By Osita Okagbue

African Theatres & Performances seems to be at 4 particular functionality varieties in Africa and makes use of this to query the tendency to hire western frames of connection with study and savour theatrical functionality. The ebook examines:

  • masquerade theatre in jap 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 every one functionality intimately and discusses how every one is made, who it truly is made via 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 response to first-hand statement 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 distinctive and expressive in their cultural context.

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Extra resources for African Theatres and Performances

Example text

The climax of this collage of moving images and bodies was the energetic dance of the two animals in which they swirled, jumped, galloped and danced while the actors inside still managed to keep to the rhythm together and suggest the movements of the respective animals. This brought loud claps and applause from the audience, who were well aware of how difficult it was to achieve such teamwork. The cheers and music built to a crescendo before crashing to bring the performance to an end. In the background, other 34 Mmonwu: Igbo masquerade theatre individual masquerades were also keeping the audience occupied on their own – dancing, singing satiric songs, engaging in comic banter, or trying to intimidate the spectators into giving them money.

The second compound was where the Ochammili (Giraffe), Anukaibie (Zebra), and Akum (Hippopotamus) masquerades were being readied for the day’s performance. Akum belonged to another theatre group. When the procession had arrived at the second compound, the music changed to the quicker icho mmonwu beat again, to which dancers, masquerades and a few spectators heartily joined in and kept dancing until the first animal character emerged from its enclosure. Anukaibie, the zebra, was performed by two actors – one person was the fore legs and front, the other the hind legs and rear – thus movement and dance had to be carefully coordinated between the two.

Arising from this also is the need to have police characters or marshals whose performance/responsibility is to ensure that, despite this shifting spatial relations, spectators leave enough room for the actors to perform. Igbo masking theatre exhibits all these qualities of non-permanence in many ways and ultimately, the performances leave behind traces of themselves only in the memories of the spectators, unlike in Western theatre where there are scripts and scores which predate and outlive a performance.

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