An African Dream Play = Isivuno Sama Phupha : reconstructing the spirit of ubuntu in the contemporary urban 'village' through theatre

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

My project proceeds from the question: What might an African Dream Play be for the 21 st Century? Or how might dreams be used to generate content and presentational form as well as to influence the way in which the audience experience or participate in the performance event? My interest in the African Dream Play lies in a belief that it might provide a means of reconstructing the spirit of ubuntu through theatre. It seeks - both in process and presentation - to include in this reconstruction, that which is popularly known as moral regeneration - which I see rather as spiritual regeneration. My contention is that we, and particularly young people, are living in a social and spiritual crisis and the African Dream Play attempts a trans formative intervention within the dynamic fabric of the contemporary urban 'village'-a space of many cultures, languages, ideologies and levels of economic status. This explication sets my practical research and the production Isivuno Sama Phupha in particular, in a theoretical framework and performance historical context. It draws on the theories of Victor Turner, specifically his concepts 'liminality' and 'communitas' and his idea of the social drama. It then traces the evolution of my theatrical research: first through an interest in cultural and religious practices prevalent in the townships around Cape Town and how they might be used to generate material for the theatre and an aesthetics of presentation that could stimulate the communitas experience for both the performers and the audience; then, on to dreams and how they might provide the stimulus for my envisaged theatre by utilizing an experience of their essential liminality.

Includes abstract.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 43-44).