Construction of the Theme of Drugs and Substance Abuse in the Play Genre at the Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival, 2013-2015.
MetadataShow full item record
The Kenya National Drama Festival Committee usually enters into a sponsorship agreement with other institutions to help in disseminating certain messages through drama. One of these bodies is NACADA (National Agency for the Campaign against Drug and Substance and Alcohol Abuse). NACADA has sponsored a number of editions of the Festival in the hope that participants will be sensitized through the performances on the need for demand reduction and supply suppression of alcohol and drugs. It mostly targets the youth in Kenya who are said to be at the highest risk of becoming victims of drug and substance abuse. The youth are mostly in schools and most of the participants at the Festival are school going children. This study takes the Kenya National Drama Festival as its launch pad to interrogate the theme of the campaign against drug and substance abuse among the plays presented at the Festival as sponsored by NACADA between 2013 and 2015. The interrogation of this theme is intended to offer a platform of finding the best theatrical style of telling a story against drug and substance abuse among the youth since virtually all the performers are within the youth bracket of age. Using the Semiotics theory, the study responds to the questions of how the structural makeup of the performances, their characterisations as well as their language use and production design work in synchrony as agents of the campaign against drug and substance abuse by disseminating messages that hinge on demand reduction of drugs and alcohol as well as their suppression of supply. This is a qualitative study that relied on content analysis of pre-recorded performances. Data was collected through the use of observation and interview guides. Generally, the study found out that structures of the play were not strong as directors focussed more on the rewards rather than story-telling, plots tended to be prescriptive, characters were not fully developed and lastly production techniques were deployed to enhance the construction of the theme of fight against drug and substance abuse. This study is a key plank in the generation of knowledge on the analysis of pre-recorded performances as well as on the twin issue of drama and the campaign against drug and substance abuse. It is useful to educationists, antidrug abuse campaigners, theatre researchers as well as the general reader.