The making of Nigerian agit-prop theatre: the case of Tunde Fatunde

The idea of a theatre for the people, for the proletariat, has been expressed in various forms, at different times and for different motives. Aim of this type of theatre is to agitate the minds of the people towards collective consciousness and group action. The state of affairs in Nigeria today is much similar to that which gave rise to agit-prop theatre in post World-War I Russia and Germany. But a consciously motivated people’s theatre in the form of agit-prop is absent in Nigeria, probably because of a lack of social vision amongst Nigerian artists. In this light this article looks at Tunde Fatunde’s plays, since they tell about the triumph of the collective consciousness and power of the proletariat over that of the corrupt few in positions of influence. It advances a new theory of dramaturgy in Nigeria by highlighting the domestication of agit-prop theatre through the critical appraisal of Fatunde’s two plays: ‘No more oil boom’ and ‘No food, no country’. First, the author discusses the myth of the people’s power and the dramaturgy of a new social order. Secondly, he dwells on the reassessment of the performing arts (especially theatre art) in the light of Fatunde’s new theatre of mass appeal and collective consciousness. Notes, ref.

Title: The making of Nigerian agit-prop theatre: the case of Tunde Fatunde
Author: Enenche, H.
Year: 1988
Periodical: Prsence africaine
Issue: 146
Pages: 185-194
Language: English
Geographic term: Nigeria
Subject: theatre
Abstract: The idea of a theatre for the people, for the proletariat, has been expressed in various forms, at different times and for different motives. Aim of this type of theatre is to agitate the minds of the people towards collective consciousness and group action. The state of affairs in Nigeria today is much similar to that which gave rise to agit-prop theatre in post World-War I Russia and Germany. But a consciously motivated people’s theatre in the form of agit-prop is absent in Nigeria, probably because of a lack of social vision amongst Nigerian artists. In this light this article looks at Tunde Fatunde’s plays, since they tell about the triumph of the collective consciousness and power of the proletariat over that of the corrupt few in positions of influence. It advances a new theory of dramaturgy in Nigeria by highlighting the domestication of agit-prop theatre through the critical appraisal of Fatunde’s two plays: ‘No more oil boom’ and ‘No food, no country’. First, the author discusses the myth of the people’s power and the dramaturgy of a new social order. Secondly, he dwells on the reassessment of the performing arts (especially theatre art) in the light of Fatunde’s new theatre of mass appeal and collective consciousness. Notes, ref.