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Adaptation in contemporary Nigerian drama: The example of Ahmed Yerima

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Apart from myths, legends, history and contemporary reality, adaptation is another long-standing source of African drama. The article examines the sources, motives, nature and form of textual transposition in contemporary Nigerian drama with a specific focus on the plays of Ahmed Yerima, one of the major dramatists who emerged in the country in the 1990s. While paying attention to the general factors behind adaptation, the article examines Yerima’s An Inspector Calls and Otaelo. Intertextuality and transfiguring are crucial to our understanding of the manifestation of adaptation in Nigerian drama. In both plays, political and historical considerations are very dominant in the choice of texts and modes of transposition. Yerima engages in a critical soul-searching to discuss Nigeria’s postcolonial predicament. While a kind of continuity is apparent in the adapted texts through the retention of essential details of characterization, plot and theme, the indigenous cultural milieu accounts for differences. Thus, through adaptation, Nigerian dramatists bring new perspectives into the source texts and draw the audience’s attention to them.

Keywords: Nigeria; Yerima; adaptation; drama; source text; transposition

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria

Publication date: 2011-08-26

More about this publication?
  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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