THE STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING A TRADITIONAL THEATRE PERFORMANCE IN BUGUMA RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF IKAKI MASQUERADE PERFORMANCE




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THE STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING A TRADITIONAL THEATRE PERFORMANCE IN BUGUMA RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF IKAKI MASQUERADE PERFORMANCE
















ABSTRACT
This research is an exploration of the Ikaki Masquerade display of the Kalabari-Ijaws of the Niger Delta region in Nigeria with the view of identifying strategies applied in managing the tradition theatre elements in these performances. Chapter One is an introduction of the basic premise of this research. Its scope of limitation defines relevant terms and concepts as well as explains the purpose of the study and the research methods applied. Chapter Two contains a systematic review of relevant literature cited in the research. The aim is to critically identify provisions finding and examine gaps in them. Chapter Three functions as the theoretical thrust of this research. This Buguma people, their history, geographical location, culture etc., are looked into. This chapter also identifies management theories applicable in traditional theatre with specific focus on Ikaki Masquerade display. Chapter Four deals with the elements and strategies of the performance, while Chapter Five is the last chapter, all observations made in the course of this research are explained and conclusions reached, while necessary recommendations are made.












TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       i
Certification     -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       ii
Dedication       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       iii
Acknowledgement    -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       iv
Abstract   -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       vi
Table of Contents     -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       vii

CHAPTER ONE
1.1      Introduction
1.2      Scope and Limitation of the Study
1.3      Definition of Terms and Concepts
1.4      Purpose of the Study
1.5      Research Methodology

CHAPTER TWO
2.1   Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE
3.1   Buguma: History and Geographical Location
3.2   Culture, World View and Tradition of the People
3.3   Management Theories and Principles



CHAPTER FOUR
4.1   Elements of Traditional Theatre in Ikaki Performance
4.2   Strategies for Managing the Performance

CHAPTER FIVE
5.1   Observations
5.2   Conclusion
5.3   Recommendations
        Bibliography

















CHAPTER ONE
1.1      INTRODUCTION
Masquerade displays with a whole range of complexities and striking similarities are found among the people of the Deltaic region of Nigeria from the Isoko and Urhobe in the north and west, to the Kalabari Ijaws and Obolo (Andonis) in the south east. Even the names used by these various groups to identify these performances ‘owu aru sun’, ‘owuaya aru’, ‘owuru’, ‘ohworu’ resonate with each other. Although traditions linking these masquerades to the Ijaw (in particular the Kalabari) are somewhat strenuous, there are diverse viewpoints that the similarities cannot be denied.
Apart from the Ijaw-Kalabari speaking people of Buguma, all of the Delta people mentioned above have other masquerades, some of which are far more important in terms of their local deities and clan commemorations. The complexities, (as with many other aspects of the cultures of the Niger Delta people) can tell us much about their interaction over the centuries, but we are only beginning to grasp the scope of these masquerade linkages.
Of all the different masquerades, Ikaki (tortoise) is perhaps one of the most notable characters. Curiously referred to as the “old man from the forest”, it is not only depicted as a morally depraved character. It is a little puzzling to discover that in the context of narration, “Ikaki” is required as purely fictional character, whilst in the context of masquerade dancing; Ikaki“is regarded as nature spirit (owu amabo).
In the course of this research, attempts are made to critically examine when, why and where the performance originated from. Efforts are also made to further enhance previous findings on the rich vistas of entertainment and indeed, theatrical elements identifiable in the “Ikaki” masquerade display. Attempts are also made to establish lines of similarities that may exist between masquerades of different ethnic groups.
Although Kalabari custom and tradition strictly forbids anyone from openly revealing the present Ikaki performer by name, obviously due to the need tu sustain the illusion of mysticism behind the character, this will not rob this research of its credibility.
Lastly, I hope that in reading this work, the reader would be properly acquainted with the strategies in managing these performances and further debunk the wrong notions carried around by western scholars against African theatre and drama as lacking elements. A brief definition of management theories and principles also gives this research an added impetus for proper understanding.
1.2      SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Presented in four chapters, the scope of this research shall be restricted to the managerial strategies put in place in ensuring proper management of masquerade performances with specific reference to “Ikaki” masquerade. This research does not aim at reviewing all existing masquerade performances in Buguma. That will be beyond the scope of this research. Hence, only “Ikaki” is selected as a case study since it falls within the compass of this research.


1.3      DEFINITION OF TERMS
The word “management is derived from the verb “manages” which means to control, to deal with or guide, to mean something. Management thus means to manage something. It is the ‘science’ and ‘art’ (emphasis, mine) of organizational control of human activity towards specific ends, according to the international labour organization.
A more concise definition could be found in the forelands definition quoted management as that process by which managers create, direct, maintain and operate purposeful aims through systematic, coordinated, cooperative human effort.
We can safely say that management involves the effective carrying out of an organization’s work. For the purpose of this research, management is looked at as the process whereby a conclusive atmosphere is created for the various human and material resources to be utilized to achieve the planned objectives.



STRATEGY: Seth Accra Jaja (2000) defines a strategy:
As the action an organization takes to pursue its business objectives. Strategy results in a good performance. An organization strategy is multi-faced. It can be viewed from a number of directions depending on which aspect of its actions is of interest (200: 12).  

From the above strategy is the use of skill in achieving a purpose
THEATRE: The world ‘theatre’ is derived from a Greek word “theatron”, which simply refers to  “a place of seeing”. Viewed from the above reference, theatre simply describes a building for dramatic renditions. However, Gassner (1953) observes succinctly that:
Theatre is simply the art of acting out something; it does not even need a specific building and stage for it can take place in a threshing circle, in a street, or on any piece of grand (1953: 71)



For Wilson (1976), theatre can be appreciated more as an experience or better put, in art.
Theatre is an experience, an immediate are whose meaning is grasped through an understanding of the encounter between who creates theatre performance, writers, directors, designers, technicians and those who view it members of the audience (1061: 1).

Jersy Growtoski on his part observes that to the academic, theatre is a place where an actor recites a written text, illustrating it with a series of movements in order to make it easily understood.
The theatre is first and foremost a place of entertainment. If he expects to encounter a frivolous muse, the text does not interest him in the least. What interest him are the so-called gaps, the comic efforts and perhaps, the fun which leads back to the text (198:28).

Obu (1984), defining African traditional theatre, sees it as a series of events, dramatic scenes and processions by a group of performers before an audience most of whom may be participant in the act:

From the above citations, one can infer that the word “theatre” can refer to or mean one or more things at the same time depending on the individual’s point of view. However, this research looks at the word “theatre” as the cumulative, spontaneous and ephemeral impressions derived from the happenings between the actors, and the audience, and the spectacles created before the audience.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
In this research, the methodology applied involves three basic features. These are:
i.            Identifying and defining the problem
ii.          A review of relevant literature
iii.        Critical analysis of research findings
iv.         Drawing necessary influence/condition of materials from published reports, journals books magazines etc., is also utilized.






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