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The theatre of Ovonramwen: A reflection on the dramaturgy and politics of historical reconstruction in the Nigerian theatre

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Abstract
The Ovonramwen theatre is a paradigm that necessarily celebrates various theatrical performances and play-texts that reflect on the life and time of Oba Ovonramwen, the former King of the Benin Kingdom, Nigeria. Using the deductive methodology, this paper reflects on the politics of historical reconstruction in the Nigerian theatre and importantly evaluates various play-texts written about Ovonramwen by Nigerian playwrights. We conclude that the international theatre market will benefit from the Ovonramwen theatre and sincerely call on the British Government to tell us their own account about the subjugation of the people of Benin and the deposition of the god-king (Ovonramwen) through the famous revenge mission in 1897. Theatricalising these events through a play-text by a British writer or commissioned by the British Government will further help us to do more comparative study about Ovonramwen all in the Ovonramwen theatre. The ‘incisors’ must be separated from the ‘grinders’ if the truth must be known.
Résumé
Le théâtre d’Ovonramwen est un paradigme de performances théâtrales et des textes qui reflètent la vie du Roi Ovonramwen, l’un des anciens rois de Benin au Nigéria. A travers une méthodologie déductive, cet article traite de la politique de reconstruction historique du théâtre nigérian et évalue surtout les divers textes des pièces théâtrales écrits sur les dramaturges nigérians. Nous concluons que le marché international du théâtre va bénéficier de l’oeuvre théâtrale d’Ovonramwen et va en profiter pour demander au Gouvernement Britannique de donner sa version de la subjugation du Royaume du Benin et de la déposition du Roi-Dieu (Ovonramwen) à travers la fameuse mission de vengeance de 1897. En théâtralisant ces événements au moyen d’une pièce théâtrale d’un dramaturge britannique, approuvée par le Gouvernement Britannique, on arriverait mieux à procéder à une étude comparative sur Ovonramwen dans diverses oeuvres théâtrales. Les “incisives” doivent se séparer des “molaires” si la vérité doit se mettre à nue.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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