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Odún

Discourses, Strategies, and Power in the Yorùbá Play of Transformation

Series:

Cristina Boscolo

A poetic ‘voice’ scans the rhythm of academic research, telling of the encounter with odún; then the voice falls silent. What is then raised is the dust of a forgotten academic debate on the nature of theatre and drama, and the following divergent standpoints of critical discourses bent on empowering their own vision, and defining themselves, rather, as counterdiscourses. This, the first part of the book: a metacritical discourse, on the geopolitics (the inherent power imbalances) of academic writing and its effects on odún, the performances dedicated to the gods, ancestors, and heroes of Yorùbá history.
But odún: where is it? and what is it? And the ‘voice’? The many critical discourses have not really answered these questions. In effect, odún is many things. To enable the reader to see these, the study proceeds with an ‘intermezzo’: a frame of reference that sets odún, the festival, in its own historico-cultural ecoenvironment, identifying the strategies that inform the performance and constitute its aesthetic. It is a ‘classical’ yet, for odún, an innovative procedure. This interdisciplinary background equips the reader with the knowledge necessary to watch the performance, to witness its beauty, and to understand the ‘half words’ odún utters.
And now the performance can begin. The ‘voice’ emerges one last time, to introduce the second section, which presents two case studies. The reader is led, day by day, through the celebrations – odún edì, Morèmi’s story, and its realization in performance; then confrontation by the masks of the ancestors duing odún egúngún (particularly as held in Ibadan). The meaning of odún becomes clearer and clearer.
Odún is poetry, dances, masks, food, prayer. It is play ( eré) and belief ( ìgbàgbó). It is interaction between the players (both performers and spectators). It is also politics and power. It contains secrets and sacrifices. It is a reality with its own dimension and, above all, as the quintessential site of knowledge, it possesses the power to transform. In short, it is a challenge – a challenge that the present book and its voices take up.

Series:

Julian Meyrick

performative expression? Is it a dig at authority’s inability to tame a world it believes it can manipulate with its categorical logic? Brack’s later paintings are divided between hope and despair, between belief that growth and development are possible and a sense that humanity just goes round and round. The

Series:

Julian Meyrick

-up practitioners who would otherwise have to go abroad to learn their craft. McGuire and Kardoss echoed Aldous’s belief that there is one kind of theatre, expressed in commercial production, whose practices were the necessary, if not sufficient, guarantee of the sector’s operation and worth. Rees, while having

Series:

Julian Meyrick

social transformation (‘the personal is political’). Garry Wotherspoon describes the factors informing the new gay identity: First, there was a belief in the absolute validity of one’s sexual orientation. This … implied an outright rejection of social definitions of homosexuality as an illness, a crime

Series:

Julian Meyrick

Brian Sweeney, explained was, … to increase an understanding of the position that has been reached by the larger non-profit companies in statistical terms. [The report] is offered in the belief that it can and will be used constructively both within and outside the profession, to encourage an even more

Series:

Julian Meyrick

the government belief that a particular kind of small theatre was no longer viable in a reduced funding scenario. This presumption preceded the chronic problems of its final years and, if it did not determine events, it decisively shaped them. No other explanation for ant ’s 1989 loss of funding is

Series:

Julian Meyrick

early 1994 came a final gush of resignations: Alan Dredge, Mario Agostinoni, Suzanne Chaundy, and the company’s last administrator, Chris Dupé. This was the cost of ant ’s signal failure to adapt to changed circumstances, and of Mignon’s belief in his own infallibility that made sense a decade before

1 ʿIsam Mahfuz 28

The Dictator

Series:

Robert Myers and Nada Saab

Translator Robert Myers and Nada Saab

Thus, Mahfuz’s engagement with language was two-pronged. On the level of dramatic writing, he reshaped the vernacular to create a new type of high literature, which had heretofore been restricted to texts written in formal Arabic, out of his belief that theater could play a pivotal role in bringing the

Series:

Robert Myers and Nada Saab

Translator Robert Myers and Nada Saab

earlier works, they nonetheless address the extent to which traditional and authoritarian societies engender stasis, silence, obedience, self-censorship and lacerating forms of self-abnegation. Although his early belief in the ability of theater to transform Arab societies was short-lived, he remained

Series:

Julian Meyrick

” (quoted Johanson 2000 : 51). Keynes, the renovator of modern economics, was also the Chairman of the uk ’s new Arts Council. Those who followed in his intellectual footsteps were aware this was not coincidence, the expression of a purely private interest, but stemmed from Keynes’ belief that art played