Inventing animate floats: transformation and interpretation in Nigeria’s Abuja Carnival
This study focuses on the technical process through which available materials and space are transformed into motif-based animate floats and desired landscapes for carnival performances. Carnival performances are often guided by underlying conceptual scripts which basically depend on the technical processes of theatre design as a major requirement in connecting the carnival performance with its audience and which has not received adequate attention from existing theatre scholarship. The study adopts Roland Barthes’ semiotic theory, Intertextuality as the framework for analysing the interplay of carnival performances, material objects, technical process of theatre design and the carnival audience. The research design combined case study and survey. Data were collected using in-depth interviews, key informant interviews and participant observation. Ahmed Yerima, whose works in carnival productions informed this study, was selected as a case study. The study concludes that the technical process of theatre design is central to carnival performances because it catalyses the underlying imaginative dramatic scripts into visual pictures and animate carnival floats, thereby eliciting meaning from the conceptual dramatic scripts to the carnival audience. Adequate attention should therefore be paid to theatre design as the process of transforming imaginative scripts into visible pictorial carnival floats.
Keywords: Materials, Animate objects, Theatre design, Carnival performance, Transformation