The Generation of Plays: Yoruba Popular Life in Theater

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9780253338075: The Generation of Plays: Yoruba Popular Life in Theater

From the 1940s to the 1980s, Yoruba popular theater was one of the most spectacularly successful theaters in Africa. Today, these traveling companies have virtually disappeared, largely as a result of economic hardship and the rise of video entertainment. In The Generation of Plays, Karin Barber recounts the history of the Oyin Adejobi Theatre company. Drawing on archival sources as well as extensive interviews and transcriptions of plays, Barber uncovers the pulse points of generation, production, and improvisation that merge when a Yoruba popular drama is brought to the stage. Barber reveals the personalities of the principal actors, how plays are created (from the germ of an idea through the logistics of rehearsal and staging), how a play is made meaningful to its audience, and how a play changes and develops after several productions or according to the sensibilities of its viewers. This rich and detailed narrative illuminates notions of gender, language, politics, and self as they are expressed in a popular cultural form.

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Book Description:

Winner of the 2001 Herskovits Award. George Freedley Memorial Award Finalist.

About the Author:

Karin Barber is Senior Lecturer at the Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham. She is author of Yorb Dn So: A Beginner's Course in Yorb (Part 1), I Could Speak Until Tomorrow: Or'k, Women, and the Past in a Yorb Town, and co-author (with Bayo Ogundijo) of Yorb Popular Theatre: Three Plays by the Oyin Adjobi Company. She has edited Readings in African Popular Culture and Self-assertion and Brokerage: Early Cultural Nationalism in West Africa. She is co-editor (with P. F. de Moraes Farias) of Discourse and Its Disguises: The Interpretation of African Oral Texts, and (with John Collins and Alain Ricard) of West African Popular Theater.

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