Trickster Theatre

Trickster Theatre : The Poetics of Freedom in Urban Africa

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Trickster Theatre traces the changing social significance of national theatre in Ghana from its rise as an idealistic state project from the time of independence to its reinvention in recent electronic, market-oriented genres. Jesse Weaver Shipley presents portraits of many key figures in Ghanaian theatre and examines how Akan trickster tales were adapted as the basis of a modern national theatre. This performance style tied Accra's evolving urban identity to rural origins and to Pan-African liberation politics. Contradictions emerge, however, when the ideal Ghanaian citizen is a mythic hustler who stands at the crossroads between personal desires and collective obligations. Shipley examines the interplay between on-stage action and off-stage events to show how trickster theatre shapes an evolving urban more

Product details

  • Paperback | 308 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 16 b&w illus.
  • 0253016533
  • 9780253016539
  • 2,058,142

Review quote

Thoroughly researched, and supplemented by Shipley's own remarkable fieldwork as both chronicler and performer within the history, this is one of the most sophisticated and thorough volumes on African performance in recent memory. With its rich discussion of millennial Ghanaian performance, this rich primary source is a model of scholarship. . . . Essential. * Choice *show more

About Jesse Weaver Shipley

Jesse Weaver Shipley is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Haverford College. He is author of Living the Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music and has produced a documentary film with the same more

Table of contents

Introduction: Poetics of UncertaintyPart I. History and Mediations in Making Theatre1. Making Culture: Race, History, and a Theory of Performance in the Gold Coast Colony2. The National Theatre Movement: Urban Art Infrastructures and a Contested National Culture in Independence-Era Accra3. Revolutionary Storytelling: Pan-African Theatre and Remaking Lost Futures in 1980s Ghana4. A Man of the People: Mohammed Ben Abdallah as Artist-PoliticianPart II. Stagings in Millennial Ghana5. Total African Theatre: Language, Reflexivity, and Ambiguity in The Witch of Mopti6. "The Best Tradition Goes On": Audience, Consumption, and the Structural Transformation of Concert Party Popular Theatre 7. Fake Pastors and Real Comedians: Doubling and Parody in Miraculous, Charismatic Performance 8. Copying Independence: Backstage at the Fiftieth-Anniversary Reenactment of Nkrumah's Independence SpeechConclusion: Unfreedom as Critical TheoryNotesBibliographyIndexshow more