Disputation: Ibsen on the West African stage: A case of a complicated relationship
Master Solace Sefakor Anku will be defending the thesis: Ibsen on the West African stage: A case of a complicated relationship.
At the brink of the collapse of the colonial rule, literature and theatre endeavors in the colonies acted as ways to express rebellion and dissatisfactions towards colonial rule. In another way, interests in literary works from European countries other than the colonial power in-charge in a particular territory was a common manner of expressing displeasure and anger. Interest in Ibsen soared in some English territories, particularly in southeastern Asia and during the postcolonial period. This interest continues today. In Africa, the reception of Ibsen’s works found fertile ground in the southern region of the continent. Ibsen’s ideas, dramaturgy and characters appear to resonate with some southern African theatre traditions, and perhaps, its needs.
This dissertation investigates the various influences that informed the early attempts to use Ibsen’s works, and the censorship imposed on them in the colonial and post-colonial periods in Ghana, while drawing on Nigerian events. Besides the implications the censorship rules had on the reception of Ibsen’s plays, this study also explores emerging post-colonial discourses and how these debates shaped western African literature/theatre and its reaction to western texts and ideals. In the context of this study, emphasis is placed on how these discourses have created expectations and motifs in the theatre/ literary traditions of this region. To further the argument, the study focuses on the imagining of the feminine role and the identity of motherhood, a common motif in western African literature/theatre.
The study argues that the imagining of this motif is instrumental to this region’s literature and its communication of ideologies associated to nationalism, rebellion and feminism. From this perspective, the study contends, by comparing Ibsen’s presentation of this motif and its accorded symbolism, to illustrate evident contradictions. By exploring this conflict, the thesis shows the differences in the conception of gender and feminist thoughts between western African writers and Ibsen.