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Towards an ideology of the Post-Osofisan generation playwrights: Individualism and survivalism considered

Adediran Kayode Ademiju-Bepo


The process of change and further change is heightened in the final years of each decade and/or century. At this period, literature can come in clear  movements, tendencies or trends and ideologies while variety and pluralism, multiplicity of experience, and a wide breath of voices are some of the  dominant characteristics of new writing, many of which challenge or even extend the themes of previous writing. Thus, we can argue that the “new” takes  the “old” up in the process of emerging and entrenching its own dominant voice. The Nigerian literary drama which came out of the dying years of  the 1980s therefore, had in common, a revival of forms of the past, while simultaneously experimenting with the often media-based forms of the future.  These dramatic pieces are less open than ever, to the clear distinctions between the ‘serious’ and ‘popular’ or the ‘experimental/avant gardist’ and the  ‘conventional’ as exemplified in the two generations which came before. The strong, new generation which emerged in the Universities of Ibadan, Ife  (now OAU), Benin, Calabar, Jos, Nsukka, Zaria, Port-Harcourt, Ilorin and Maiduguri, came with the purpose of reviving the consciousness of theatre-loving  Nigerians to their own art, in the face of the onslaught of the motion pictures. As the younger or the ‘third’, ‘fourth’ or ‘fifth’ generation writers I have  code-named the post-Osofisan generation, these cultural interpreters have had their dramatic sensibility and thematic thrust shaped and sharpened by  the socio-political and aesthetic realities of their immediate environment, in spite of the fact that they have been accused of having no ideology. Hence,  their vision was to use the platform of the defunct but recently-revived Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival (NUTAF), which threw up a new crop of  playwrights and other practitioners. This paper argues that the ideology of the generation is nothing but Individualism and Survivalism, stemming from  post-modern sensibilities and concludes that these playwrights now speak in their own tongue, of their angst through the labyrinthine paths of  becoming

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eISSN: 2971-6748
print ISSN: 0189-9562