n African Performance Review - Trauma and the art of dramatizing history : a study of Soyinka's

Volume 1, Issue 2_3
  • ISSN : 1753-5964


The literature of any nation is a key to unlock its past, view its present and have an insight into its future. This is because there is an intricate relationship between art and life. Theatre, among other arts, responds more promptly to social issues and events. History is therefore a viable subject matter for drama. The playwright as a social and psychological being is alive to the issues and events, which impinge on his personality and helps to form his conception of the world. This paper evaluates the complex relations of history, psychology and drama. The aim is to critically examine how the playwright demonstrates the influences of traumatic historical experiences as seen in the way he represents them on the stage. The paper proposes that: traumatic history rarely escapes the creative impulse; traumatic experiences shapes a playwright's view of the world and; this can be seen in the dramatic works informed by such events and experiences. To further the above arguments, Wole Soyinka's , a play on the Nigerian Civil War 1967-1970, which is also his personal response to it, is analysed to unravel the relationship between the dramaturgy and the experience. Other relevant materials like his novel , a record of his prison experiences as a result of his role in the war, will also be analysed.

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