Osita Okagbue's African Theatres and Performances PDF

African American Studies

By Osita Okagbue

ISBN-10: 0415304539

ISBN-13: 9780415304535

African Theatres & Performances appears at 4 particular functionality types in Africa and makes use of this to query the tendency to hire western frames of connection with research and savour theatrical functionality. The booklet examines:

  • masquerade theatre in japanese Nigeria
  • the trance and ownership ritual theatre of the Hausa of Northern Nigeria
  • the musical and oral culture of the Mandinka of Senegal
  • comedy and satire of the Bamana in Mali.

Osita Okagbue describes each one functionality intimately and discusses how every one is made, who it really is made by means of and for, and considers the connection among maker and viewer and the social features of functionality and theatre in African societies. The discussions are in line with first-hand remark and interviews with performers and spectators.

African Theatres & Performances supplies a desirable account of those practices, conscientiously tracing the ways that performances and theatres are exact and expressive in their cultural context.

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Example text

But first, the group had to search for the masquerades – this phase is known as icho mmonwu. The musicians continued with the slow rhythm for a while before they rose and began circling the compound – there were five dancers in front, followed by five instrumentalists and one singer. All of them wore yellow T-shirts and short brown skirts underneath which they wore khaki shorts. On the front of each T-shirt was painted a bold image of a giraffe (ochammili) on top of the group’s name. The rhythm suddenly changed to a faster beat and the dancers in response changed to energetic and rhythmic stamping, running and dancing, as they frantically looked everywhere and called out loudly to the masquerades to appear.

Of course, this often led to mini stampedes as the women rushed to get away from ‘her’ – it is the tradition that women and the uninitiated always run away from masked figures. While all this was going on, Akuezuozo (also known as Ezemmo or king of the masquerades) arrived with his retinue of about six – made up of his flutist, and personal assistants. Akuezuozo is also regarded as the archetypal ancestor and hence the respect he enjoys and his role as the custodian of the community’s cultural heritage and patron of the festival.

They are also contexts for training. This may explain why they are usually very long – a process that can take from between six months to, sometimes, more than a year to learn a new performance. Curiously enough, the informality, which characterizes many other aspects of Igbo masking, is often discarded for more formally structured stages of a rehearsal process. Every group goes through these stages, beginning with the first decision of which masked play/performance a group wishes to learn. The next stage is preliminary exchange of visits between the teaching group and the learning group.

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African Theatres and Performances by Osita Okagbue


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