Costumes as depiction of cultural identity in Pedro Agbonifo-Obaseki’s Idia
In Nigeria, costumes present interesting vistas for exploring cultural identity. They have social implications and at times are politically implicated. This may be attributed to Nigeria’s multi-cultural atmosphere that makes costumes a reflection of the cultural identity of the people. Nigerian performances in festivals and play productions provide a platform to study and appreciate this phenomenon. Using the participant observation and literary methods, this article interrogates how costumes can depict the cultural identity of a people. It appropriates the dynamics of costumes as depiction of indigenous identity, using a play production of Pedro Agbonifo-Obaseki’s Idia as directed by Israel Wekpe under the aegis of the Edo State Chapter of National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) at the University of Benin in 2013. The study reveals that costume promotes the cultural worldview of the people it represents. The conclusion reached is that costumes in Nigeria must depart from such outside influences that undermine their ability to communicate indigenous identity.
Keywords: Costume, Cultural identity, Idia, Play production, Nonverbal communication