Text and Performance Deviations in Efua Sutherland's The Marriage of Anansewa and Toyin Abiodun's The Trials of Afonja

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Oso, O
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Department of English
A common notion among the audience is that a good performance must be explicitly faithful to its text. Studies on African dramatic texts and performance have illustrated the points of convergence between dramatic texts and their stage performances. However, few of these studies have investigated the reasons for the deviations of the stage performances from the dramatic texts. This study was, therefore, designed to examine the points of divergence between selected African dramatic texts and their stage performances with a view to foregrounding the reasons for the deviations of the dramatic texts from their stage performances. Stephen Greenblatt’s New Historicism was adopted as the theoretical framework of the study. Two Anglophpne African plays, Efua Sutherland’s The Marriage of Anansewa and Toyin Abiodun’s The Trials of Afonja were purposively selected due to their African regional representation and the demonstrable deviations between these texts and their stage performances. Close reading of the dramatic texts was done. The video recordings of the stage performances of the two plays were reviewed. Data were subjected to literary and performance criticisms. Four divergent features were identified. They were rupturing of the sequence of incidents, coalescing of scenes, addition and removal of scenes and characters, and the infusion of songs. Directors of stage performances deliberately and pragmatically deviate from dramatic texts without prejudice to the storyline nor the historicity of the text. Hence, the divergence between text and performance is creativity.
Scholarly articles
Dramatic text , Performance fidelity , Anglophone African drama , Stage performance , Directors , Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::Languages and linguistics
Oso, Olusola. "Text and Performance Deviations in EfuaSutherland's The Marriage of Anansewa and Toyin Abiodun's The Trials of Afonja." Lagos Review of English Studies: A Journal of Language and Literary Studies, Vol.20,No.1(2021):1-31. (https://laresunilag.com/wp-content/uploads/Olusola-Oso-Text-and-Performance-Deviations-in-Efua-Sutherlands-The-Marriage-of-Anansewa-and-Toyin-Abioduns-The-Trials-of-Afonja.pdf).