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Non Western Theatre - Essay Example

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African theater is divided into three groups named after the different periods in the continent’s political history: pre-colonial; colonial, and; post-colonial which is also called anti-colonial. Although the categories were largely affected by the periods they were named…
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Download file to see previous pages history before European countries invaded it and subjugated African nations as colonies, was little known largely because Africans merely improvised their performances without written scripts. Most information of African theater during this time can be gleaned only from the accounts of traders and missionaries and researches of them by scholars. It is not surprising that during the colonial period, the African theater was dominated by European performers who enacted their country’s own classic texts and who made schoolchildren perform them in schools. It was during the post-colonial period, in the 1960s for many African countries and in the 1990s by South Africa, that the African theater was wrested back by the Africans. However, all throughout the different periods and the different categories of African theater, one theme has always prevailed: African theater did not only serve the purpose of entertainment but had been the focal point which sustained African communities as performances were the reenactment of the villages’ ethos of the time. In the pre-colonial times, performances were an enactment of the superstitious beliefs of villages, i.e. driving away an evil spirit from the village, and in the post-colonial era, performances were staged first, as a protest against their colonizers and second, when they finally gained independence, as “critical watchdog” of their new governments.1
African Theater has always been ritualistic and today, traces of the ritualistic aspects still remain in the postcolonial theater. Rituals in “celebration of birth, marriage, puberty, planting, and harvesting, its epic story-telling tradition of praising heroic and communal achievements, and its visual and auditory spectacle provided by dance and music” are enacted on stage making African theater largely functional. It is said that theaters in general are rooted in ritual, seasonal rhythms, religion and communication but the great distinction between European theater ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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