Transmuting historical antecedents for mass reaction in Osofisan’s selected plays
The historicity of any event resides in the truthfulness, depth and critical conception of it. Incidentally, these three qualities formed the constituent parts of the working tools of the poets/bards/griots in preindustrial societies; hence the confidence the society reposed in them. The modern African playwright presumably steps into the shoes of these traditional performers in terms of utility, inquisitiveness, information processing, critical perception of events and innovation. This article adopts the inflection device in fabulous theatre (Abubakar, 2006) to measure the efficacy or otherwise of the aforementioned qualities in Femi Osofisan’s handling of three major historical events in The Chattering and the Song (Osofisan, 1977) and Once Upon Four Robbers (Osofisan, 1991). The antecedents are the reign of Alafin Abiodun of the then Oyo Empire, the Agbekoya crisis in the then Western Nigeria and the Armed Robbery Decree enacted during General Yakubu Gowon’s military rule.
Keywords: Griot, Historical antecedents, Mass reaction, Femi Osofisan, Fabulous theatre, Nigeria