U N I V E R S I T Y O F L A G O S
D E P A R T M E N T O F E N G L I S H
M . A . L I T E R A T U R E
C O U R S E W O R K:
M O D E R N N I G E R I A N D R A M A :
S O C I O - C U L T U R A L A N D W E S T E R N
I N F L U E N C E S
N A M E :
A G B A M U A G H O G H O
M A T R I C U L A T I ON N U M B E R :
1 0 9 0 1 3 0 4 6
C O U R S E :
M O D E R N
N I G E R I A N D R A M A
E N G 8 5 6
HOW HAS MODERN NIGERIAN DRAMA BEEN INFLUENCED BY THE SOCIO-CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT AND HOW FAR HAS IT BEEN INFLUENCED BY THE WESTERN TRADITION OF DRAMA? More often than not, the shape of a phenomenon is always the aftermath of a series of prequel activity, spanning over spatiotemporal dimensions for certain reasons and towards certain ends. But since the desired target is not always exactly arrived at without traces of the followed process, it is imperative to prod why there is always a conspicuous trace at the seam of the finale. This is the case with Modern Nigerian Drama. It navigated a spate of whatnots before taking the posture we associate with it today. And we can clearly observe that while in its evolution, there were influences that came its way, and decades after, they are still as pungent. These influences: what are they; why are they conspicuous; why are still influencing? These are the issues that one must treat to evaluate the configuration of contemporary Nigerian dramaturgy; and this more than anything else is what forms the basis for this discourse.
Modern Nigerian Drama: A straight typical pedantic encapsulation of the term is always not really feasible, because it tends to throw up more inquisition than elucidation. Queries like these arise: Modern Nigerian Drama: How modern is Modern? What really is the measure of Nigerianness about it? As ‘drama as drama is’ does that term, embody all the features of ensample drama? A deconstructionist posse need be adopted here to answer the aforementioned. For the word Modern: connotations to development, urbanization, technology, lesser conservatism, worldly apprehension – are valid. In this case, the measure of Modern in its sense would be as from the start of our nationhood or perhaps a decade before then. Then, Nigerian: critically, there is no depth in the concept of our nationhood, because apart from the Latinized christening in relation to the Niger River by Flora Shaw, Nigeria had really never existed as a geographical conglomerate, unlike other countries privileged with divine territorial architecture – Egypt, Ethiopia, Israel, Greece. Obviously, there existed a wide range of tribes occupying definitely separate territories and with influential empires like that of Bini, Oyo and the Sokoto Caliphate. So, by a confluence of colonization and amalgamation of the most uneven protectorates and the supercilious decree of Imperial might, adjoining diverse autonomous social structures, Nigeria was carved. That carving today has not really graduated into a grander mentality of romantic patriotism; it remains pungent in our consciousness that we really are a conglomeration of dissimilar tribes – Britain’s Nigeria. Any nationalist affections that began to hold sway from political consequences, only was a graduation of decades of the recognition of this consciousness of fated nationhood. Then, Drama: oeuvres, repertory of creative imitative performances belonging to religious-cultural festivals have over time evolved through the route of sympathetic magic to ritual and then drama, but the universal standard of drama by obligation must befit the strictures of theories and framework. But since the drama synonymous with traditional tribal imitative endeavours are not of standardized measure, yet form the root source of modern Nigerian dramatic plot constructions, the issue of dramatic identity only becomes more problematic.
An outright definition of Modern Nigerian drama will only be possible if the...
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