Werewere Liking, Sony Labou Tansi, and Tchicaya U Tam'si: Pioneers of "New Theater" in Francophone Africa

by Fouts, Salome Wekisa

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation is an analysis of “new African theater” as illustrated in the works of three francophone African writers: the late Congolese Sony Labou Tansi (formerly known as Marcel Ntsony), the late Congolese Félix Tchicaya, who wrote under the pseudonym Tchicaya U Tam’si, and the Cameroonian Werewere Liking. The dissertation examines plays by these authors and illustrates how the plays clearly stand apart from mainstream modern French-language African theater. The introduction, in Chapter 1 provides an explanation of the meaning that has been assigned to the term “new African theater.” It presents an overview of the various innovative structural and linguistic techniques new theater playwrights use that render their work avant-garde. The chapter also studies how new theater playwrights differ from mainstream ones, especially in the way they address and present their concerns regarding the themes of oppression, rebellion, and the outcome of rebellion. The information provided in this chapter serves as a springboard to the primary focus of the dissertation, which is a detailed theoretical and textual analysis of experimental strategies used by the three playwrights in the areas of theme, form, and language. Chapter 2 shows how Liking experiments with indigenous ritual form, symbolic ritual language, and body language while presenting concerns about the oppression of women in La puissance de Um (1979) and Les mains veulent dire (1987). Chapter 3 demonstrates how oppressive leadership is presented by Labou Tansi in his ritualistic, yet grotesque, La parenthèse de sang (1979) and the grotesque in Je soussigné cardiaque (1981). Chapter 4 explores U Tam’si concerns with oppression in modern Africa illustrated through the indigenous funeral dirge in Le bal de Ndinga (1979), and the grotesque and the absurd in Le destin glorieux du Maréchal Nnikon Nniku (1979). Chapter 5 provides a commentary on the revolutionary nature of the three playwrights’ works and discusses the accessibility of these works to the audience for whom they are intended.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:francophone african theater new


Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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