Description : This collection brings together essays written over a thirty-five year period. They reflect James Gibbs's position vis-à-vis the Ghanaian theatre as sometimes a remote onlooker, sometimes an enthusiastic participant observer, deeply involved in issues of perception and influence in a society moving through colonialism to nationalism, independence and beyond. The main body of the book is divided into four sections. The first, “Outsiders and Activists,” looks at theatre for community development during the late 1940s, some connections between drama and film, and the astonishing involvement in Ghanaian performance culture of the Haitian poet and playwright Felix Morisseau–Leroy. The second section, “Intercultural Encounters,” examines ways in which classic Greek drama has been used by producers and writers in West Africa, with special reference to Victor Yankah, Kobina Sekyi (Ghana's first published playwright), and the Nigerian Femi Osofisan. Section Three, “Plays and Playwrights,” concentrates on Efua Sutherland, Ama Ata Aidoo, and Joe de Graft. This section uncovers issues of documentation and achievement that draw attention to the need for investment in organising resources for writing Ghana's theatre history. The volume draws to a close with personal accounts of touring student productions in the 1960s (with due attention to the influence of Bertolt Brecht) and of involvement in a British film production on location. The book closes with an updated complete bibliography of Ghana's chief dramatist, Efua Sutherland.
Description : Trickster Theatre traces the changing social significance of national theatre in Ghana from its rise as an idealistic state project from the time of independence to its reinvention in recent electronic, market-oriented genres. Jesse Weaver Shipley presents portraits of many key figures in Ghanaian theatre and examines how Akan trickster tales were adapted as the basis of a modern national theatre. This performance style tied Accra’s evolving urban identity to rural origins and to Pan-African liberation politics. Contradictions emerge, however, when the ideal Ghanaian citizen is a mythic hustler who stands at the crossroads between personal desires and collective obligations. Shipley examines the interplay between on-stage action and off-stage events to show how trickster theatre shapes an evolving urban world.
Description : In retracing some of the routes followed by West African literature in English over the course of the last three decades, this book employs an original multidimensional approach whereby the three main genres - narrative, poetry and drama – are considered in the light of their intricate web of fecund rapport and mutual influence.Authors such as Tutuola, Armah, Aidoo and Awoonor translated the fluid structures of orality into written prose, and consequently infused their works with poetic and dramatic resonance, thereby challenging the canonical dominance of social realism and paving the way for the birth of West African magical realism in Laing, Okri and Cheney-Coker.Starting in the 1970s, poetry on stage has become a mainstream genre in Ghana, thanks to performances by Okai, Anyidoho and Acquah.Boundaries between literary theatre and other genres have undergone a similar dissolution in the affirmation of the concept of 'total art' from Efua Sutherland to ben Abdallah, Osofisan and others.Fertile Crossings offers a study of these topics from various viewpoints, blending in-depth textual analysis with reflections on the political import of the works in question within the context of the present state of African societies, all supported by interviews with most of the authors.
Description : Now available in paperback for the first time this edition of the World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre series examines theatrical developments in Africa since 1945. Entries on thirty-two African countries are featured in this volume, preceded by specialist introductory essays on Anglophone Africa, Francophone Africa, History and Culture, Cosmology, Music, Dance, Theatre for Young Audiences and Puppetry. There are also special introductory general essays on African theatre written by Nobel Prize Laureate Wole Soyinka and the outstanding Congolese playwright, Sony Labou Tansi, before his untimely death in 1995. More up-to-date and more wide-ranging than any other publication, this is undoubtedly a major ground-breaking survey of contemporary African theatre.