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Soyinka’s Theatre of Revolution: A Political Lesson for Nollywood Writers


Deputy Director/Head, Academic Unit

NICO Training School

National Theatre Annex

Iganmu, Lagos Nigeria


Professor of Theatre Arts and Culture

Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria


GSM: +234-815-444-5558


This presentation will concentrate on an aspect of Wole Soyinka’s work which I believe could be a good lesson for Nollywood and its script writers. The idea of transformation becomes the indelible result of this change. I use the ‘Ritualistic Approach’ since ritual is germane to the understanding of revolution, change, and transformation. The presentation will use Soyinka’s Madmen and Specialists as an example of a representative work of ritual, revolution and political will. It will show that what often seems to be a ‘reactionary’ stance in Madmen and Specialists is really a metaphor for change or transformation. The dramatist intentionally adopts what Brustein calls “happenings,” such as the Nigerian civil war in Madmen and Specialists, to functionally stimulate the intellect and indirectly precipitate change. Nollywood script writers would do well to look at Soyinka’s theatre of revolution and politics and to see that the use of culture and politics should not be a mere embellishment in a dramatic composition but must be artistic and practical. Also, that the lesson to be learned from the use of a “happening” which occurs in the play and which Nollywood script writers often employ is  cultural, revolutionary, and political.