Main Article Content

Re-inventing the populist dramaturgy and stagecraft in literary Nigerian theatre

Olympus G. Ejue


Modern Nigerian literary drama which seeks to lay bare amongst other things the social realities of the people, must begin to evolve a new postmodern  theatre language, technique and collective indigenous style which will depict a slight or complete departure from the European “dry theatre”. Like the  McKnight programme at the University of Minnesota and the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre, professional standards in contemporary literary theatre in Nigeria  must be revised and redirect its instructions towards training budding playwrights, directors and would-be actors to reflect an indigenous performative  form and character. The paper diagnoses how the Nigerian dramatist/theatre director can creatively use dramaturgical exploration, through traditional  artistic resources, festival masque and stage craft in the Nigerian literary theatre to realise a total theatre experience. It sues that; for a play script and its  dramatic representation on stage to be considered as African, it must possess not just the embellishment of the African phraseologies, but an entire  integration of a stylized expressive representation of dramatic idioms of music, song, dance, masque, mime et cetera in order to indigenize the modern  Nigerian literary theatre. The literary theatre assumes a change ideology of serving as custodian of customs and traditions of a people who had or are  still suffering from the effect of colonization. The paper concludes that the efforts by budding dramatists/directors and actors to formulate the dialogue  of our epoch in Nigerian literary theatre and giving an expression to its aspirations, must be mainstreamed as opposed to the conformist ideologies laid  down by the forerunners of literary theatre in Nigeria. In other words, literary theatres in Nigeria must act as change agents through the content and  form of their performances reflecting a complete process of cultural decolonization.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2971-6748
print ISSN: 0189-9562