she lies on Ananses legs in the performance. Some lines of these three characters are edited out in the performance. Christie statement Command me(67) in the text is accompanied by her action of embracing Ananse romantically in the performance. This reassures him that he can enlist Christies support in orchestrating his unconscionable act. Act Four of Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa is demonstrably different from the performance. The characters of Fisrt Woman and Second Woman are introduced in the text. No such characters in the performance. In this climactic scene, Anansewa is laid on a makeshift bed in the performance. She is dressed in white clothes, as she feigns death. Christie and Ananse wear black clothes-a symbol of mourning. Events move at a frenetic pace in this scene. According to the text, Christie carries a clan staff (71). She carries no clan staff in the performance. There is the editing out of several lines in this scene, especially the Storytellers lines. Ananse repeatedly groans in the performance whenever the chiefs messengers come one after the other. Whenever he hears a voice outside calling Agoo, which means a visitor wants to enter, Ananse will groan, and say uh weh, uh weh (apparently to underline how grief-stricken he is). He sits, and rolls on the floor, enveloped in pretended sorrow. There are variations in the number, gender and actions of the messengers between the text and the performance. In the text, Chief of the Mines messengers are two men. (77). In the performance, three ladies play the role of the messengers. First Messenger does all the talking in the text. In contrast, the lines are shared among the three messengers in the performance. They weep, dab their tear-stained eyes and blow their noses with the face towels they each hold, and squeeze the face towels on Anansewas eyes, much to Ananses consternation, who keeps on groaning, and chortling uh weh, uh weh. They move round Anansewas corpse, and takes their exit. In a similar vein, two women and a man play the role of Chief Saapases Messengers in the text. In the performance, the roles are played by three smartly-dressed ladies. The Male Messengers lengthy lines in the text are delivered by the actresses in the performance.One of the ladies hold a towel which they employ in turn to mop the tears in their eyes. They squeeze the watery towel on Anansewas head, before taking their exit. The moment they exit from the stage, Christie does something different from the text. She cleans Anasewas face, in readiness for the next set of visitors. Chief Akates Messengers visit next. Unlike the two men in the text, two female characters play the role in the performance. Thy share the long lines of First Messenger in the text. They weep inconsolably, and perform the ritual of moving round Anansewas corpse. Their attempt to embark on another round of weeping after circling round Anansewa is checked in the performance by Ananse who literally dismisses them with a wave of the hands, having overstayed their welcome. The final batch of visitors to pay a condolence to Ananse are Chief-Who-Is-Chiefs Messengers. Intriguingly, their exact number is not mentioned in the text. In the performance, three ladies play the role. They look smart in their costume of suit, and black skirt. Each of them holds a bowl. Their actions in the text demonstrate some variations with the performance. The Messengers movement round Anansewa is accompanied by the singing of a solemn, burial song by the Players. The Messengers gather the tears in their eyes, and blow their noses inside the bowls. Their next action leavev Ananse, Christie, and the audience astounded they drink the contents of the bowls. To reassure Ananse that their previous action is not inadvertent, the previous ritual is repeated. Sitting in a corner on stage, Ananse could not belie his elation over Chief-Who-Is-Chiefs Messengers uncommon act. The performance ends with the dancing and songing on stage of Ananse, Christie, Players, and Messengers. The stage performance of The Marriage of Anansewa is impressive. The director undeniably successfully transforms the play from playtext to performance text. The casting is commendable. The actors and actresses all play their roles commendably. The choreography of the Players is well above average. The choreographer does a marvelous job on the Players, who entertain the audience with their melodious songs, dances, and choreography. Their appearances on stage accomplish the intended purpose of sustaining the attention of the audience. The costumes contribute immeasurably towards the depiction of the Ghanaian setting of the play. While the perfmormance lasts, the audience gets soaked in Ghanaian culture. The costumes also individuate the characters. For instance, the messengers of each of the four suitors wear diverse costumes. Lighting is also put into excellent effect on stage. Interview With the Director of the Stage Performance The production of Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa analysed above was directed by Dr Soji Cole, a lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan. He was interviewed by the researcher. Enjoy it. 1 Can you tell us about your background Let us know you better. My name is Soji Cole. I am a theatre arts scholar and performance practitioner. I have all my degrees, including a Ph.D in Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan. I teach at the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan. 2 As a theatre director with years of experience, how challenging and how rewarding has the theatre directing profession been Theatre directing is both a challenging and gratifying profession of the Theatre. You construct ideas fro a form that is only imagined into a form that is seen and performed. Building the idea is challenging because you have to consider the various appendages that will hold the structures together. A frail arm can distrupt the whole efforts. And at the end of the day, you get gratified that you have just got a baby when you see the work in performance. 3 What informs the choice of the play, The Marriage of Anansewa as the University of Ibadan 2015 Convocation Play The choice of The Marriage of Anansewa was out of the universitys inadequate funding of the traditional convocation plays. The Department was approached to look into her archives for plays that can be produced with minimal financial resources. That was how the choice came about. 4 What peculiar challenges did you encounter in the course of the production It was mainly a students based cast and crew production. The time to put it together was extremely minimal because the students have to juggle between their classes, other rehearsals that have to do with their registered courses, their private lives, and The Marriage of Anansewa rehearsals. 5 To what extent did you tamper with the original playtext in the stage performance The playtext was extremely tampered with. The play was designed as a comedy. I just did some bits of exaggeration on the comical nature of the play-text-you know, a little bit of slapstick here and there without altering core directions and meanings infer by the author. 6 The casting is fantastic. All the actors deliver their roles well enough. How did you manage to assemble such an impressive cast Well, I guess you are speaking mainly from a scholarly-audience point of view. If I were to speak on the same theme as a critic, I might probably say that the play was fairly successful, and not very successful as you opined. There were so many limitations. And I guess I wasnt very patient also with so many things. Looking back, and giving better resources, I believe the outcome would have been way better. 7 In the text, there is a single Storyteller and a single character of Anansewa. However, in the stage performance, there are two Storytellers, and 2 or 3 actresses shared the role of Anansewa. What must have informed that Yes, that was part of my meaning when I mentioned that I tampered with the text. I had to double some roles, and even tripled some, so as to emphasise the comic nature of the script further, and then also to accommodate the number of students who took part in the production. I am not really a fan of having fifty casts on the stage while the speaking roles are just the exclusive preserve of three people. 8 The choreography in the stage performance fascinates me a lot. The Players are awesome. How did you accomplish that There was a choreographer. He is also a theatre lecturer of dance in the Department. His name is Samson Akapo. Dancing is not my forte, so he handled that area. All I did was to give him the idea that I was working on. 9 What is the audience response like during the production I think the audience enjoyed themselves. There reactions in terms of applause, laughter, sober moments, and near-edge intervention in some scenes appealed to me as to conclude that they really enjoyed the performance. 5.4. Text 111 Francis Imbugas Betrayal in the City Analysis of the Playtext Who Killed Tom Mboya Declassified Documents Raised New Questions about the 1969 Assassination of Visionary Nationalist Tom Joseph Mboya. On 5 July, it will be 47 years since Tom Mboya was assassinated outside Chhannis Pharmacy on Government Road (now Moi Avenue). Up to this day, neither the real assassins nor his sponsors are known. Mboya, who was only 39 years old when he was gunned down on that Saturday morning, was rarguably the architect of modern Kenya. Self-educated for the most part, Mboya rose to prominence on the strength of his organizational genius, his fearlessness, and his oratory. He is today famous for his Mboya Students Airlift programme that took a generation of East Africans to college in the United States. But Mboya was a man of many firsts-a young man in a hurry, as he was once dubbed by Time Magazine. At only 27, he became the president of the All Africa Peoples Conference, the precursor body of the OAU, unanimously elected by the delegates of Nkrumahs Accra. He was the lead negotiator for KANU (The Kenya African National Union) during the Lancaster House Independence talks between 1961 and 1963. He would be dead before the end of the decade. Almost 50 years later, it is still a mystery who his killers were and what motivated them. At about 1p.m. on Saturday July5, 1969, he was standing outside Chhannis Pharmacy chatting to (sic) the shops owner Mohini Chhanni. She would later say that she heard what she thought was a tyre burst. Then, Mboya fell into her arms, bleeding. He never regained consciousness. Culled from an article written by Parselelo Kantai Our interest in Tom Mboyas widely-reported 1969 murder is sparked by its consistency with Kabitos murder, Doga and Ninas murder, and, to a lesser extent, Adikas murder in Francis Imbugas play, Betrayal in the City, which was Kenyans entry for the 1977 Festival of Arts and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria. The play is set in a fictional African country named Kafira in the post-independence era. During this period, the African masses experienced disillusionment with the high level of corruption, irresponsibility, financial rascality, nepotism, and ineptitudeof their leaders, whom they had raised so much hopes on, following the independence of the African countries from their colonial masters. Kafira, in the play, is an independent African country headed by the despotic leader, who bears the generic name, Boss. The country experiences political upheavals, and the citizens are mired in hopelessness and disillusionment, largely as a result of an oppressive, dictatorial government of Boss, a past master of the silencing of every opposition. Kafira is a symbolic representation of a number of African countries which have experienced dictatorships. Social evils such as corruption, nepotism, arbitrary arrests, and assassinations are rife in Kafira. In the play, a demonstration is organized by concerned students of Kafira University to protest against the influx of expatriate specialist workers. This results in the untimely and tragic death of a student, Adika, who is shot dead by a police officer, Chagaga. After Adikas funeral, Mosese, a lecturer is arrested for criticizing the governments actions. With the funeral over, Jusper, Adikas brother kills Chagaga in revenge, and throws his body into a river. Jusper is later arrested for the offence. Two soldiers, Jere and Mulili are sent to Adikas home to prevent his parents from holding the customary shaving ceremony in his wake. On arrival, they find Nina and Doga, Adikas parents, preparing for the shaving ceremony. Confronted by the situation, Jere decides to allow Nina and Doga continue with the ceremony, but Mulili firmly disagrees. The two soldiers quarrel, leading to Jeres arrest, and subsequent incarceration. Due to the impending visit of a foreign Head of State, Boss decides to have a play staged by prisoners as part of the guests entertainment. Moses and Jere are therefore approached and requested to participate in the play. Bosss right hand man, Mr Tumbo approaches Jusper, asking him to write a play, which is later acted by Jere and Mosese. A prisoner falls ill prior to the rehearsals, and, therefore, Boss offers to step in. He later orders his guards to give him their guns to be employed as props after realizing that the props were not ready.With the aid of the real guns, the actors challenge Boss and his cronies in a cleverly crafted coup. Jusper takes the gun, and kills Mulili. The play ends with Nina and Dogas ghosts mourning their son. Kabitos assassination, which is similar to Tom Joseph Mboyas aforestated murder is as a result of one of the several instances of betrayals which run through the play. Mulili, a malicious character, is a first-rate betrayer. He betrays Kabito, a government official, by saying that Kabito has complained that Boss has robbed him of his milk tender, has clobbered the economy comatose, hides millions in foreign countries, and attepmts to rape Regina, Juspers girlfriend. Kabito is murdered, as a result of the betrayal. A spectre of disillusionment haunts Kabira. Doga and Nina have become despondent after their son has been shot dead during the university riots. Their other son, Jusper has seemingly become demented following his brothers death. Nina concludes that the authorities have robbed them of all they had and blinded them. Mosese is disillusioned by the state of things in Kafira under Bosss leadership. He points out that the political leadership of Kafira has destroyed all the hopes that the citizens had of a better independent Kafira. The collective sense of disillusionment is captured by Mosese, when he says It was better while we waited. Now we have nothing to look forward to. We have killed our past and are busy killing the future. (Betrayal in the City, 28). He no longer believes in the biblical promise of the poor inheriting the kingdom of heaven. It is now illusory. Jere does not mince words over his loss of faith in humanity. He carries the bible to prison to explore the possibility of its resoring his faith in humanity JERE Then, I said to myself If they take you in, carry a Bible with you might restore your faith in humanity. (23). He only gets some fulfiment out of acting Pilates story. Jere argues with Askari over the issue of freedom. He tells him that the outside of his cell may as well be the inside of another. The import of this is that Kafira stifles freedom, and those who think they are free are not. Even the youths are not spared of the disillusionment, as captured by Jusper JUSPER The younger generation can only be spectators at most. Well never have the opportunity to join in that nation-building (41). When Regina tries to stop Jusper from wearing the red gown, which she says makes him look dangerous, he tells her bluntly that, like everyone else in the streets, her fighting spirit has deserted her. This underscores the spectre of disillusionment which haunts Kafira. After Kabitos murder, reality dawns on Tumbo and Nicodemo that their days are numbered as government officials. Tumbo says We have no choice, like caged animals, We move but only inside the cage (62). He says the elimination of citizens has become so rampant that one is not so sure of seeing the next day. In Betrayal in the City, Francis Imbuga makes a veiled reference to his nationality, Kenya, specifically the regime of Jomo Kenyatta, who retained the role of Prime Minister after independence was declared in Kenya on 12 December, 1963. He ruled Kenya from the period of independence until his death in 1978. Francis Imbuga wrote Betrayal in the City during the period of Jomo Kenyattas reign as Kenyan President. Jomo Kenyattas policy was that of continuity and gradual Africanisation of the government, keeping many colonial civil servants in their old jobs, as they were gradually replaced by Kenyans. Kenyatta was re-elected unopposed in 1966, and the next year had the constitution amended to expand his powers. He consolidated on his power, greatly. Nepotism characterized his regime, as he placed several of his Kikuyu tribesmen in most of the powerful state and security offices and posts. State security offices harassed residents, and were suspected of complicity in a rash of murders of prominent personalities deemed threats to Kenyattas regime. These include Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya, and J.M. Kariuki. At a point in time, he turned Kenya to a one-party state, banning the only other political party, the Kenya Peoples Union. Holding a complete political control of the country, and stoutly resisting any form of opposition. New Historicism finds meaning in a text by considering the work within the framework of the prevailing ideas and assumptions of its historical era. In writing Betrayal in the City, Francis Imbuga must have been largely influenced by the regime of Jomo Kenyatta as Kenyan President. Jomo Kenyatta ruled for fifteen, uninterrupted years (1963-1978). He exposes some of the atrocities perpetrated in Kenyattas regime in the play. Foucaults discourse theory has a number of views on power. One of these is that power is the ways in which a dominant group exerts its influence over others. The play amply demonstrates how power permeates every fabric of the society. Boss, by virtue of his position as Head of State of Kafira ordinarily and constitutionally has power over the people of Kafira. However, he abuses the power relations between the rulers and their subjects by his dictatorial style of leadership. A coup is staged against him at the climax of the play. Those in the positions of authority speak in peremptory tone they use language authoritatively. The figures in authority use language to express their dominance, and request obedience and respect from those subordinate to them. This is evident in the opening scene of the play when two soldiers, Jere and Mulili, on Bosss order come to ensure that no hair shaving ceremony is held by Nina and Doga in memory of their murdered son, Adika. The soldiers, especially Mulili, speak in peremptory tone to the bereaved couple. According to Mulili, the stopping of the customary hair shaving ceremony is in the interest of peace. (9). The peremptory use of language is also by the prison warder, Askari, during the detention of Jere and Mosese, a political prisoner and university lecturer. Like Jere, Mosese is persecuted for criticizing the government. Boss is another character in the play who express his dominance with his authoritative use of language. Power, according to Foucault, does not repress it invites people to speak, to assess and articulate themselves. Jere and Musese demonstrate this in the play. At every opportunity, they vehemently express their disenchantment and opposition with the unabashedly corrupt, dictatorial government of Boss. While in prison cell, detained for allowing the head shaving ceremony to go on, Jere proves to be vocal, and articulate, answering Askari without fear. Jere, who sees reason in standing by Nina and Doga learns that the arm of the law is to suppress the majority, who are on the right, and support the minority, who are on the wrong. Moseses arrest and detention is as a result of his being in possession of opium, as official evidence evidence shows. He alleges that there is no iota of truth in the opium allegation, and he was arrested for speaking up his mind during the burial of one of his brave students who was killed. Moses raises the lid on the question of independence. Using a biblical allusion, he says MOSESE That is why I dont believe in such crap as the last shall be the first, and blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the Kingdom of heaven For years we waited for the kingdom, then they said it had come It was an illusion (27-28). By implication, the independence Afican countries celebrated was just an independence where foreigners masquerading as liberators sold Africa to the highest bidder. He initially declines to play the role of the head of state who is to visit Kafira in the play to be staged. His relunctance symbolizes many intellectuals who fail to take up opportunities that could mark the change for the better. Many of the characters in the play are engaged in power struggles, and fractitious power relations. When the two soldiers, Jere and Mulili, are sent to Adikas home to forestall the holding of the customary shaving ceremony, they engage in a power struggle. While Jere decides to allow Nina and Doga to carry on with the ceremony, Mulili staoutly refuses. Act Two Scene One of the play centres around how a committees plans the state visit. The scene illustrates the power struggles in the play. Kabito is incensed with Mulilis inclusion in the committee. There is a deep-seated power tussle between Mulili and Kabito. Kabitos anger is borne out of the fact that Mulili bullied his way into getting the university milk tender which apparently Kabito was keen on getting. There is no love lost between these two characters. At the meeting, their differences play out, degenerating into names calling and swear words KABITO If he doesnt get me first, I will get him (52) Kabito tells Mulili to his face You are thre people who choke Kafira(56). Nicodemo, a government official, is not favourably disposed to Moseses inclusion among those acting for the state visitor, as he was the one who planted the drugs (opium) on Mosese. Mulili convinces his cousin to twist the arm of the university administration to rescind the contract given to Kabito. Rather than focus on the issues of the visit, the committee members are interested in the perks they have to take home, as expressed by Kabito KABITO The tree climber begins from the bottom, not on the top. May we not be told our terms of service Or are being good citizens (53). The meeting is prematurely adjourned due to a scuffle which ensues between Kabito and Mulili. The power struggle between Kabito and Mulili assumes a dangerous dimension as Kabito is brutally killed, following Mulilis report of him to Boss. The customary shaving ceremony which Nina and Doga want to perform on the dead son, Adika is one of the few instances in the play which lends itself to Clifford Geertzs thick description. To an outsider, the shaving ceremony may mean nothing. However, the people of certain communities in Kenya, where the play is apparently set, knows the significance of the ceremony.Luhya exemplifies such communities. The hair shaving ceremony serves as a right to show the final respect for the dead. It is done one week after the burial. Mulili, who comes from a different tribe seems unconcerned with the intensity of the ritual. He cares less when Nina threatens to strip naked-a mortal curse among the people of this community. Mulilis response is striking MULILI How many naked bodies I have seen And I am still MULILI with my two eyes(9) Another instance of thick description in Betrayal in the City is the burning of Adikas grave, presumably by his murderer. According to the custom and tradition of certain Kenyan communities, burning of the grave would prevent the ghost of the murdered or dead person from haunting the murderer. The lengthy argument between Jere, Mulili, Nina, and Doga over these issues enables the events to be thickly described. Francis Imbugas Betrayal in the City also lends itself to Stephen Greenblatts subversion-containment dialectic. There are a number of subversive characters in the play. Jere is a subversive character. He goes against the President Bosss orders and allows the poor couple, Nina and Doga to do the final ritual for their son. Jeres subversive proclivity is demonstrated in his detention. Unlike other detainees, he has no modicum of respect for the prison warder, Askari. Jeres subversion is contained in the text by his detention, and the harrowing experiences he suffers as a result of this. Mulili is also another decidedly subversive character in the play. He calls into question the ideology of a soldiers obedience to his boss. Mulili tells everybody who cares to listen that Boss has never been his cousin or could only be a distant cousin. He says there is absolutely no reason why Boss should not be killed. He then proceeds to enumerate Bosss ills such as high handedness, ruining the economy, ruling for too long, and killing Kabito. Mulili is undoubtedly the leading perpetrator of corruption in Bosss regime. His subversion is contained in the text by his being killed at the climactic scene of the play by Jusper. Analysis of Playtext Against Stage Performance Betrayal in the City was staged in July 2014 by the Maseno University Travelling in Kenya. The play was directed by Mr Omwalo. Characteristical of stage performances of dramatic texts, there are several points of convergence between the dramatic texts and the stage performances. These will be highlighted. Firstly, there is no rupturing of the sequence of events between the play text and the stage performance. The performance followed the order of the presentation of incidents in the dramatic text. The facts and details of each of these incidents in the text are also, as much as possible, given in the stage performance. In addition, the actors in the stage performance maintained the names of the characters in the performance.another point of convergence between the text and the performance is that, as much as possible, the costumes of the actors approximate or depict their roles in the text. Apart from their police outfits, Jere and Mulili brandish guns when they come to Dogas house to disrupt the hair shaving ceremony. Boss has the aura of the President of Kafira in his limited apperances on stage. He is spruced in a suit. Nina and Doga showcase their despondence in both their body language and costume. In addition, the actors in the stage production predominantly deliver the exact lines in the text. They do not manufacture the lines they follow the text. Differences abound between the dramatic text and the stage performance.In the opening scene of the stage performance, when Nina and Doga approach their sons grave in readiness for the customary hair shaving ceremony, Dogas old age is symbolized with h a long, walking stick he holds to aid his walking. His wife, Nina is much younger. In the text, Nina is simply said to have wept while approaching the grave. She animates this in the stage performance by weeping profusely, and saying Adika Adika repeatedly, amidst sobs. In the text, Doga hints on how corruption has become ingrained in Kafira society when he says this in his son, Adikas grave When you came into this world to search for your death, you found the money here. Now you are silent, but money is still here. Do not let them tempt you. Follow them to the bitter end. (4) The above lines are edited on in the performance. In the text, Nina asks Where is Jasper only once. In the performance, she poses the question thrice. In a similar vein, when Nina suggests to Doga that they should report their startling discovery to the sub-chief, Doga mentions the sub-chief thrice in the performance for emphasis. The husband-wife power relation between the couple is evinced in this scene. Doga, as the husband leads, while Nina follows. Nina says Let us do what is expected of us Let us report the matter to the subchief. Doga illuminates the patriarchal African society by dismissing his wifes opinion, and overruling her, insisting that reporting to the sub-chief is out of the question. He practically chases her away to enforce his opinion. Unlike in the text, Juspers entrance on stage is heralded by his voice in the background. He adequately demonstrates his rumoured insanity in the stage performance. He wears a threadbare jacket, a worn-out T-shirt, and a pair of shorts. He holds a wooden plank, and a big stone. The wooden plank is, at a point, converted to a makeshift gun through which he demonstrates the act of shooting, much to the amusement of the audience. Unlike in the dramatic text, Nina, in her second appearance on stage carries a carton. Also, when Nina and Doga decide to commit everything into Gods hands, they move closer to the grave, kneel down, and sing in unity Trust and obey For there is no other way To be happy in Jesus But to trust and obey. The power struggle between Mulili and Jere is foregrounded in the stage performance. Jere literally triumphs, as he chases Mulili out of the stage. Mulilis lack of discipline is evident in his drinking of alcohol on stage. Remarkably, many of the long lines of the characters in the text are edited out in the performance, not only in this scene, but all through the performance. The next scene is set in a prison cell, where Jere and Mosese are detained. There is a measurable difference between the text and the stage performance. Unlike in the text, Moses sits in a corner of the prison cell on several tomes. Initially, he is detached from the heated conversation between Jere and Askari, until Jere says to Askari, in a conspiratorial tone Who is he pointing at Mosese. Mosese dresses like a mourner-black T-shirt, and a black pair of jeans. This is symbolic. The director and costumiers message here is that Kabira nation is devoid of cheering news, and is enveloped by gloom. He is very vocal in the performance, unlike in the text, where he is somewhat reticent. In the text, Mosese drinks the cup of tea given to him by Askari alone. In contrast, he shares it with Jere in the performance. Jeres high level of confidence when facing Askari is foregrounded iin the performance. He refuses to be intimidated by Askari. The Act 1 Scene 111 of the text is set in Reginas small room. She is Moseses sister, and Juspers girlfriend. In the text, Jusper, like all university students, is in a red gown to sshow that they are protesting against the government. In the performance, he maintains his previous costume a jacket, T-shirt, and a pair of shorts. A red shawl is wriggled around his neck. In the text, Regina employs Mac Erhmans poem, Desiderata to caution her boyfriend Jusper To go placidly amid the noise and haste And remember what peace there may be in silence (35). The poem is not mentioned in the performance. The performance affords Regina the opportunity to demonstrate her undying love for Jusper, whom she cautions on his overly critical stance against the Boss-led government of Kafira. The performance animates the chaos which characterizes the committees meeting in a conference room. It also clearly shows the power struggle between Mulili and Kabito. In the text, all the committee members are present in the setting the same time. Conversely, in the performance, Mulili joins them on stage, barging in. He is riotous and cantankerous, all through the meeting.The Act 2 Scene 2 of the text, which involves an encounter between Mulili and Boss, and the Act 2 Scene 3 of the text, which centres on Kabitos murder are not enacted in the stage performance. Editing out of certain scenes in the play texts typifies stage performances. In the climactic scene of the performance, events move at a remorseless pace. In the text, the Chief of Staff (Boss) allows Mosese and Jere to show him the two guns (.32 and .28 automatic guns) from the heap of guns below. In the performance, there is no heap of guns. The two guns are laid on the floor, and Jere and Mosese pick them up excitedly, springing into action. Finally, in the text, the play ends with Nina and Dogas ghosts mourning their son. In the performance, the ghosts comes on stage as soon as Mulili has been shot dead by Jusper, and the play ends. Bright lightning is employed all through the stage performance. There is no variation of lightning. Furthermore, the costumes individuate the characters on stage. However, unlike the previous state productions analysed, the costumes do not depict the socio-cultural setting of the play. The costumes are mostly generic, everyday costumes. This, perhaps, is due to the fact that the play is not a traditional play. It is set in the city, with a sheen of modernity in it. All in all, the stage performance is commendable, as the actors give a very good account of themselves. CHAPTER SIX INTERPLAY BETWEEN TEXT AND PERFORMANCE IN SELECTED SOCIO-POLITICAL AFRICAN PLAYS 6.1 Introduction The focus of this chapter is on the analyses of Tewfik Al Hakims play Fate of a Cockroach, and Athol Fugards Blood Knot. Each of the plays addresses burning issues of the period in which it was written. 6.2 Text 1 Tewfik Al-Hakims Fate of a Cockroach Analysis of the Play Text Tawfik Al-Hakims popular play, Fate of a Cockroach is one of the celebrated Egyptian playwrights plays that conform to the theatre of the absurd in Egypt. In the play, Al-Hakim satirically creates the cockroach characters as a symbolic representation of the political disillusionment with the socialist revolutionary regime of President Gamal Abdel Nasser who ruled Egypt between 1956 and 1970. According to historical accounts, Gamal Abdel Nasser was troublesome as a student, always running into troubles with his school teachers, some of who are British. He participated in a series of anti-British protests.He graduated as a second lietenant in a Royal Military Academy after leaving secondary school (Britannica.com). Nasser gained national nprominence on July 23, 1952 when he and 89 other Free Officers staged an almost bloodless coup detat, ousting the monarchy. He became the Egyptian President in 1956. On attainment of the position, he announced the promulgation of a constitution under which Egypt became a socialist Arab state with one-party political system, and introduced Islam as the official religion. Admittedly, Nasser made a number of notable accomplishments while in office. The operation of the Aswan High Dam, the partially successful campaign against corruption, and the according of women with more rights than they ever had are some of these accomplishments. However, on the negative side, Nassers regime was characterised by the making of Egypt a police state, the strict censoring of the communications media, the nationalizing of major newspapers, the stifling of democracy and the herding of political enemies into concentration camps in the desert. The regime was grossly unpopular with the masses. Al-Hakim, arguably the major Egyptian dramatist and cultural figure during the period of Nassers regime and in the decades that follow, try to capture this in Fate of a Cockroach, a play which vividly portrays mans lack of control over his own fate. The attempt by man to control his fate, invariably, leads to an obsession with attaining knowledge and power.The quest for knowledge is symbolized by Savant, and later culminates in danger, as it lands King into the bottom of the bathtub. The cockroach kings perilous plunge into a cavernous bathtub is the climactic end of the opening act of the thought-provoking play. B.M. Ibitokun (19958) x-rays the character of Savant thus The portrayal of the Savant is the dramatization of the demise of scientism and rationalism. His inquisitiveness and knowledge bring woes to the world just as our insatiate knowledge for science and technology lets loose on our heads an avalanche of miseries. we are still at it. The devastating consequences of World War 1 (1914-1918) and World War 11 (1939-1945) were still fresh in human memory when Fate of a Cockroach was published. The wars, which showcased the flipsides of scientific and technological inventions, culminated in the tragic death of millions of people, and the wanton destruction of properties. In Act 1 of the play, a self-proclaimed king of the cockroaches squabbles with his consort while seeking a lasting solution to the perennial ants problem. King has earlier explained to his inquisitive, disrespectful and pushy wife (Queen) on how the talents of his consort lead to their appointments QUEEN We know about your latents-the length of your whiskers. But what are your Ministers talents KING His consummate concern with proposing disconcerting problems and producing unpleasant news. QUEEN And the Priest, what are his talents KING The completely incomprehensible things he says. QUEEN And the learned Savant KING The strange information he has about things that have no existence other than his own head. QUEEN And what induced you to put up with these people KING Necessity(Fate of a Cockroach, 5) On the existential nature of the play, B.M. Ibitokun (19954) has this to say Tewfil Al Hakims Fate of a Cockroach, with its symbolic terseness of the human estate, offers itself as a bold Yoruba paradigm of the drama of being. The title of the play itself is self-revelatory enough. Its metaphysical thrust is to be seen in its dramatization of mans warring duality essence as emptiness and strivings to achieve self-plenum as existential counterpoise. The nauseating nature of cockroach contributes towards its choice by the playwright to capture the emptiness of human essence. Its cumbersome shape, awkward look and gait, and excremental, nocturnal existence makes it disgusting to human beings. Adil checks its meaning in the dictionary ADIL The cockroach or black-bettle is a harmful insect that, infests cloth, food, and oaper. It is often found in lavatories and has long, hairy horns or whiskers. It spoils more food than it actually requires as nourishment. It can live for about a year (36). Adil proves to be Al-Hakims personified cockroach as he finds himself captivated by the struggle of the King cockroach to climb up the slippery walls of the porcelain tub as well as connected to its persistent will to live. The cockroaches world is a microcosm of the modern human society. The parallelism in Al-Hakims Fate of a Cockroach runs at the level of cockroaches and humans. The King and Queen cockroaches have a similar issue as the human couple, Adil and Samia, who wake up and launch into a heated argument. The argument is like a ritual that normally breaks up between the young, middleclass couple every morning. In both instances, the female has an upper hand. According to Foucaults discourse analysis, power is not exclusively class-related it extends throughout the society. In the two instances of the couples in the play (King and Queen Samia and Adil), the female has an upper hand.The discourse in both instances alludes to conflictive roles between the sexes which reflect the case of the roles of men and women in Egyptian society at the time. As afore-stated, it was a period when Egyptian women were accorded with more rights than they previously had. King blames Queen trying to underestimate his power and worth, and for asking him to solve the age-long ants problem KING Have you forgotten the characteristics of our species We Are not like those small creatures called ants, who gather together in their thousands on the slightest pretext. QUEEN Dont remind me of ants A king like you claiming you have worth and authority and you dont know how to solve the ant problem KING The ant problem Ahum QUEEN Ahumis that all you can say… KING Do you want, from one day to the next, a solution to a Problem that is as old as time (4). In a similar vein, Adil blames Samia for putting her interests and herself before her husband. He is angry with the fact that she always ask him to do extra chores at home ADIL What are you talking about SAMIA Im telling you to occupy yourself usefully until Ive finished having my bath. ADIL Occupy myself SAMIA Yes, with anything, because I want quiet- quiet. ADIL Quiet You tell me to be quiet SAMIA Listen, Adil, turn on the radio. ADIL Turn on what SAMIA (turning on the basin tap) Turn the tap on. ADIL The tap You want me to turn the tap on for you as well But the tap is where you are. SAMIA I told you to turn on the radio. (29). Samia is, indubitably, a domineering wife who has no modicum of respect for her husband. In Savants opinion, the ants are inferior to the cockroaches as they are solely concerned with acquiring of food, the ants pose the greatest threat to the existence of the cockroaches. When a cockroach (Ministers son) slips onto its back, the ants immediately attack it and carry it away to be stored as food KING It grieves us, O Minister, to see your son borne off in this manner. PRIEST May the gods have mercy upon him May the gods have mercy upon him KING Its certainly a most dignified funeral SAVANT So it seems, although logic dictates that it should be otherwise(18). Ironically, despite being seen as insignificant in the cockroaches world, the ants play a decisive role in deciding the fate of the cockroach, who, all through the play, are at the ants mercy, and cannot come up with a lasting solution to the ants problem. The cockroaches struggle to live isa metaphor on mans perennial struggle to live and not to die. As the saying goes, nobody wants to die. This mans life-long struggle to live is evident in Adils fascination with the epic, ill-fated struggle of a cockroach to climb out of the bathtub. The doctor fully appreciates Adils identification with the cockroachs struggle DOCTOR You are interested in its struggle for life. ADIL This, then, is its voice, its pleading, its language which I can hear and understand. DOCTOR Certainly, it explains our being so interested in its Struggle. ADIL Is that not what has kept me in front of the bath since early morning DOCTOR (looking into the bath) It is in reality an entertaining spectacle (69). Stephen O. Solanke (2014) opines that Fate of a Cockroach is a perfect play to illustrate the powerlessness of human beings in natural and uncontrolled human phenomenon. He suggests that in order to have freedom which an average human being craves for, a world of communality like that of the ants in the play should be created. Ndubuisi Nnanna and Ikechukwu Erojikwe (2015) in their critical evaluation of Fate of a Cockroach argues, from the perspective of post-colonial literary criticism, that the recurrent reference to post-coloniial disillusionment by many Anglophone African dramatists perpetuates a form of colonial mentality. According to them Fate of a Cockroach provides us with a relevant material to analyse The alienated individual in a post-colonial society battling with the Reality of collective depression (1) Power struggle permeates the entire fabric of Al Hakims Fate of a Cockroach. It can be seen both in the cockroaches kingdom and among human beings. There is a noticeable struggle for power between King cockroach and Queen cockroach, who does not want to bow to Kings authority, and always attempt to diminish his authority KING Please-no sarcasm I have an ever-growing feeling that Youre always trying to belittle my true worth. QUEEN Your worth KING Yes, and my authority. You are always trying to diminish my authority. QUEEN (even more sarcastically) Your authority Your authority Over whom Not over me at any rate-you are in no way Better than me.(3) All through the play, Queen demonstrates her unwillingness to bow to King, and respect him as husband. Both King and Queen employ language in a way to assert their authority in the household. At the human level, there is power struggle between the couple, Adil and Samia. Adil lives under severe psychological conflict with his wife, and cannot assert his authority. Samia demonstrates no respect for him, as they engage in power struggle over who has greater authority iin the household. The ideal moment naturally creates itself for Adil with the emergence of the cockroach at thebathtub. He identifies with it and its struggle to be free. Even among the consort of Minister, Savant, Priest and King, there is power struggle. Each of them has an exaggerated idea of its importance. Savant, for example, believes he is far more intelligent than other cockroaches, and they need to acknowledge the fact. Tewfik Al Hakims Fate of a Cockroach also lends itself to Stephen Greenblatts subversion containment dialectic. Queen is, undoubtedly, a subversive character. After the Ministers announcement of his sons death, Queen assets that a solution to the problem of the ants must be vigorously pursued with a view to nipping it in the bud. King says no solution exists. The import of this is that Kings significance is undermined as he cannot rise to the challenging occasion, and fulfil his official functions. Queens subversion is contained in the play as the ants problem which she desires to be pursued is never solved. Minister is another subversive character in the play. Throughout the play, the cockroaches air of superiority prevents them from adapting the ways of the inferior ants and finding a permanent solution to the problem. Minister makes a suggestion in this regard Armies. They attack us with huge armies. Now if we were able to mobilize ourselves and assemble in great numbers wed find it easy to attack them, to scatter and to crush them under our great feet (9). Promptly, King asserts his authority, rebukes the Ministers opinion, putting him in his proper place. Another major instance of subversion in the play is demonstrated by Samia, who is portrayed as a stronger character than the husband, Adil. She tries to control him, and this reults in the psychological conflict between the couple. In her conversation with Doctor, she states categorically that she believes she is stronger than her husband SAMIA Of course, Doctor, go ahead DOCTOR Whats your opinion about your husbands personality SAMIA In what respect DOCTOR In respect of strength and weakness. SAMIA In relation to whom DOCTOR In relation to yourself of course. SAMIA I I believe his personality to be weaker than mine. DOCTOR Does he know it SAMIA Certainly (55). Samias subversion is later contained in the play, as her attitude changes from a bossy wife to that of a caring wife after the Doctor informs her that Adil suffers from psychological problems as a result of pressures of home, work and study which lead him to identify himself with the cockroach in the bath tub. Play-Text Against Stage Performance The final year students of Dramatic Arts Department of Obafemi Awolowo University on November 6th, 2015 staged Tewfik Al Hakims Fate of a Cockroach. The venue was Pit Theatre Auditorium, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. The stage performance was attended by the University students, some lecturers and a number of people from outside the university community. The performance commenced by 6pm. A remarkable feature of this stage production is the ingenuity of the costumier. Prior to the commencement of the play, the members of the audience had wondered how the cockroaches and the ants would be convincingly enacted on stage. The constumier did a marvelous job of that. The cockroaches wear black, sleeveless costumes and aantennaed heads. The ants dappled grey uniform clothes and caps which masked their faces. The audience clapped and roared with excitement at the opening scene of the play when King and Queen cockroaches made their appearance. There are a number of points of convergence between the dramatic text and the impressive stage performance. Firtsly, the storyline of the text is maintained in the stage performance. No attempt is made by the director of the play to tamper with the storyline. All the scenes in the dramatic text are enacted on stage. This, most probably, is due to the limited number of scenes in Fate of a Cockroach. In a similar vein, the order of presentation of scenes in the text is maintained in the stage performance. Since the play has a simple plot, the director sees no compelling reason or justification to rupture the sequence of incidents in the play.Like the text, the performance opens with the fractious encounter between King and Queen. Their banter excites the audience considerably. This is followed by the entrance of Minister, Savant and Priest on stage. Another point of convergence between the dramatic text and the stage performance is in the delivery of the lines by the strong cast. The actors deliver a good number of the lines as they are given in the text, and they also changed many of the lines as well. The stage performance, as much as possible, attempts to approximate the decription given of the couple, Adil and Samias bedroom in Act Two the dramatic text A bedroom with a bed, a wardrobe, and a small table on which rests an alarm clock. A large table stands between two chairs on it art papers and books. The room has a small door leading to the bathroom, which contains a bath and a basin with a mirror above it, also a shelf on which are toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste. From the bedroom another door opens onto the rest of the flat (27). Most of the afore-stated items are evident in the stage performance. Finally, the director faithfully represents most of the blockings given by the playwright in the dramatic text. However, there are more points of divergence than convergence between the dramatic text and the stage performance. This goes a long way in foregrounding the complexity of the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama. Some of these points of divergence will be examined. In the transformation of Fate of a Cockroach from play text to performance text, the director makes aome significant changes in the text. The actors animate the incidents of the text on stage. A good example of this pumping of action into the lifeless text is when Savant says First, the ants have a Minister of War (19). The actor who plays the role of Savant assumes the posture of a soldier brandishing a gun, and about to shoot, like a Minister of War in the real sense of the word. The heated exchange of words between King and Queen is illuminated in the stage performance. Queens subversive proclivity is foregrounded as she repeatedly looks at King eyeball-to-eyeball, and disdainfully to assert her strong belief in her equality with King. She even pushes King once. This is not stated in the text. In the encounter between King and Queen, they both stand and sit alternately. This also happens when Savant, Minister and Priest join them. These characters also alternately stand and sit in the delivery of their lines. Another instance of demonstration in the performance is when all the cockroaches lift up their hands and call out in the text Oh gods Oh gods (26) In the stage performance, they all bow while doing that and said the oh gods repeatedly. Several lines in the text are edited out in the stage performance. In a similar vein, the actors sometimes rephrase the lines of the text, albeit maintaining the content of the message of the lines. By so doing, the audience successfully comprehends the storyline. Abn example is when KING states in the text Thats true. It has happened before (12). This line is replaced in the performance by Thats correct. It has occurred before. The stage performance affords the actors the opportunity to showcase the nature of the characters in the text. For instance, Savant, in consonance with his characterization, behaves like a learned person. He is demonstrative, poised and emanates a considerable level of confidence. The complexity of the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama is also demonstrated in the setting of the play. Accoring to the text, the opening scene of the play is A spacious courtyard-as viewed of course by the cockroaches. In actual fact the courtyard is nothing more than the bathroom floor in an ordinary flat (2). This contrasts sharply with the stage performance. In the opening scene of the stage performance, the cockroaches are in the parlour of a living room which has cushion chairs, a centre table, a flower base, etc. In the text, a procession of ants carry a dead cockroach (Ministers son) while the cockroaches look on in glum silence. In sharp contrast, in the stage performance, the ants come on stage, entertain the audience with a rhymic movement before later going to carry the dead cockroach, and walking out of stage with it. In the process of doing that, the cockroaches hide in a corner of the parlour in sheer trepidation. In the dramatic text, the ants chant the song Here is your great feast.(17). Conversely, in the stage performance, the song is given in the stage background. Furthermore, there is the coalescing of scenes in the performance. This is exemplified in the first two scenes of the play which are coalesced. Like the case of Queen and King, Samias subversive proclivity and disrespect for her husband, Adil is foregrounded on stage. Without doubt, the stage production of Tewfik Al Hakims Fate of a Cockroach is quite successful and captivating. The audience is able to connect with the characters. The motions of insects are mimicked in the gyrating, dance-like movements of the performers. The choreography is impressive, and the stage lighting is put to effective usage. The appreciation of the stage performance by the audience is evident in the occasion clappings and bursting with laughter. 6.3. Text II Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road Analysis of the Playtext Nigerian History of Niger Delta Crises Conflict in the Niger Delta arose in the 1990s due to tensions between the foreign oil corporations and a number of the Niger Deltas minority ethnic groups who felt they were being exploited, particularly the Ogoni as well as the Ijaws in the late 1990s. Ethnic and political unrest has continued throughout the 1990s and persists as of 2007 despite the conversion to democracy and the election of the Obasanjo government in 1999. Competition for oil wealth has fueled violence between innumerable ethnic groups, causing the militarization of nearly the entire region by ethnic militia groups as well as Nigerian military and police forces Map of Nigeria numerically showing states typically considered typically considered part of the Niger Delta region 1. Abia 2. Akwa Ibom 3. Bayelsa 4. Cross River 5. Delta 6. Edo 7. Imo 8. Ondo 9.Rivers Nigeria, after nearly four decades of oil production, had by the early 1990s become almost completely dependent on petroleum extraction economically, generating 25 of its GDP (this has risen to 40 as of 2000) In spite of the large number of skilled, well-paid Nigerians, who have been employed by the oil corporations, the majority of Nigerians, most especially the people of the Niger Delta states and the far north have become poorer since the 1960s. Osungade Esther. Forgotten Diaries. Org. Posted on 10 September 2008. The point of convergence between Irobis Cemetery Road, and the Niger Delta crises depicted in the above extract is that Irobis play most appropriately captures the Niger Delta militancy struggle. The Niger Delta militancy struggle is also explored in some of his dramatic oeuvre such as Nwokedi, The Colour of Rusting Gold, and Hangmen Also Die. The conflict in the Niger Delta which arose in the 1990s has, over the years, assumed dangerous proportions, culminating in the youth restiveness, vandalisation of pipelines, and deaths, due to the rebellious proclivity of the Niger Delta youths, who typically protest against the oppression they face. The grievance of the Niger Delta people is that since the Federal Governments major source of revenue-the oil-is derived principally from their territory, and the multinational oil companies like Chevron, Shell, and Elf explore oil in the Niger Delta region in Nigeria, they deserve handsome returns which is commensurate with the quantum of resources derived from their region. The failure to get this results in their rebellion. Kimiebi Ebienfa (2011637), in his acquittal of the militants, states that It is owing to the failure to win concessions through peaceful means that the youths in the Niger Delta have been inexorably driven to militantly protest marginalization, unemployment, development deficit and inequality. There exists a connectivity between the militant protests of the youths in Niger Delta and Irobis dramaturgy. In Irobis dramaturgy, violence is a principal tragic element that compels that mirrors the depressive social reality. The young protagonists are depicted as complex characters, manifesting frustration against a corrupt society. The violent rebellion in his works serves as an ideological way to violently relieve tyrannical oppression. In his plays, he employs violence as a suggestive therapy to jolt his audience into action. Since the heroes of his plays have already been mentally brutalized and emotionally traumatized by the oppressive leaders at the helm of affairs, the violent retaliation Irobi recommends for his heroes is justifiable..The language of his drama is combative. His plays echo Artaulds Theatre of Cruelty in suggesting that the audience should experience the theatre as an event, like the Nigerian experience of military dictatorship, which stripped the masses of their fundamental human rights, and human dignity. Inspired by the Brechtian model, Irobi seeks to blur the dividing line between the stage and the members of the audience by converting them into active participants. This validates Howard Barkers opinion on the importance of audience in Arguments for a Theatre thus It is always a case that the audience is willing to know more than the dramatist or producer trusts it with. The audience has been treated as a child even by the best theatres. It has been led to the meaning as if truth were a lunch. The theatre is not a dissemination of truth but a provider of versions. Its statements are provisional. In a time when nothing is clear, the inflicting of clarity is a state arrogance. (45). The violent rebellion in his plays, with a particular reference to Cemetery Road bears all the hallmarks of the Niger Delta crises, which must have been agitating the playwrights mind in the course of writing the play. The ethnic unrest and conflicts of the late 1990s (such as those between the Ijaw, Urhobo and Itsekiri), coupled with a peak in the availability of small arms and other weapons, led increasingly to the militarization of the Niger Delta. Local and state officials offered strong financial supports to the paramilitary groups they believed would attempt to enforce their own political agendas. A few years later, the largest military groups in the region the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force led by Mujahid Dokubo-Asari and the Niger Delta Vigilantes led by Atake Tom, emerged. Cemetery Road is a play of no mean literary stature, having won the highly prestigious and maddeningly competitive NLNG Award for Literature in 2010. The Panel of Judges of the award pays a glowing tribute, published at the blurb of the book, to the play Cemetery Road is a play about living, loving and dying for the things we hold dear. It reveals the narrow purviews of the Nigerian nation, constructs deeper insights out of our social logjams, relates with the residual heritage of the nation and rises above the penchant for tragedy which the socio-economic situation in our country predisposes every concerted consciousness. It is socially relevant in an ironically refreshing way. The dialogue crackles. Its theatricality variegated. The protagonist of the play, Mazeli, lives, loves and dies for the things he holds dearly. The play demonstrates Irobis ironic disposition towards the Nigerian government and the place of the citizen in his polluted environment. The Nigerian Voice describes Cemetery Road as An ode to dramatic craftsmanship its a work of genius that successfully navigates a complex dramatic contour it is a work worth celebrating. Isidore Diala (201134) perceives Cemetery Road as Irobis most ambitious work. Diala (201136-37) has observed Irobis yearning for laurels in an interview when he admitted wanting some validation, some recognition, and I felt that there was a lot of politics that was happening. Tragically, Irobi got the recognition post-humously, as he succumbed to cancer in 2009, a few months to his being named the winner of the NLNG Award for Literature. Remarkably, there are discernible points of convergence between Irobis life and Cemetery Road, which must necessarily interest us in this New Historicist reading of the play. Cemetery Road is centred on Irobis primary constituency-the theatre. Theatre was the centerpiece of Irobis life and career. He was a distinguished playwright, stage director, actor, literary theorist and scholar in his lifetime. He was educated at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria (UNN), the University of Sheffield and the University of Leeds, both in England, specializing in Drama, Film and Theatre Studies. He taught at UNN, the University of Leeds, and the Liverpool J. Moores University in England. In the USA, he taught at New York University, Townson University and Ohio University. Athens. He was an out and out theatre practitioner. Like Irobi, the protagonist of Cemetery Road, Mazeli, aka the Rising Sun, is a drama lecturer, actor and theatre director. In Cemetery Road, Mazeli is persecuted by Madubunjoala, a Professor of Drama, and a senior member of the Department of Theatre Arts where Mazeli lectures. One of their feisty dialogic encounters illustrates this Madubunjoala Is this the play you are going to present to The President this evening Mazeli Not exactly. This is the prelude to the play, an Appetizer for the actors and actresses. Madubunjoala You are not teaching, Dr Anyanwu. You are Indoctrinating the students into your revolutionary whims and caprices. You are turning teaching into a subversive activity and that must stop (77). The Departmental Secretary, Fatima, has earlier in the play revealed to Mazeli how she overheard Professor Madubunjoala and another Mazelis senior colleague When I was at Havard orchestrating the plan to stop Mazeli from becoming a professor and a Head of Department. Esiaba Irobi had a similar experience with Mazeli while lecturing at the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Olu Oguibe (20101) gives an account of Irobis persecution by senior members of the faculty at UNN that ultimately drove him into exile And, every so often, he took a theatre troupe on the road to perform. His troubles with his senior colleagues in the drama department did not seem to slow him down instead, it drove his exceptional industry even as it fuelled some of the violent edge that marked his work at the time. Madubujuolas monologue at the Opening Glee of Cemetery Road provides a most validating background self-portraiture of Irobis life as scholar and dramatist. Theatre serves as the veritable background against which Irobi navigates the various worlds of Africas experiences with colonialism, neocolonialism, slavery, third world politics, human rights advocacy, international espionage and the terror of military rule. Cemetery Road, like Irobis earlier plays, notably Nwokedi, Hangmen Also Die, and The Other Side of the Mask, explores the binary concern of generational hostility between the older and the growing, deprived younger generation. This is one of Irobis most enduring dramatic motifs. In Nwokedi, it is between the youthful Ekumeku age-grade and the older generation of politicians, represented by Nwokedi Snr. And Senator Arikpo. In The Other Side of The Mask, Jamike suffers from chronic depression, and ultimately commits suicide as a serious of social denial orchestrated by the deceit of senior members of the University faculty where he teaches. The bloodletting and physical violence of youth restiveness in Hangmen Also Die is also triggered by this motif. In Cemetery Road, the senior members of the University Faculty where Mazeli teaches, led by his arch-rival, Madubunjuola, contributes in no small measure to his frustration, and eventual death. The militancy struggle treated by the playwright is evident in the plays violent opening when Mazeli prints stormily onstage, pursued by two soldiers who instil a great fear in him and his pregnant fiance, Somadina A gunshot completes the sentence. The outer doors lock is shattered. The shutter caves in. Only the iron gate shields the couple from the intruders. The shadow of the soldiers fall across the room. Mazeli unlocks the iron gate. The soldiers spiill into the room. With a vengeance they begin to take it apart, tearing cushions from their covers, books from their cases, photographs from their nails on the wall, video cassettes from a rack.(11) The soldiers mission is to collect a tape recorded by two British Broadcasting Corporation correspondents, Hazel and Douglas, which Mazeli allegedly seizes as he strongly feels the content of the tape would send wrong signals about Nigeria to the international community. Mazelis action of confiscating the play is triggered by the BBC correspondents misconception of the play as a portrayal of Africa as poverty-stricken MAZELI strides out to the camera and as he begins to remove the tape Douglas (trying to stop him) What are you trying to do Mazeli (pushing him aside) This play is not about poverty. He has removed the tape. Douglas Mazeli, whats all this Mazeli Neither is it about me or my parents. As they struggle for the tape Mazeli It is rather about struggle.The struggle of the Peasants of this country who are daily humiliated by the Snobbery of the ruling class which is modelled on your Own upper middle class. The military leaders who were Trained in Sandhurst. The Beasts of Sandhurst. And the Civilian politicians the everlasting donkeys of democracy In a country where democracy means a government of Demons by demons and for demons Mazeli (gesturing violently with the tape) So, Mr Douglas Powell, if you think Mazeli Anyanwu has created a new Play which you will add to the BBC archives as another Image of Africa as the eternal basin of poverty, then you Dont have the intelligence God gave a dog (44). Cemetery Road is a subversive play as it lays premium on the capacity of drama as a revolutionary tool for African advocacy against the continual and ever-resurgent political, economic, and socio-cultural malaise of the post-colonial era. Irobi deploys the resources of the mask medium to trigger a political revolution in the play. Mazelis introduction of the mask reinforces a symbolic adaptation of the mask as an instrument of subversion of political power. There is an implication of coup plotting by Mazeli and his troupe of University drama class as they rehearse a performance to assassinate the Military President of Nigeria during a commissioned performance at Nicon Neo Niga Hotel Amina (stopping him) Excuse me, Dr. Anyanwu. (He stops) what happens to us after we have assassinated the president We will be shot, wont we Mazeli Are you afraid of death Amina We are not afraid. But we dont want to die. Mazeli You dont want to die Chorus We dont want to die, Dr. Anyanwu. Mazeli Alright, bring the mask to my house. I will be the spirit in the mask. In fact, give it to me now. (To the student in the mask). Remove it. Mask (waves his head) Dr. Anyanwu, I will not remove this mask. Mazeli Do you want to die Mask Yes, I want to die provided it is after assassinating the President. (115) In one of his most incisive essays on the elements of traditional African performance, Irobi (2006) discerns the African mask as part of the phenomenology of lived experience embodying cultural codes and symbols too complex for the comprehension of the western observer. This explains why Hazel, the BBC correspondent in the play, fails to understand the immanent metaphysical danger in photographing a dancing masquerade. Irobi makes a mockery of colonial ignorance when the BBC reporters, Douglas and Hazel, are erroneously dispatched to Nigeria to cover the story of an impending coup in Liberia Controller Hang on a second, Douglas. (listens to the other phone.) Yes. Controller of Programmes here. (pause) Shit Fucking bloody shit We sent our correspondents to Nigeria. Damn (drops the phone) Douglas, are you still there Douglas I am still here, Philip. Controller I am really sorry. You should have been in Liberia. Ive just got the sitrep from Renter. There has been a coup in Liberia. I misinformed you. (108). The reporters visit to Nigeria culminates in a concatenation of events that culminates in the eventual death of Mazeli. A State Security Officer, and an emblem of military brutality, Lawani stabs him to death, apparently in self-defence (Deftly he sidesteps. The blade misses his ribs by inches. He grabs MAZELIs wrist and, with an inbuilt reflex, twists it, turning the blade into MAZELIs body. The knife enters through his chest. MAZELI clasps the hilt together with LAWANIs hand as he slumps to the ground. The two women rush to him.) (145) In Cemetery Road, Hazels subversive conception of the mask as as a mere piece of artifact suitable for entertainment in England is promptly contained by Mazelis insightful comment on the religious function of mask. The reaction of the dancers and the Mask as Hazel makes her entry with the camera corroborates this Hazel (begins to set up and focus) Mazeli, can I record this Mazeli I am afraid you cannot. Hazel Why not Mazeli Because it is a sacrilege. Even your mere presence Here is a sacrilege. Hazel But the mask looks very interesting. Our viewers in England will be most delighted. (switches on the audio) (112). The reaction of the mask is a demonstrable representation and sign of the predictability of danger and death, as Hazel, a woman produces a camera (The Mask lets out a terrifying growl, then bellows. Begins to signal with its hands. One of the students hands him a knife. They begin to dirge. The mask advances menacingly towards her. (113) Mazeli is largely portrayed as a subversive character in Cemetery Road. When Madubunjoala accuses him of turning his teaching into a subversive activity through which he indoctrinates his students into his revolutionary whims and caprices (77), he does not deny his subversive proclivity. This comes into manifestation with his plan to employ the play he has rehearsed with his students which is to be presented before the Military President and his entourage at Nicon Neo Niga Hotel as a revolutionary tool to expose and roundly condemn the disturbingly high level of oppression and subjugation of the masses by the military rulers. The callousness of the military rulers is recreated in the play to be performed, in which the innocent peasants, the Kudingi people are massacred, mowed down, and their land is confiscated, and used in building a dam, an army barracks and a five star hotel. The commando style of descending on them is captured by the peasants thus First Peasant (animatedly) They came The government Troops In lorry loads Second Peasant Some in trucks. Others in landrovers. Third Peasant Soldiers, policemen, mobile policemen. Lead Peasant (demonstrates) All of them armed with machine guns. First Peasant Chains of bullets wound round their necks Lead Singer And it rained. It rained on our heads, our chests, our bellies and down our legs. Stranger, it rained like it has never rained here before. Everything we call our lives was eroded in that flood. Third Peasant Blood Chorus It was a flood of blood. Third Peasant Blood (28). Third Peasants experience is particularly harrowing, as she recounts The police officers in charge of detainees sprayed tear gas into my private part. They also put naked electric wire on my nipples and signed their signatures on my breast with razor blades(30). The title of the play, The Beauty of Resistance symbolizes its revolutionary ethos. Mazelis subversiveness assumes a dangerous proportion when he and his theatre arts students rehearse a performance and orchestrate a dastardly plan to assassinate the Military President of Nigeria in the course of a commissioned performance at Nicon Neo Niga Hotel. He plans to stab the President to death under the pretense of performing a play for him Lawani Does he want to commit suicide Mazeli Lawani, only cowards commit suicide. I have a higher destiny. My death must be meaningful. It will be the key to the door of the future. The key into everything that cannot be opened by Lawani Assassinate the President Mazeli It is time that trips tyrants. That time has come. (looks at his watch) The students are waiting for me outside tries to get to the door). (141) He dismisses the strident warnings of his fiance, Somadina, and Lawani to shelve the plan which is fraught with danger Lawani because the President is surrounded by at least fifty security agents trained in Israel by the MOSSAD. Armed with revolvers. You cannot get at him. Mazeli Art will show me the way. The theatre will. Lawani They will perforate you with bullets. (141-142). Mazelis subversion is contained in the text by his arrest, and eventual death. Mazelis theatre arts students are also portrayed as subversive characters in Irobis Cemetery Road. Mazeli successfully indoctrinates the spirit of subversion in his students, who demonstrate an unflinching support and cooperation with his subversive plans. Fatima, in her conversation with Somadina and Lawani unveils the students plan Fatima (after her) Have no fear, my sister, his students are right now preparing their placards. They are going to stage a demonstration at Nicon Neo Niga Hotel this evening after the independence parade. They will embarrass the President (95). Mazeli sells the idea of the subversive play and plan to his students Mazeli So you have to tell the arseholes who stand between you and what rightly belongs to you in this country what you think of them tonight. Students The Rising Sun Mazeli So my friends, this is your chance to tell the Empire of Hyenas who call themselves The Ruling Military Council of this country what fucking arseholes you think of them (83). The seed of subversion planted in them by their indefatigable lecturer, Mazeli germinates. Their subversion is contained in the text by the fact that their plan to demonstrate and cause untold embarrassment to the President in front of the world press never comes into fruition. The BBC correspondents, Hazel and Douglas are subversive, as rightly observed by Mazeli in his conversation with the two soldiers who pursue him to his apartment with a view to recovering the tape in his possession First Soldier Why then did you seize their tape They said they wrote you from England before coming down here to make the programme. Mazeli They did. But in the course of the filming I discovered they had other intentions. Second Soldier What intentions Mazeli Subversive and degrading intentions. I will explain the rest in court. A court of law(15) The subversive intentions alleged above by Mazeli prove to be their plan to add the play to the BBC archives portraying Africa as the cesspit of poverty and denigration. Their subversion is contained in the text by their inability to escape to London with the tape, following Mazelis demise. The Masks timely intervention forestalls their plan at the climactic scene of the play With incredible fury, the Mask falls on the camera, brings out the tape, smashes it on the floor, pulls out the ribbon and tears it to pieces. Pounces on the camera. HAZEL tries to help DOUGLAS. The Mask clutches at the tape in her hand, opens it, brings out the ribbon and tears it to piecesThe two correspondents are left on stage. As a dirge begins backstage, HAZEL is sobbing and DOUGLAS is visibly broken. (148). In First Cut of the play when the two soldiers pursue Mazeli to his apartment in order to dispossess him of the BBC tape, Second Soldier subverts the ideology of gentility with pregnant women. He manhandles Mazelis pregnant fiance, Somadina despite Mazelis revelation of her pregnancy First Soldier Is she pregnant Mazeli Of course Three months pregnant. Second Soldier (attacking) So what Pregnancy my yansh. (demonstrates) I will give her abortion just now. Automatic abortion (17). The Second Soldiers subversion is contained in the text by First Soldier, who cautions him. Finally, Colonels action of injecting Mazeli with a lethal substance is subversive. Lawani has earlier called him on telephone to inform him of the Presidents order to release Mazeli immediately in order to checkmate his rampaging students who are marching to the parade grounds to demonstrate to the world press against their lecturer, Mazelis arrest. He and Second Soldier disobeys this order from the Presidency, and inflicts grievous bodily injury and torture on Mazeli. Mazeli never survives from the torture. According to Foucaults discourse theory, power does not necessarily repress. It invites people to speak, to assess, and articulate themselves. Mazeli embodies this in Cemetery Road. He avails himself of the opportunity of the power he has as a university lecturer to expose and vehemently protest against the high level of rot his country has degenerated into, no thanks to the military rulers disdain for the intellectual class, and the various shades of corruption and exploitation being perpetrated in the country. The Departmental Secretary, Fatima is another articulate character in the play. Through her encounter with Mazeli, the character of Madubunjuola is foregrounded his atrocities are revealed. Professor Madubujunola is out to frustrate Mazeli out of the university system. He also wants to have an extra-marital affair with Fatima, who spurns his amorous advances. Foucaults discourse theory posits that power is not exclusively class-related it extends throughout the society. It permeates every fabric of the human society. The mask is endowed with a great deal of power in Cemetery Road. It constitutes what Elizabeth Tonkins (1979 238) referred to as repository of power. Mazeli treats the mask deferentially. The mask is deplored in the play primarily for the theatrical and performance purposes. However, Mazeli refuses to accept the mask as a mere tool for playmaking. To him, the magical and metaphysical power of the mask transcends the representational limits of drama. There is a sharp contrast between this view which sees the African mask as an embodiment of power and the western perception of the mask as a mere artifact, ideal as a piece of entertainment. When the mask is employed in a dramatic piece, its ritual components and power are not in any way compromised. Little wonder, Mazeli is unsettled by Hazels effrontery at photographing the mask. Instructively, Mazeli will rather give up the tape that paints demeaning images of Africa for which he is haunted by the State Security Services in collaboration with the British Broadcasting Services than allow Hazel to tamper with the sacredness of the mask Mazeli It is a sacrilege, Hazel. (angrily). This is not a play thing. It is a sacred spirit. How dare you take a photograph of it Look, I advise you right now, for the sake of your life, to get away from here as quickly as you can, and as far. If it is your tape that you want, go to my house, 13 Cemetery Road, and ask my fiance Somadina to give it to you. Tell her I said so(113). Irobis Cemetery Road addresses a number of power relations in the society at the period the play was written. One of these power relations is the Nigerian University lecturer-student power relations. Many Nigerian University lecturers do oppress their students. They derive sadistic pleasure in making the lives of the students miserable. This power relation is embodied in Professor Madubunjoala, who threatens the students with failure if they fail to obey his command with alacrity Madubunjola I want all of you to disappear from this classroom before the count of three OneTwo three(The students are adamant.) I will close my eyes and count to three again. Any student I find here will fail his degree exams whatever his or her present grade point average for the last three years may be(86) Mazelis humiliation, and the subsequent torture in the hands of First Soldier, Second Soldier, and Colonel is a textbook illustration of the power relations between the military class and the civilian, especially during the military dispensation which the play is set. The military era in Nigeria in the 1990s was characterized by the oppression, subjugation, and brutalization of the masses, corruption, violence and restiveness. The oppression of the masses is also evident in the drama being rehearsed by the University drama students. The peasants were dispossessed of their land and farms, to be used to build a dam, an army barracks and a five star hotel Nicon Neo Niga Hotel. They were ordered to be massacred, and were tortured while being detained, before being evacuated to the bare Kudingi village. The height of the oppression is their being given a paltry sum of one hundred and fifty naira as compensation money. The Official who is asked to distribute the compensation money of fifteen thousand naira to each citizen by the Ministry of Defence unscrupulously erased out two zeros to shortchange the frustrated citizens. He becomes visibly enraged when Mazeli makes the startling discovery Official (grabs MAZELI by the collar) Do you know what you are You are nothing but a nonentity, a scaly wag, a buffon, a nycompoop, a communist, a stupendous rabble rouser, an intellectual tissue paper, an international ignoramus. Mazeli (seizing him by the neck) And do you know what you are A noon-day thief. An armed robber. And the weapons you use are the pen, the computer and the eraser. everybody return the money. Throw it at Barabbass. (35) The power relations between two lead characters in the play, the British Broadcasting Corporation correspondents, Hazel and Douglas show that Douglas feels superior to Hazel in the power equation as far as their official assignment is concerned. One of their dialogic encounters illuminates this Hazel Isnt that what investigative journalism is all about Douglas (irate) Listen, Miss Hazel Blunt. You must watch your language. I am directing this documentary. I determine what goes into it and what stays out. And I want you to do just what I tell you to do. Right (29) This power relation between Douglas and Hazel organizes and promotes accepted social thought and behavior in which women, as represented by Hazel, are expected to be subservient to men. Power struggles run through the plot of the play. The peasants and the government agents who destroy the peasants farm are engaged in a power tussle in the play. The peasants fight gallantly for and do everything humanly possible not to be dispossessed of their farms Lead Singer (incensed) We rose in arms. For Stranger, we are a race of warriors. Our ancestors were warriors who conquered the kingdoms of the desert and the Sahel Savannah and swore to dip the Koran into the throat of the Atlantic Ocean. We are a race of warriors. A fighting people. We rose in arms. (27) In the power tussle, the bows, arrows, swords, daggers, sickles and scythes employed as weapons by the peasants could not withstand the machine guns which the government agents, who are predominantly soldiers, policemen, and mobile policemen used to overwhelm them. Another major instance of power struggle in the play is that between the protagonist, Mazeli, and his senior colleague in the University, Professor Madubunjoala. Madubunjuola, better known as When I Was At Oxford is apparently uncomfortable with Mazelis growing popularity among the students and in the university community, thanks to the community theatre project he pursues vigorously. Madubunjuola unaccountably sees Mazeli as a real threat to his position in the department in the university.The departmental secretary, Fatima alleges that Madubunjoala plans to have Mazelis file disappear in the department office, as that would put paid to any promotional ambition he may naturally nurse. The power struggle between them manifests itself in their encounter, in the presence of the students. They launch into a tirade of abuse against each other, and trade accusations. This degenerates into a fight Mazeli It is you, Professor K.G.B. Madubunjoala. You intellectual destitute(grips him by the neck) suffering from an incurable case of diminished responsibility. He wrestles him to the table and spreadeagles him on it. Raises his right hand to strike (78). Madubunjuola arguably triumphs over Mazeli in the power struggle, as Mazeli is brutally murdered, stabbed to death by Lawani, the presidents bodyguard, the Chief Security Officer of the State Security Service. The Opening Glee of the play focuses on the funeral procession in honour of Mazeli. Madubunjuola, in a derisory note, gives a speech on Mazeli. Finally, Foucaults discourse theory also examines how figures in authority employ language to express their dominance and request obedience and respect from those subordinate them. The military men in the play characteristically speaks in peremptory tone to other characters. Official threatens Mazeli thus Official (As he gathers his papers and money) I will get you, you Marxist mosquito. I will crush you with my palm. With this hand, I will flatten you into an asterisk and watch the blood of my dignity which you have sucked Gush out of your abdomen. I will get you. Wait till I get to my carI will have you arrested and put in prison for nine hundred and ninety-nine days. (35) Official, in the above speech, reduces Mazeli to a minuscule object of no consequence which he can effortlessly eliminate. The same commanding tone is copiously used by Second Soldier and Colonel while addressing Mazeli. Lawani, as the Presidents Chief Security Officer is apparently of higher rank than Colonel, speaks to Colonel peremptorily Colonel But sir, we have already Lawani Listen, you over inflated football bladder, if you dont release him immediately, I will recommend you to the President for demotion. Yes, demotion. To the rank of Civilian. Colonel (gestures to the SECOND SOLDIER frantically). I am sorry. Sir. Very, very sorry. Sir. (103). Mazeli also speaks authoritatively to Douglas in their altercation over the recording of the play to be staged to entertain the President and his entourage at the Nicon Neo Nuga Hotel Mazeli Douglas, I will appreciate it if you mind your business, which is the camera, and leave the play to me. (authoritatively) I am in charge here I created this play and I know what I want in it and what I do not want. (38) Analysis of Play Text Against Stage Performance Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road was performed on 29 July 2015 in the Department of Theatre Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Abuja. The stage performance was directed by Dr Olympus Ejue, a lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Abuja. It was staged at Open Air Theatre (Mini Campus), University of Abuja. The set design of the stage performance is awesome. The set designer does a marvelous job of creating a vivid and realistic/naturalistic setting of Dr Mazeli Anyanwu, a university lecturers apartment. The demand is to make a construction which could serve as an exterior of a house as well as the interior. The demand here is creating transitions between scenes without necessarily breaking the dramatic flow. As indicated in the text, there is a short flight of steps in the set, which leads up to a well-decorated bedroom. (8). According to the stage direction of the text On the walls are graduation photographs, the posters of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Thomas Sankara and a huge oil painting of the legendary female warrior of Zaria, Queen Amina, on a white horse. (8) In the performance, only the graduation photographs are displayed on the walls. There are several points of convergence between the dramatic text and the stage performance. First, the stage director religiously follows the sequence of incidents in the dramatic text. To depict the cinematographic overtones or intentions in his dramaturgy, Irobi employs the word Cut instead of Scene in the play. The play is divided into ten cuts. The sequence of incidents in the text is not ruptured in the performance. Also, there is no additional introduction of characters in the performance. For instance, the First Cut of the text involves Mazeli, Somadina, First Soldier and Second Soldier. The stage performance enacts the same number of characters. Also, in the Sixth Cut of the text, there is an encounter between Mazeli and Fatima, the Departmental Secretary. In the performance, we have the same set and number of characters. Another point of convergence between the text and the performance is that, to a large extent, the actors in the performance deliver the lines in the text. There are minimal variations between the lines in the text and the performance. As much as possible, the actors lines approximate the lines of the characters they play in the text. In addition, the theatre director largely follows the stage directions given by the playwright, with slight modifications here and there. Differences abound between the text and the stage performance. These will be highlighted. First, in the transformation of the play from playtext to performance text, the director edited out the Opening Glee, Closing Glee, and the Fourth, Eight, Ninth, and Tenth Cuts in the text are not enacted in the stage performance. In addition, several episodes in some cuts in the play are also not enacted on stage. This, however, did not affect the plot of the play, as the audience is able to comprehend the storyline. The core scenes of the play which constitute the kernel of the storyline are not tampered with by the director. Furthermore, in a sharp contrast with the text, the stage performance opens with the performance and dancing of six girls. The rendition of the songs was done in Hausa language. This is largely informed by the location of the stage production, Abuja, which is predominantly occupied by the Hausa people. The fact that First Soldier and Second Soldier employs Hausa intonation in the delivery of their lines, and often injects Hausa words in their lines buttresses this point. The girls wear same costume. The choreography is excellent and the audience is electrified by the performance which lasts for roughly eight minutes. Their stage movement is awesome. Their exit from the stage is followed by the appearance of eighteen actors and actresses, costumed in white, glowing dress. They are tucked in a corner of the stage all through the performance. Six of them drum, while the rest sing and dance, as they sing We dey go Cemetery Road, We dey go Cemetery Road Let us go let us go Cemetery Road Let us go let us go Cemetery Road. The song, which is embedded with the plays title, is punctuated by the solidarity statements We must stand for what we know we must stand for what we believe This set of drummers and dancers (let us refer to them as dancing troupe) supply background songs all through the stage performance. The next scene of the performance opens with Somadina eating on the dining table. In contrast, the stage direction of the text states that Somadina, 30, is struggling into a white, Pearl-encrusted and finely-embroidered wedding gown. (8) Many of the lines of the characters in the text are edited out in the performance. This is evident in all the cuts of the play. The soldiers create few lines in the performance which is not in the text. An example is Second Soldiers line They call me Sergeant Cha Cha Cha. Unlike in the text, First Soldier smokes cigarettes in the opening scene of the stage performance. Two ladies play the role of the refridgerator which is opened by the soldiers to help themselves to bottles of beer. The audience laugh uproariously during the opening and closing of the fridge. Also, while both soldiers drink the beer in the fridge in the performance, only First Soldier drinks in the text. The synergy and connectivity on stage between the soldiers is commendable. Second Cut of the text is also different from its corresponding scene in the performance. The peasants all brandish cutlasses on stage which are employed in their violent but carefully choreographed war dance. Apart from Lead Singer, the peasants share their lines indiscriminately that is, not necessarily as stated in the text. The Choruss line It was a flood of bood (28) in the text, is accompanied by a song by the dancing troupe Heavy sorrow tears and blood Their regular trademark. Their regular trademark oh Their regular trademark. This song is culled from an album waxed by the late Nigerian Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, which ruled the airwaves in the 1990s. The chart-busting album is entiltled Zombie. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was an inveterate critic of the Nigerian military government a thorn in their flesh, who was indefatigable in his exposure of the phalanx of atrocities committed by the military rulers in Nigeria in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. Verisimilitude is accomplished in the stage performance by the fact that the two characters who play the role of the British Broadcasting Corporation correspondents, Hazel and Douglas, are not only discernibly light-complexioned, but also speak in Received Pronunciation. Punctuating lines delivered by actors with relevant songs is the hallmark of the dancing troupe. They sing with gusto, and entertain the audience with their dance. Their songs typically capture the message embodied in the actors lines. When Third Peasant states detainees sprayed tear gas into my private part.(30), the dancing troupe sing Ah we dey suffer for this land We no go gree. The coins poured into the peasants bowls by Douglas in the text are replaced by notes in the performance. There are a couple of variation in figures mentioned between the text and the performance. In the text, Mazeli is flabbergasted that a paltry sum of one hundred and fifty naira is the compensation money for the peasants. (33).This figure is replaced in the performance with one thousand five hundred naira. The two million naira mentioned in the text (36) is replaced by seven million naira in the stage performance. In a similar vein, the half a million naira mentioned by Mazeli in the text (38) is replaced by a whopping sum of 70 million naira in the stage performance. The change in the figures is most probably informed by the interval between the first publication of the play (2010) and the stage performance (2015). Due to inflation and other economic factors whose details are beyond the scope of this analysis, the value of the monetary figures quoted in the text have depreciated. The change of the figures adds plausibility to the performance. While the text simply states the voice of a muezzin begins the call for the Muslims evening prayer.(41), the muezzins voice is heard in the performance Alahu Akbar (God be praised). Mazelis statement in a dialogic encounter with his fiance, Somadina And if it comes to war, we will die in equal numbers.(49) is accompanied by his squatting, and shooting an imaginary gun like a soldier in the performance. Mazelis facial expression and body language in the performance in the scene involving Somadinas Mother clearly shows his disapproval of Somadinas Mother and the church led by a choir conductors visit. Ironically, the audience finds the scene quite hilarious, as the choir introduces a couple of gospel songs in the stage performance which are not in the text. An example is Chineke ndimah God is good Chinke ndimah. God is good Several lines are freely manufactured in this scene in the performance. The Third Cut is coalesced with the Fifth cut in the performance. They flow seamlessly into each other. The dancing troupe ends the scene with a sombe song. Fourth Cut is not enacted on stage. The Sixth Cut which is an encounter between Mazeli and the Departmental Secretary, Fatima, is another enthralling scene to the audience in the performance. Fatimas sense of humour is infectious. According to the stage direction of text, Mazeli is in the classroom, battling with the setting up of a projector and its screen (63). In the performance, Mazeli sits in his office, reading. At this point in the performance, the director introduces six silent characters into the play. They wear dark clothes and introduce a semblance eeriness into the atmosphere of the play. They back the audience. Fatima spices up her lines occasionally with expressions in her native Yoruba language. When Mazeli tells Fatima You know I dont indulge in gossip. (66), Fatima replies After you don hear everything finish. This hilarious statement is not in the text. She now faces the dancing troupe, and instructs them Help me give am. With accustomed gusto, the dancing troupe responds with a song Ah aah aah Mazeli no wan hear the tori. The power relation between these two actors is established on stage. Mazeli sits and occasionally stands, while Fatima stands all through, as she is subordinate to Mazeli. Fatima freely manufactures lines not in the text. An example is when she says Unless Im ready to do the do. In contrast with the text, Mazeli breaks into a song in the scene involving him and Fatima. The dancing troupe serves as chorus to his song, and Fatima enthusiastically joins him in the singing of the song I am born to win I am born to win I have been lost and found Tossed up and down Chorus By the sun I am a rising sun The sun never sets But the man walks away Chorus By the light. The song reflects Mazelis nickname, the Rising Sun and his ideologies. Mazeli also breaks into a song when the soldiers come to arrest him allegedly on the Presidents order for being in possession of the BBC tape. When First Soldier queries him Do you think you can block our ways Mazeli breaks into a song which decries the disturbingly high level of oppression in the country I will never block anybodys way I will never block anybodys path Let them live, let me also live God is my partner Jehovah me. Chorus Jehovah me youre my partner Mazelis song continues Why is the world filled with evil Why is the heart of man wicked Why will a dog eat a dog Why will a Cain kill an Abel Jehovah Lord Tell me why why why. Chorus Tell me the answer. Remarkably, all the actors on stage remain motionless in the course of Mazelis song. This freezing enhances the sinking in of the messages of the song. The dancing troupe launches the audience into the encounter between Somadina and the Presidents Chief Security Officer, Lawani with the militant song Authority Oh yes Authority Acting by force Authority Oh yes Authority Acting by force. In the text, Lawani comes to Mazelis apartment alone. However, he comes with First Soldier in the performance, whom he orders to search frantically for Mazeli. First Soldier exits from the stage after failing to find Mazeli. The encounter between Somadina and Lawani is prolonged in the text. Conversely, it is brief in the performance. In the text, Lawani pulls out a pistol from the portfolio, brandishes it and puts it back. (71). In the performance, he does nothing of such. According to the stage direction of the text Lawani opens his portfolio and brings out a wedding gown, a silver necklace, a gold ring, a pair of white shoes and puts them on the table. (75) In the performance, only a wedding gown is brought out. Lawani breaks into a contemporaneous romantic song, and the dancing troupe characteristically serves as chorus From the day I met you girl You have made me to be In my life Oh baby Chorus I love you For the rest of my life Chorus I love you. Lawani also mimics another popular song in Nigeria sung by Lagbaja, a hip hop sensation in Nigeria in the late 1990s Soma baby Anything for me Somadina responds Lawani Nothing for you. She shoves Lawani away when he makes amorous advances towards her. All in all, the scene is quite hilarious, and it neutralises the tension and charged atmosphere which has built up in the course of the stage performance. The dancing troupe prepares the audience for the next scene which involves Mazeli and his theatre arts students with their germane song Na only one course I want to read oh Na only one course I want to read Na only one course I want to read oh Na only one course I want to read Heeh I want to read theatre Heeeh I want to read theatre Heee eee eeh I want to read theatre (x3ce) In the encounter between Fatima and Madubunjuola, Fatima laces her speech with Yoruba language, and also sings, roundly condemning Madubunjuolas pestering of her life. Mazelis torture in Seventh Cut of the text is graphically portrayed in the performance. Mazelis torture apparently touches the audience who maintain a total silence all through the scene. Mazeli is bloodied, pumelled, and gasped for breadth, as his resistance gets broken in the course of the beating. The application of electric pressing iron on his body, and of his crotch really impel the audiences pity. Periodically, Colonel addresses Second Soldier as Cha cha cha This is not in the text.For the first time in the performance, the six silent characters look back, face Mazeli, and say in unison Aahhhh Unlike in the text, Mazeli drops dead in the performance after the torture which climaxes with the lethal injection administered to him by Colonel, whose nerves remain deadened while on stage. The Eight and Ninth Cuts in the text are replaced by Mazelis lying-in-state in the performance. Four pall bearers carry Mazelis corpse in a casket. A few young men blow the trumpets, chilling out popular burial songs to match the occasion. Mazelis students, Fatima, and Madubunjuola all attend the occasion. Somadima rolls on the floor, and weeps inconsolably. A pastor, whose white costume contrasts sharply with the black costumes of all other characters preach briefly, as the pall bearers drop the casket on the floor. He sermonizes, reading a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes. The moment he completes his sermon, the pall bearers carry the casket away. Somadima and some of the students remain on stage. They position themselves strategically. Somadima delivers some lines about freedom Freedom we come If only we choose to fight. The dancing troupe convert the message into a song, and perform briefly. In unison, Somadima and all the other characters on stage remove their black clothes, and are left with T-shirts. Somadima sings Freedom is coming The chorus joins Tomorrow. They all raise their hands, and perform the song for a reasonable spell of time. They suddenly become motionless, signifying the completion of the play. Other actors join them on stage as the curtain call is done. The audience applauds them in admiration. The costumes used in the play serve the purposes of individuating the characters, and depicting the cultural background and the prevailing atmosphere of the play. The actors professions are reflected in the costumes. The soldiers and colonel wear military uniforms, and brandish guns most of the time. The peasants wear threadbare clothes to depict their miserable existence. The Sarki is heavily turbanned, like a Shariah law judge. Hazel and Douglas dress like journalists, and go about with journalism paraphernalia-camera, video recorder, writing materials, etc. During the lying-in-state for Mazeli, all the actors on stage, with the exception of the pastor, wear black clothes-a symbol of mourning. The costumes also harmonise with the background of the set. The stage lighting is put to an effective use in the performance. It perfectly reflects the timing of the various incidents. The darkness on stage in the opening scene, for instance, is a clear indication that the time of the day is dusk. There is usually brightness on stage in scenes happening in day time. In addition, the stage lighting effectively trains the audiences eyes into the actors or aspects of the scenes which the director wants the audience to view at any particular point in time. The casting is also fantastic. All the actors deliver their roles well enough, and are noticeably professional and experienced on stage. Without mincing words, the director of the stage production of Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road demonstrates a mastery of the art of directing. This is evident in the success of the stage production. Interview With The Director of the Stage Performance The director of the stage production of Cemetery Road discussed above, Dr Olympus Ejue granted an interview with rhis researcher. Enjoy it. Can you please tell us about your background Let us know you better. My name is Olympus G. Ejue, Ph.D. I had my Masters degree at the University of Ibadan, while my first degree and doctoral from the University of Abuja. Presently, I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Abuja, where I teach directing and acting. As a theatre director with years of experience, how challenging, and how rewarding has the theatre directing profession been As a theatre director practicing in a literary theatre, the challenges have been a daunting task. It has been like production with tears. This is especially so, because the role of planning and organizing, training and guiding amateur actors in a production is solely yours. Besides, our literary theatres are not properly equipped with the required paraphernalia for any reasonable stage production. There is poor funding and some sort of lackadaisical attitude by University management for theatre activities. Imagine that, getting the nitty-gritty like props, sets, costumes, especially as mentioned in the script was problematic. However, one gets some form of respite when one sees actors out there trained by you. Also that some of them are struggling to further their acting and directing careers in the larger society. The first thing that fascinates me about your stage production of Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road is the set design. The play has a peculiar set design. How did you accomplish that Plays are more than just words. In fact, they are also about the images that can meet your eyes as an audience member. I considered the image of a magnificent story-building as what would fascinate my audience, hence I went for it. Besides, sometimes you need to listen to the playwrights thoughts. Therefore, using the scenery element that would capture the dramatic action most probably warranted the storey-building. In conjuction with my design students, I had gone online to check out a few storey-buildings and modifying one to suit our purpose on stage. To what extent did you tamper with the play-text in the stage performance After scrutinizing the overall thrust of the play, its theme, point of view, and other implications, the need to tamper with the text became necessary. One was compelled to tamper with at least twenty percent of the play-text. A number of scenes in the text are not enacted in the performance, especially the later scenes involving the Mask. What informs that As an interpretative director, I realised that producing the play the way it is would not take less than three hours on stage. Irobi writes a lot, you know. I was worried whether the duration will match the interest level of the script, or whether it will lead to an anti-climax at the end of the performance. Rather, I concentrated more on the salient points of the play to the audience. What I considered would leave a stunning message which will follow the audience home at the end of the performance was where more emphasis was laid. What informs your infusion of plenty of songs and drumming in the stage production Again my production philosophy which considered the taste of the audience in the total theatre played out. Owing to the power of music and songs in a production, I decided to employ their usage maximally.Songs created and rendered in the play were indeed subsumed in series of popular musical tunes that the ausience were already familiar with. This got them participating in the dramatization on stage. Your casting is impressive. Douglas and Hazel speak Received Pronunciation. Mazeli, Fatrima, and others deliver their roles well enough. How did you accomplish that Understanding and interpreting a play requires a director having an impression about character details who they are what they do their background what they sound like what they want, etc. Therefore, for a character like Mazeli, Somadina and Lawani, who needed to sing in the play, their being cast for a role was occasioned by how they looked in terms of body-build and their mental power or skill to sing well. For Douglas and Hazel, I had to make them preview a film that informed the adoption of the kind of Received Pronunciation witnessed on stage when they rendered their lines. It was more of a psychological build-up for most of the actors. Looking at then thrust of the play, Mazeli was made to also preview certaing films that had to do with military dictatorship and paradigms of revolutionary change like Sarafina in order to prepare his state of mind for the task ahead. As a director, I saw most of the actors as characters in the play and also their ability to interpret their roles before I assigned roles to them. What peculiar challenges did you encounter in the course of the production I struggled to apply what Greg Pak calls Action Verb, a situation which needed a principle for director-actor relationship in which the realization of the entire play becomes a process that tells a story dramatically rather than didactically. In other words, rather than talk about results, I concentrated on talking about the process. This can help solve the problem of a director who does not know what he actually wants from his actors, especially when they actors are amateurs. Also, that Irobis language is dense and deep at times, therefore playing the role of a dramaturg appeared an additional challenge. Then, of course, the general attitude of indiscipline common amongst actors in literary theatre was there for me to contend with. What is the audience response in the course of the production The audience response was very receptive. To underscore this point, the Department had filled in the play as their entry for the next convocation. CHAPTER SEVEN SUMMARY, FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION 7.0. Introduction In this concluding chapter of the thesis, our focus shall be on the summary, findings and conclusion. The summary of what has been done in the previous chapters will be given. This will be followed by the highlighting of the catalogue of findings which have been made in the course of the research, and the writing of the thesis. Finally, the conclusion on the thesis, which is on the nexus between text and performance in selected African plays will be drawn. 7.1. Summary This work foregrounds the nexus between text and performance in African drama, using eight African plays as a case study. The eight purposively selected plays areTewfil Al Hakims Fate of a Cockroach,, Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa, Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road, Francis Imbugas Betrayal in the City, Athol Fugards Blood Knot, Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja, Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, and Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman. The study is grounded in New Historicism theory. New Historicism is an approach to literature that emphasizes the interaction between a works historical context and a modern readers understanding and interpretation of the work.(Michael Meyer, 718). Clifford Geertzs thick description, Foucaults discourse theory and Stephen Greenblatts subversion-containment dialectic provided the analytical models for the study. These modes are few of the analytical models under New Historicism. The suitability of these models for the study is borne out of the fact that the primary texts employed in the study, and their stage performances illuminate incidents, explore themes, and develop characters which illustrate some of the tenets of these analytical models. The models are not arbitrarily selected. For instance, power struggle and power relations-a basic tenet of one of the analytical models, Foucaults discourse theory- runs through practically all the primary texts of the study, albeit to varying degrees. The work is divided into seven distinct chapters for clarity. In the opening chapter, a general introduction and background of the study are discussed. The chapter enables us to identify the research aim and objectives, state the research methodology and research problems, and justify the need for the research. In chapter two of the thesis, a review of relevant literature on the thesis is done. Since text and performance form the kernel of the study, chapter three of the work, which is aptly entitled African Textuality and Performance Aesthetics in Drama, affords us the opportunity of giving the concepts of text and performance a closer scrutiny. The demystification of the concepts of text and performance serves as a launch pad for the analyses of the text and performance in each of the primary texts in the subsequent chapters of the work. In chapter four, the nexus between text and performance in three of the primary texts is discussed. The texts are Toyin Abioduns The Trials of Afonja, Ola Rotimis Kurunmi, and Athol Fugards Blood Knot. The pattern of the analyses is systematic. Each of the dramatic texts is critically evaluated, using the analytical models of the study. This is followed by a comparative analysis between the dramatic text and the stage performance. The points of convergence and divergence between each of the play texts and the stage performances are critically examined. This enables us to foreground the complexity of the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone Africxan drama. The same pattern is employed in chapters five and six. In chapter five, the nexus between text and performance in Efo Kodjo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman, Efua Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa, and Francis Mawugbes Betrayal in the City is discussed. The primary focus of chapter six is the nexus between text and performance in Tewfik Al Hakims Fate of a Cockroach and Esiaba Irobis Cemetery Road. 7.2. Findings Several findings are made in the course of the research. Text and performance are inextricably interwoven. Text, according to Roland Barthes (198132) Is the phenomenal surface of the literary work it is the fabric of the words which make up the work and which are arranged in such a way as to impose a meaning which is stable and as far as possible unique. By implication, text guarantees the stability of meaning. This is debatable. According to deconstruction theory, a text can generate a battery of meanings due to the basic conflicting forces within a text (M.H. Abrams, 2005). An undeniable fact, however, is that there is at least a reasonable measure of stability in the text. Conversely, performance is susceptible to the trickery of speech, and to a high level of variation. Performance can never be repeated with exactitude. The re-enactment on stage of each of the dramatic performances employed in this study by the same set of actors and directors would result in demonstrable variations. The fluidity and unstability of the performance is as a result of its being shaped by the aesthetic taste and interpretation of the play directors and actors (Fashina, 2007120) Nemirovich-Danchenko (193798) mentions the dictatorial will of directors in stage productions. This dictatorial will is characteristically imposed by theatre directors in the process of transforming the play text to performance text. Remarkably, directors demonstrate varying levels of the imposition of this dictatorial will. In other words, while some do it marginally, some are more daring and adventurous in doing it. This dictatorial will is interrelated with the extent to which the play text is ruptured or tampered with in the performance. The variation of the dictatorial will is observed in the study. It is, perhaps, most glaring in the stage performance of Fugards Blood Knot, a play with two characters in the text. In the performance, an extra character is introduced. It takes a daring director to introduce an additional actor to a play with such a limited cast-two characters. The additional character plays the role of an actor and a director, supervising the proceedings on stage, and coaching the actors in the course of the performance. The coaching of the actors in a real life performance is very rare. It heightens the performance considerably. It is also very strong in the stage performances of Abioduns The Trials of Afonja, Irobis Cemetery Road, and Rotimis Kurunmi. In separate interviews with the stage directors of The Trials of Afonja, and Cemetery Road, the directors admit tampering with the dramatic texts considerably for aesthetic reasons which are the hallmarks of stage performances. The interviews are on appropriate pages of the thesis. Evidently, the directors of stage performances typically focus on cardinal issues in the dramatic texts which must be foregrounded in the performance. In Blood Knot, the pen pals relationship, foot washing, and role play are central to the projection and subtle condemnation of apartheid in the play. The play is set in the 1960s, a terrible time in South African history, the era of Apartheid government. In the system of apartheid, the people of South Africa were divided by their race and the races were forced to live apart from each other. The strictures between Morris and Zachariah inexorably play out, as their diverse skin colours make the light-skinned Morris to be disdainful of his dark-skinned brother, Zachariah. The director of Efe Kodjo Mawugbes In the Chest of a Woman is preoccupied with the projection of the strong, innate desire of women to hold and use power, and challenge the pervasive patriarchy in African societies. The focus of the director of Sutherlands The Marriage of Anansewa is on the unscrupulousness of Ananse who enriches himself by collecting money and gifts from four suitors who seek his daughter, Anansewas hands in marriage. The director of Mawugbes Betrayal in the City is primarily concerned with the negative effects of military dictatorship on the masses, and the disturbingly high level of corruption that usually characterizes military dictatorship. Kafira is a symbolic representation of African countries whose citizens have been oppressed, subjugated, and impoverished by their dictatorial, clueless leaders, like Boss in the play. The power struggle between Ibikunle and Ogunmola, the Ibadan-Ijaye war, and Kurunmis tragic experience and disgraceful death are paramount to the director of Rotimis Kurunmi. The power struggle between Alaafin Aole and Afonja is central to the dramaturgy of the director of Abioduns Afonja. In Irobis Cemetery Road, the director dispenses with the mask scenes at the later stage of the play a pointer to the fact that they are not central to his artistic concern. He focuses on the salient points of the play, especially the grueling experience, and the circumstances culminating in Mazelis death in the play. In Osofisans Women of Owu, the wailings and lamentation of the survivors of the Owu war, the Owu women as they are about to be taken away for slavery are foregrounded by the director. From the study, it is revealed that the theatre directors do not edit out scenes from the dramatic texts arbitrarily. It is done with utmost care. Scenes which are edited out in the performance are scenes which when not enacted on stage, would not distort the dramatic flow, or hamper the delivery of the message to the audience. Furthermore, more of points of divergence and less of points of convergence are observed in the comparative analyses of the text and performance in the majority of the plays examined in the study. The import of this is that, in the process of transforming a play from play text to performance text, theatre direcors characteristically tamper considerably with the dramatic text. This also demonstrates the complexity of the interplay between text and performance in Anglophone African drama. Another major finding made in the study is the power of music and songs in stage productions. Music and songs are copiously deployed in practically all the productions, excepting Betrayal in the City, which has minimal music and songs. Some of the plays already have music and songs embedded in the dramatic texts. These songs are not only performed in the productions, but additional songs are created. Characteristically, the productions have particular central songs which are song repeatedly in the course of the production. For instance, the central song in the production of Cemetery Road is We dey goooooo Cemetery Road We dey gooooo Cemetery Road Let us go, let us go Cemetery Road Let us go let us go Cemetery Road. The central song of the production of Abioduns The Trials of Afonja goes like this Itan ilu Ilorin ree oh Itan Afonja Okunrin ogun. These songs filter off-stage periodically. They are well-composed, as they capture the main thrust of the play. Music and songs are so powerful and invaluable in stage performances that they are employed even in plays which originally do not have it. Blood Knot has no song or music in the text. Music and songs are infused into the performance. Zachariah sings and dances with Charles, the third character when he remembers the fun-filled Friday nights he used to share with Minnie, prior to Morris joining him in the shack in Korsten. Mazeli composes a number of songs in the production. Ananse, Anansewa, other actors, and the players sing greatly in the production of The Marriage of Anansewa. Many scenes in several of the productions are opened with off-stage songs which send appropriate signals on events that would unfold in the scene, or what is happening in the scene. The actors and actresses utilize every opportunity to sing and perform on stage. The costumiers and make-up artistes in the productions do marvelous jobs of ensuring that the costumes depict the socio-cultural backgrounds of the plays, and individuating the characters, if the need be, and giving approximate reflections or depictions of the roles they play. Kurunmi and Afonja dress like war Generals when going to war. The Yoruba chiefs in the productions of Kurunmi and The Trials of Afonja dress like one. Okomfo, a priest of the shrine in the production of In the Chest of a Woman is costumed like a priest in the shrine, while Ama Ekyaas costume in the same production depicts her like a princess. First Soldier and Second Soldier in the production of Cemetery Road are costumed in military outfits. The costumes employed in the productions of The Marriage of Anansewa and In the Chest of a Woman depict their Ghanaian settings. The stage lighting was also put to effective usage in the productions examined in the study. The mood and atmosphere of the scenes in the productions are created through the stage lighting. The attention of the audience is also directed to particular parts of the stage or particular characters in the course of the productions. Also, through the stage lighting, the audience are able to have ideas of the particular periods of the day the actions occur. In Blood Knot, the stage darkens after Morris creads the bible, meaning it is nightfall, and time to sleep. In the opening scene of Cemetery Road, Mazeli enters his apartment at night, being pursued by the soldiers, over his possession of the BBC tape. The casting of the productions are also impressive. Most of the actors deliver their roles marvelously in the productions. The directors also pay verisimilitude into cognizance. The roles of Alimi and Kaosarat are played by light-skinned actors in the production of The Trials of Afonja. Alimi and Kaosarat are Fulani, and Fulani people are normally remarkably light-skinned. A white man plays the role of Morris (light-skinned in the text), while a black man plays the role of Zachariah (dark-skinned in the text) in the production of Blood Knot. It is an axiomatic fact that availability of funds goes a long way in determining the quality of stage productions. Since a single production is juxtaposed with each of the primary text in this study, we, as much as possible, settle for productions of high quality. This is with a view to strengthening the quality of the research, and the future potential applications of the insights from the study. 7.3 Conclusion Dramatists are conscious of the compelling need for the performance of their dramatic texts. They often look forward to when their play texts would go on stage, and become fully realised in actual performance. The study has given a better understanding on the various definitions of text and performance that earlier scholars like Roland Barthes, Jonathan Culler , Michel Serres and Margaret Drewal have done. It has also foregrounded the nexus between text and performance, with a particular reference to African plays. The findings made in the study on the stage performances of the selected African plays represent what could have been discovered in the comparative analyses of the texts and performances and several other African plays. The study validates the assertion of H.D.F Kiito (1964) that focusing alone on the dramatic text, and neglecting the performance, translates to a neglect of a major part of the evidence in dramatic communication. The stage performance of the dramatic texts considered in this study illuminate how performances blow life into the text, and even enhance the comprehension of the dramatic texts. A recent trend of the staging of plays recommended in Literature in English by the West African Examination Council buttresses the afore-stated claim. The growing popularity of this is an eloquent testimony of the axiomatic fact that watching of the stage performances go a long way in the enhancement of the comprehension of dramatic texts. The research has also proved that, the fact that the directors of the plays typically maintain the storylines of the dramatic texts, shows that the directors acknowledge the fact that the play text is the raw material which they rely on, and then transform to performance text on stage. Invariably, the literary critic should examine and explicate on the similarities and the lines of difference between text and performance and help the society to reconcile perhaps the gap between dramatic text, as presented by the playwrights and actual performance on stage, as presented by the directors. Thus, the literary critic is forensic in his approach so that his scholarly mediations of the missing gaps between text and performance is accounted for and possibly reconciled. From production to production, every performer redefines the nature of the performed text. The purpose of performance conversely becomes a generator of intensified experience for all who participate in it, rather than only the activity and experience of the performing artists. In view of this, the director has a responsibility to the audience, who also has a responsibility to the actors. Acting is a transactional act which demands that the audience offer something in return for the actors labour. What the actor requires to fuel his performance, as validated in this study, is attention, an intense concentration, which though not physical is perceptible and infectious. This study validates that text and performance are interwoven and intertwined. The study has led to the conclusion that there is a compelling need for literary critics and scholars of African dramatic texts to develop a greater interest in the stage performances of the dramatic texts in their researches on African drama. 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