Drama as a literary response to Africa’s social and political realities: a comparative study of selected Kenyan and Nigerian dramas
Tengya, Pomak Frank
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This study investigates the roles and functions of drama as an instrument of social commentary in Nigeria and Kenya. Drama has been widely acclaimed as a positive medium for mirroring society' hence the popular belief that drama is a representation of life. This powerful attribute of drama has been deployed by playwrights across different epochs to make constructive commentaries on the happenings within their various societies with the view of effecting positive change. As a result of the significant role of Drama in the society, it has become • increasingly important to write and act drama using a method that is understood by the people. The study sought to investigate how Francis Imbuga's The Successor, Ngugi wa'Thiongo's The Trial of Dedan Kimathi, David Mulwa's Redemption, in comparism to Wole Soyirika's A Play of Giants, Ola Rotimi's If.. .Tragedy of the Ruled and Ken Saro-Wiwa's Madam No Go Quench Again serve as utility carriers of literary responses to the problems concerning the African continent. This study was premised on the supposition that social, historical and. political realities in Kenya and Nigeria form a creative reservoir of the two countries' drama. A close examination of the leading playwrights from the two countries reveals the socio- political temper in the two societies. The research sought to highlight the extent to which the playwrights successfully use drama as a means of communication, even though there are different forms of literature in existence. This is important because! the work of an artist in whatever form usually has a universal appeal. The theoretical framework for this' research was based on the Theory of the Avant- Garde and Political Theatre Theory; The theories added impetus to the work as it aligns with the concept of social drama. The methodology that was employed in this research basically revolved around the analyses of the primary texts and library and internet research to add depth to the line of thought. The choice of the playwrights is purposive and is based on fact that three of the playwrights are Kenyans and the other three are Nigerian. The choice was also on the fact that all the' playwrights had experienced colonial and post-colonial governance in both countries. The period of the writings also is a factor that influenced the choice. The methodology also included systematic application of content analysis of related literatures.