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A designer’s reading of directorial conformity and divergence in <i>Soyinka’s death and the King’s horseman</i>

Michael Ade Adeoye


This study takes a critical look at the stage production of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, which Ahmed Yerima directed on July 13, 2004 at the National Theatre, Onikan in Lagos, Nigeria, with reference to the collaborative process through which elements of design and directing  were engaged to produce meaning from the dramatic text to the theatre audience. Its objective is to assess the role of design elements in the  technical process of achieving visual transmogrification on stage and explore the extent of the director’s interpretational conformity to, or  divergence from, the original ideas of the playwright in the dramatic text. This work is situated within Merleau-Ponty’s concept of Embodiment and  Body-subject, with a view to analysing and understanding theatre and drama as lived experiences, and visually embodied consciousness and  perception. It seeks theoretical supports from Umberto Eco’s idea of semiotics. This study used a qualitative methodology, primarily including key  informant Interviews, for the collection of data, which, in turn, received content analysis. The study concludes that stage design and its attendant  elements are central to the process of retrieving meaning from dramatic texts to the audience because while Ahmed Yerima clearly diverged from  Soyinka’s original intention in the text, he relied heavily on stage design and allied elements as the facilities of divergence.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2449-1179
print ISSN: 2006-1838