Theorizing the place of evil within Sam Ukala’s Radical Theatre: A study of three plays

  • Onyemuche Anele Ejesu
  • Chigbu Andrew Chigbu
  • Chibuzo Onunkwo


The radical dimension of Sam Ukala’s plays appears to have been captured by a good number of critics, whether this radicality is located in his experimentation with a new theatre soused in the folktale tradition, or conceptualised as the drive for a new society. There is, however, a major gap in all these articulations, and that is the absence of a detailed theorization of the place of evil within Ukala’s radical theatre. Consequently, what we intend to prove here is that Sam Ukala’s plays are not only representations of evil but also representations of the possibility of exorcising evil, that is, the possibility of conquering evil. We argue that it is through this portrayal of the ability of the human agent (typified sometimes as the suffering masses) to overcome evil that Sam Ukala’s plays can be said to be radical or have what Ogu-Raphael has identified as a ‘revolutionary tendency’ (164). The perspectives of evil in this essay will be drawn mainly from the works of such thinkers as Paul Ricoeur, St Augustine, and Friedrich Nietzsche, yet not excluding occasional insights from thinkers like Immanuel Kant, Richard B. Sewall, and so on. Sam Ukala’s Akpakaland, Break a Boil and Odour of Justice are the plays to be examined in this essay.

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eISSN: 1813-2227