Poetry Beyond the Page: An Analysis of Performance Techniques in Mufasa’s Spoken Word Poetry

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Masese, Sarah Akinyi
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Kenyatta University
Spoken word performance is an expression of oral art. This classification of poetry has not benefited much from documented academic criticism. The little criticism documented, focuses more on the literariness of the poetry and not its performance aspect. This study therefore is a documented analysis of aspects of performance techniques in spoken word. The selected poet for this study was Mufasa. The study analyzed performance techniques employed by the poet, factors that influence his performances and how the poet uses these techniques to enhance the interpretation of his content, aesthetic value and the quality of performance. The poems analyzed were performed between 2014 and 2019. These selected samples had to illustrate an array of performance techniques implemented by Mufasa. This study was qualitative in nature. Focus Groups matrices were used to study and analyze poetic performances. Interview matrices were used to understand the poet’s perspective of his performance techniques. Secondary data was gathered by reading closely in libraries, using the Internet, e-books, and participating in one on one discussions with the audience. Audio and Audio-Visual recordings were used to collect data. Additionally, note-taking and recording devices were also used. This study was anchored on the performance theory to interrogate his performances. This study illustrated Mufasa’s choice of performance techniques and his implementation (methodology).This study finds that performance is an integral aspect of spoken word poetry as it is what distinguishes oral poetry from the written form. It also not only enhances the aesthetic appeal and quality of performance but also aids in the interpretation of the poetry content. This study concludes that Mufasa incorporates various performance techniques, gestures, repetition, tonal variation, pauses, and pitch among others to ensure that his intended message is rightfully understood and interpreted by his target audience.
A Research Project Submitted in Partial Fullfilment of the Requirements for the Award of the Degree of Masters (Theatre Arts) in the School of Creative and Performing Arts, Film and Media Studies of Kenyatta University, June, 2021.
Poetry Beyond, Page, An Analysis, Performance Techniques, Mufasa’s, Spoken Word, Poetry