A Study of Some Major Influences in Efo Kodjo Mawugbe’s Plays

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This study sets out to outdoor Efo Kodjo Mawugbe as a Ghanaian playwright who has contributed to the development of literature and theatre in Ghana. It examines how he adapts the Theatre of the Absurd and the Theatre of Cruelty in the creation of his plays. It also examines his interest in Efua Theodora Sutherland’s Anansegoro, an innovative Ghanaian theatrical genre which is aimed at preserving our story-telling tradition, Anansesem. The study takes a critical look at some of Mawugbe’s plays: The G-Yard People, Up-stairs And Down-stairs, Acquired Prison Traumatic Syndrome and Ananse – Kweku – Ananse, and concludes that he adapts Esslin’s Theatre of the Absurd and Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty in creating his African Theatre of the Absurd, which is aimed at telling the African story from an African perspective. It is concluded that the unique quality of the theatrical genres he adapts are best appreciated through the performances of his plays. Mawugbe’s plays are evidence of the theatre’s power to create a social occasion and speak directly to many people. It also concludes that he is attracted to Anansegoro and writes his play, Ananse – Kweku – Ananse, in that tradition, because he believes that Ananse’s role as a parody of society can never be over emphasized. Ananse as a folktale character does not expire with time. His character and role can be enhanced to suit the Ghanaian contemporary audience. One way to achieve this is by introducing contemporary characters within the society that the audience can easily recognize, and Mawugbe explores this avenue to the fullest.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of English, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of a degree of MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY IN ENGLISH Faculty of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Social Sciences May 2009.