A Little Movement

You’ll notice that Soyinka has written three significant movement scenes into his play; one for each of the three ‘Acts’. The first tells the story of the stranger’s visit to the village. The second describes an event whereby Baroka bribes an official to move a railway line away from the village. The third tells the story of Baroka’s fall.

You can watch an example of the movement here:

You’ll notice each movement scene contains some or all of the following:

  • It is highly cultural
  • It is communal; everyone seems to participate (reminiscent of the village)
  • It is a spectacle (one of Aristotle’s dramatic elements)
  • Contains chanting, drumming, dancing and mime
  • Narrative

Task: Read each of the movement sections. Organise a shared document to post your responses.  Select one and consider the following:

  • Summarise the narrative embedded in the scene
  • Which element of drama does the scene advance? Provide evidence. ie. Depth is added to the modernity/tradition theme as well as to Baroka’s character in the story of the railway (movement #2).
  • What is the effect on the audience? What about the pace of the play?

Image: ‘joyful dancer

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