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EJOTMAS: Ekpoma Journal of Theatre and Media Arts

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Re-inventing Multimedia Drama to Unite Africans in the Diaspora: The Example of Ola Rotimi's The Gods are not to Blame in London

Sola Balogun

Abstract


Over the ages, many Africans have had reasons to travel out of their fatherland in search of greener pastures in Europe, America and other parts of the globe. They have in the process built careers and families far away from their roots aside imbibing cultural, linguistic and social attributes that are originally alien to them. A major effect of this migration/relocation is that Africans in Diaspora gradually lose touch with their own cultural ethos and values while their own offspring are far more alienated and can neither be referred to as Europeans or true Africans. But drama, particularly total theatre which originates from Africa has all it takes to relive African cultural heritage in the Diaspora. A well-packaged African drama that is presented in the multimedia format has the potentials of not only uniting Africans and their relations living abroad, but also relaying relevant social, cultural, aesthetic, historical and political messages to them. This paper therefore examines the recent staging of Ola Rotimi's classic play; The Gods Are Not to Blame, in London as a multimedia production which rallied Nigerians, nay Africans together in a single cultural event. The theatre production which was produced by Lagos based Ayo Jaiyesimi and directed by London-based Lookman Sanusi provided a unique platform for Nigerians living in the United Kingdom and other neighbouring European countries to meet their kinsmen and women, aside savouring the Yoruba culture and tradition which the play effectively dramatised. Beyond this, the multimedia production bridged the gap between Africa and Europe by showcasing Ola Rotimi's dexterity in adapting the European story of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex into another classic play of African setting. The latter produced a similar tragic hero in King Odewale, the Yoruba (African) king who, like Oedipus, ends up killing his father and marrying his own mother.

 

Keywords: Multimedia drama, Ola Rotimi, The Gods are not to Blame, Lagos, London




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