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Modern Drama in West Africa

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... The audience is waiting in suspense for it, but it does not take place until the end of the play. As Ogunba (1971:97) says: "The whole of the play turns out to be a great but hopeless effort to retrieve the position and save the wife." Thus the play ends as a tragedy, not as a tragicomedy. ...
... Saint-Andre Utudjian (1992:189) says: "The themes of witchcraft versus modem rationalism, materialism versus traditional values, generational conflict ... and of a wife's questioning of her husband's behaviour, are subjects of concern to educated Ghanaians caught between two cultures." And Ogunba (1971 :980), in spite of serious objections, says the play has "a seriousness that strikes at the fundamental problem of a modem Ghanaian seeking shelter under traditional sanctions whose potency has been reduced by modernism" . Lewis Nkosi (1981: 179-180) has a serious objection from a strictly ideological point of view. ...
... She does not show much individuality, and although Saint-Andre Utudjian's description (1992:89) of her as "the heroine, a whining woman, recklessly leaving two orphans behind her and dying for the sake of a coward", is too harsh, it is true that she does not make a very strong impression. Ogunba (1971:98) describes her as a good and doting wife who becomes a victim of the scheming and crude materialism of her husband". Nkosi (1981: 179), of course, protests against the failure "to make explicit what remains in the text an implicit criticism of a male dominated society, a dimly perceived wrong done to women" . ...
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... Wole Soyinka's A Dance of the Forest (1960) signals a galvanising start-up of postcolonial Nigerian drama's disapprobation of, to use Chinua Achebe's phrasing, 'the trouble with Nigeria'-political leadership crisis. Because it ridicules the euphoria of Nigeria's political independence from British imperial rule, Ogunba (1971) identifies the play, which is Soyinka's theatrical landmark, as a satirical play (p. 104). ...
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Inverted subversion is the thrust of irony in Wole Soyinka’s The Road. The play reveals a space of foreboding which is charged with confrontations. The cosmos of the dramatis personae is designed as a kind of high mimetic arena in which all the participants are trapped as they seek to find meaning and value for their daily existence. Their lives are soused in irony, and they are caught on the quicksand between Church and Ogun. A psychic figure spins everyone and everything in thrall and into a vortex of persuasions which keeps knowledge and truth in a state of convolution from one point to another. The aim of this study is to examine the dimension of this subverted space, to mark out the indices of its subversion, and to situate the pervasive tangles within the matrix of irony. It is also to locate the median of the conflict, the lead character, whose past and present collide within him as he propagates Ogunian perceptions in a manner that leaves a grim smudge on both deity and propagator. It will be argued that the confusion of values which are entrenched in the propagator extends as a contest of values in the play.
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