Communicating empathy for change: A kinesics assesment of Ojo Bakare’s “The voyage”
The primary aim of any theatrical endeavour is to effectively communicate. Kinesics is a non-verbal communication concept which deals with the usage of body movements and gestures for message dissemination. Kinaesthetic empathy is a kinesics theory which explores the uncanny ability of making members of audience experience related feelings, and interpret the message being communicated through movements in a performance. “The Voyage”, created and directed by Ojo Rasaki Bakare is an improvisational total theatre which documents the socio-political journey of Nigeria as a nation, using the tripartite performative mediums of music, dance and drama for communication. This paper interrogates the various levels of the Nigerian socio- political change identified through the modes of kinesic communication within the play. Through unstructured interviews conducted on randomly selected members of the audience, this paper establishes the diverse levels of kinaesthetic empathy registered through the audience response to the performance. The paper also examines the instructional, emotional and aesthetic values of movements employed in “The Voyage” performance, to prescribe effective change management in Nigerian governance. The study identifies the elements of kinesic communication such as dance, mime, gestures and dramatic movements, as extremely useful in disseminating the message of the play and engineering audience empathy towards the management of the change mantra, as regards the Nigerian political scene. The study recommends more concerted efforts at employing kinesics for effective communication in theatrical performances.
Copyright is held by Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA).