A talk by Sola Adeyemi
The third of three events in the CCL’s Postcolonial Theatre series, May 2022
Thursday 26 May, 6PM BST (online)
In this presentation, I am going to be exploring the idea of tragedy from the perspective of Yoruba culture. I shall frame this exploration from the refracted premise of classical European canon and how the meaning of tragedy has been altered to become part of the arsenal of anticolonial agency as deployed to the consecrated ritual space of the Yoruba people of West Africa.
More specifically, I shall be examining the transmutation of the tragic form in Nigerian playwright Femi Osofisan’s Wèsóo, Hamlet! Or The Resurrection of Hamlet (Re-reading of Shakespeare’s Hamlet) (2012) and in Wole Soyinka’s The Bacchae of Euripides (1969).
My focus will be on how these playwrights’ re-reading – or re-interpretation – of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and Euripides’ Bacchae serve as a refraction of the tragic form from the canon to a different understanding, in a different cultural setting, with diverse conventions; and where the understanding of tragedy is somewhat more communal, abstract, and more intercultural, and where the recognition accorded that form of drama is elevated.
In my presentation, I aim to show that the process of re-interpreting the essence of the canonical god in the new space of Yoruba culture, or of translating the attributes with a new understanding and awareness, is more dialectical and more interwoven than the historical or anthropological process of re-working canonical texts by African writers.
Attendance is free but booking will be essential to receive a link to attend. BOOKING IS NOW CLOSED
Watch a video of the talk:
Dr Sola Adeyemi is a Visiting Lecturer at Goldsmiths and a Lecturer in Drama at the University of East Anglia. His researches are in world theatre and performance studies, African Literary Studies, and postcolonial literature and theatre (and the themes of decolonial and Global South studies). He is the author of Vision of Change in African Drama: Deconstructing Identity and Reconfiguring History (2019). Currently, he is working on ‘Dramatizing the Postcolony: Nigerian Drama and Theatre. His latest research is on performances after apartheid in South Africa and in Nigeria after the military dictatorship morphed into situations of ‘undeclared’ pre-colonial feudalistic insurrections, titled “Laughing from Both Barrels: New Satire in Modern African Performances”.
Sola’s talk will be chaired by Professor Samuel Kasule. Professor Kasule holds a BA in English and Drama and Diploma in Education from Makerere University, Uganda, and MA in Theatre Studies and PhD in Drama and Theatre from the University of Leeds. He is a founding member of the African Theatre Association and founding Reviews Editor of African Performance Review (APR). He was the President of the African Theatre Association between 2014 and 2020. His latest work (with Osita Okagbue) is Theatre and Performance in East Africa (London: Routledge, 2021)