Directorial style and stylization:‘The photographic synthesis’ in Felix Okolo’s dramaturgy on the Nigerian theatre stage
The creation of theatre directors like other artistes in Nigeria and the world at large have been known to be influenced by a variety of choices. From the varying choices available, theatre practitioners strive to make the best decisions to achieve greater aesthetic value in their production. In effect, relating the script to stage by the modern day director is not without its challenges as the study of styles of directors in Nigeria has been chiefly ignored in scholarship. This study examines the styles of directing on the Nigerian stage through the works of Felix Okolo with a view to documenting the various directorial codes, directorial signals and prospects of directing in Nigeria and the director’s artistic choices. This research adopts analytical, participant observation and interview methods. Productions of Felix Okolo were previewed and evaluated. Felix Okolo was purposively selected as the case study because of his professional proficiency and consistency. Structured and unstructured interviews were conducted with selected director, crew and cast to elicit relevant information. Data were content-analyzed. The style of directing is a highly individual art and no two directors can direct works in the same manner given the same cast, background or the same material. Basically, six aesthetic codes were found to make up the style of Okolo. These codes are the Total Theatre Aesthetics, the Multitasking Aesthetics, Design and Technical Compactedness, Non-Static Photographic Aesthetics, the Actor-Audience Appeal and the Line cum Demonstration Aesthetics. From the directorial codes prevalent in the works of Felix Okolo, the ‘Photographic Synthesis’ seems the most appropriate to name his style. With this style, Nigerian and indeed African theatre directors could easily learn the various codes that make up Okolo’s ‘Photographic Synthesis’ and pass on to younger generations of artistes and directors such artistic nous.
Keywords: Nigerian theatre directors, Felix Okolo, Photographic Synthesis, Artistic inventiveness