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Myths, Legends, and Contemporary Nigerian Theatre

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Femi Osofisan belongs to the new breed of writers, inadequately referred to as ‘second generation’. An accomplished writer whose works include plays, poems, essays and novels, Osofisan is widely regarded as the most significant playwright in Africa after Soyinka. As a committed playwright, Osofisan focuses on the reappraisal of his immediate society and the challenges of living in this society. He calls attention to all that is undesirable in the politics, economy, and religion of contemporary Nigeria and asks for a change of attitude which, hopefully, will bring sanity to the country. One of the means by which Osofisan achieves his artistic objective is the use of myths and legends from Yorùbá mythology. Specifically, we shall show in this essay that Osofisan makes use of the myths of OEango and Èṣú and the legends of Môrèmi and Solarin as a means of thematic exploitation. By so doing, he creates a unique contemporary Nigerian theatre which other playwrights emulate and develop. Many Colours Make the Thunder King, Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels, Morountodun, and Who Is Afraid of Solarin? are used as illustrative texts.


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