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The Dramaturgy of Femi Osofisan

Adeyemi, Adesola Olusiji (2009) The Dramaturgy of Femi Osofisan. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the development of Femi Osofisan as a dramatist and his contribution to world drama. I used his plays to explore how he exploits his Yoruba heritage by reading new meanings into myth and re-writing history to comment on social issues. In Chapter One, I relate the influence of colonialism and Western drama on the drama of Femi Osofisan. Osofisan grew up under British colonial influence in Nigeria; his secondary and university education were during the early years of independence. He was also influenced by the cultures of Yoruba Travelling Theatre, storytelling, rituals and festivals among the Yoruba people. Chapter Two offers a comparative critique of the writing of Wole Soyinka, Osofisan foremost dramatic influence, with that of our playwright. Chapter Three examines Osofisan plays of the 1970s but also includes two plays written in 1967 and 1968. Nigerians who became major writers in the 1970s were referred to as ‘the angry young men of Nigerian literature’ because of their Marxist orientation and because of their commitment to societal change. With University of Ibadan as their base, these writers sought to sensitise the societal psyche, or, in the English rendering of the name of the drama group formed by Osofisan during this period, Kakaun Sela Kompani, produce his plays and sensitise the people to a radical political consciousness. Osofisan also experimented with many dramatic forms during the period. By 1980s, Osofisan’s drama began to challenge popular myths and historic facts along socialist maxims. Chapter Four will look at his work during this decade. In the 1990s, Osofisan embraced a pan-Africanist quest in his dramaturgy, writing plays like Yungba-Yungba and the Dance Contest (1990), Tegonni (An African Antigone) (1994) and Nkrumah ni!... Africa ni! (1994). This chapter therefore assesses these dramas and their contribution to the debate on post-colonialism and pan-Africanism. In Chapter Six, the concluding chapter, I consider the direction of Osofisan’s dramaturgy since the end of the 1990s until 2008 and assess the relative importance and relevance of his work to world literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Femi Osofisan, Sola Adeyemi, Wole Soyinka, Yoruba Culture, Yoruba performance, African Studies, Drama, post-colonial drama, post-colonial literature, postcolonial drama, postcolonial literature
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.509829
Depositing User: Dr Sola Adeyemi
Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 10:21
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 13:27
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8935

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