Theatrical elements in Nakenyare festival of the Chamba Leko people of Adamawa State of Nigeria
Ahmadu, Danbello Ibrahim
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Every society struggles for the survival and progress of its norms and values. This struggle against cultural extinction is manifested in the display of its culture. The recognition of Africa‟s great culture in modern civilization underscored by Western influence has been seriously undermined and de-emphasized. The communal nature of most African societies is expressed through their common observable kind of behaviour based upon established traditional rules known in African societies and dependent on their belief system. African theatre and drama have roots in these traditions, which, in Africa, are predisposed to be ritualistic or communal in nature. Entrenched in these periodic events/rituals are weighty and inimitable theatre elements such as costumes, make-up, music and dance, theatre space, masquerading, impersonation, enactment, dialogue and repetition. The study identifies and examines the various theatrical elements within the Nakenyare festival performance. The study adopts performance and ritual theories which provide frameworks for making generalization on the performance and function of theatre elements within the performance. The research employs mostly the ethnography qualitative methods of research approach through a careful descriptive analysis of books, journals, reports, and other secondary sources. Qualitative method was used to gather primary information from recorded tapes and videos while observation and informal interviews were applied to get first-hand information from respondents and the recorded performance. The respondents were sampled purposively to get the required sample size from the closely estimated total population of 600,032 of the Chamba Leko people. Respondents consisted of youth groups, women groups, title holders and custodians of the traditions and custom. The Nakenyare performance of the Chamba Leko people of Adamawa state of Nigeria was used as a paradigm. The research study looks at various theatrical elements that preoccupy the Nakenyare festival in Chamba land. It also advances reasons why these theatrical elements have taken the certain changes and different form from that of the west and is against this backdrop. It postulates that the researcher finds out that these changes, within the festival performance were as a result of great custodians embracing the two new found faiths (christianity and Islam) that lead to the dwindling of various knowledge of craft made to be passed on to the next generations and which in turn lead to leaving the attendance of the festival to the rural dwellers only, as those in the urban view it as fetish against their new found religion and also termed it an old fashion.These affected and hampered the oral nature of the festival as the little people who made it to the festival from the urban can not speak the local dialogue or they want most of the theatrical elements to be rendered in the modern ways, against the traditional acceptable norms within the Chamba Leko traditions. The research work recommends that, those in diaspora should attend the annual festival to get to know it, and annual documentary and broadcasting of the annual events be made within and outside Nigeria to give the festival the much needed awareness and acceptability and in turn help bring back its lost glory and glamour.