Over the year’s different researcher have made attempt to analyze the literary piece of Akpakaland and Iredi War because of the use of cultural and traditional setting and language. The aim of this study is to find the element of folklore in the plays. The study review the works of others in relation to the plays, the study uses narrative techniques. The study also use the methodology of content analysis which aim at bringing out the fore the aesthetic of folklore in Sam Ukala’sAkpakaland and Iredi War.
1.1 Background to the Study
Folktale in Africa is highly valued as a means of passing narrative stories from people to people. Folktale drama is a stage performance. Drama is a literary work that teaches people life. Playwrights of contemporary friction are known for treating and addressing critical issues affecting people, individual and community. Drama has shown a capacity for flexibility by accommodating the experiences of a wider variety of people across the world. People’s interests, problems, hopes, plight e.t,c as portrayal in many play in Nigeria.
Using the Africa folktale, playwrights achieve this through their folkloric aesthetic preoccupations. According to Sekoni (1990), folktale is an oral narrative that communicates in manipulation pattern for the purpose of passing meaning and attaining aesthetic experience. Folktale is a means of communicating a message to an audience in a special way that the audience feels and become part of the story telling process.
There are three folkloric aesthetic experiences in Africa drama that is performer on. These are captivating audience, retention of audience and transfer of cognitive experience to the audience. According to Eregare (2017), the three folkloric aesthetic experiences are inseparable components and they are what make the folktale unique. The performer catches the attention of the audience and sustains it till the end of the play.
Recently, the folktale in Nigeria has changed. Before now, the narrator only tells the story to the audience. The audience gathers round the narrator or 180 degree circle around the narrator. As witnessed in the Alpakaland and Iredi War, the narrator shares the stage with the performers. This ensures that the folktale achieved the three performance experience. According to Lisa (2018), folk drama of African background now dwells on performance strategy to bring out some form of festive communication, dance, ritual, religion and other form of cultural relation.
Akpakaland and Iredi War are oral performance theatre. The two dramas centered on Ika people in colonial era in Nigeria. The drama got it footage on the concept of traditional, culture and reign of kingship in Ika land.
The terms, folk, folk art, folklore, folk music, folk dance, folktale, folklorist, had been crystallized and conceptualized before Sam Ukala’s theorization of his dramaturgy, folkism. The point of convergence in the aforementioned words is that they are rooted in nativist and traditional culture. In fact, they are people oriented. What is folkism and what makes Ukala’s theatre distinctive from the theatres that precedes it.
Ukala defines folkism as “the tendency to base literary plays on the history, culture and concerns of the folk (the ‘people in general), and to compose and perform them in accordance with African conventions for composing and performing the folktales”. In other words, plays that adhere to the convention of Folkism, must be grounded in the culture and mores of the people. Beyond this, the technicality of the play must conform to the traditional African storytelling mode. The traditional African theatre is a festival theatre. It is a theatre where performers and spectators converge. There is no clear demarcation between performers and spectators, hence the spectators are co-performers. Sam Ukala’s theatre leans heavily on folkist techniques based on the aesthetics of the storytelling theatre”
The Akpakaland and the Iredi war possessed folkist tendencies. Iredi War is a little different since it is written out of history and not made up story or lie story as is found in most folktales like the Akpakaland. According to Eregare (2008), the story for the play is a true event that took place in owa kingdom during the colonia time. The Odour of Justice in the Akpakaland which represented the traveils of ObiamakaElema. However, the difference is that Odour of Justices and other drama in the Akpakaland were written in a folkist style.
The Iredi war like Akpakaland starts with the narrator. The Iredi war has two narrator; male and female. The narrator in the folktale provides direction the play takes and fulfills the first and second folkist laws of aesthetic response; the law of opening and the law of joint performance.
The dramaturgy use in the Sam UkalaAkpakaland and the Iredia war brought so much understand to the folktales. According to Ergare (2000), Sam Ukala camp up with some important aesthetic laws which if applied the folktale would do better as a literary text. The aesthetic laws of folktale are the law of opening, the law of joint performance, the law of creativity, free enactment and responsibility, the law of judgment, the law of protest against suspense, the law of expression of the emotions, the law of ego projection and the law of closing, (Ukala, 1993).
Orjinta (2013), explained that Ukala’s laws of aesthetic was referred as the politics of Aesthetic which constitute the essence of folkism. Each of the eight laws brought the drama of folktale to a stand point of perfection as the law of opening being the first established the opening technic of traditional folktale performance. These include the narrator’s arousal of the audience, his introduction of the play’s major characters and its settings. The arousal is achieved through “a call” made by the narrator, to which the audience responds, or a song in which they join. The audience may at times, join in a dance with the narrator, (Orjinta, 2013).
Eregare (2017) explained that folkist play usually starts with an arresting action and most times with song which gives the audience an incline of what the tale is all about, that law of opening leads to involving the audience in the unfolly.
The second law which is on joint performance was rightly used by Sam Ukala in Akpakaland. The law of joint performance exploits the participatory nature of the audience in indigenous. Folktale performance here in “traditional Africa audience co-perform” with the narrator, “asking questions or making comments to remove vagueness, play roles in the enactment of parts of the story and taking over the tale from a fairly narrator, (Orjinta, 2013). This law of performance is very important as this is what makes African theatre unique. In the folkist theatre, the device that has been used to involve the audience is to create character called Members of the Audience (MOA), (Eregare, 2017).
The third law is the use of creativity, free enactment and responsibility, which allows the narrator and the actors to freely interpret the script the way they choose. They are of course held liable for their actions the narrator or actor uses his or her voice to add colour to the action.
The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh laws deal with audience and their ability to get something out of the encounter with the play. These laws centered on audience’s evaluation of the narrator’s abilities and the character’s conduct, the audience’s questions and comments, their free expression of emotion of grief, pleasure, scorn, fear and sympathy and their “idiosyncratic” interjections aimed at attracting attention to themselves as potential narrator” respectively. These laws are reflected in the text for the reading audience and for stage viewers. Eragare (2013) emphasized that the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh laws stand upon the nature of Africa take audience who will not be silent. They talked if the if the actors are not performing well or If the play drags or the suspense is too long. They would moan or sigh or show their displeasure. This is usually an open display of emotion when the play is liked or disliked, (Eregare, 2013).
The last law of the politics of aesthetic is the law of closing. It demands for a reflection in the script or the stage performance of the traditional folktale techniques of bringing a story to an end. This involved a closing remark rendered by the narrator.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years different researchers have made attempt to analyze the literary piece of Akpakaland andIredi war because of the use of cultural and traditional setting and language. It is very obvious that little effort have been channeled towards folkloric aesthetic work of the dramas. In the course of this project, the researcher is to take into consideration the folkloric aesthetic and Ukala use of dramaturgy which makes the two dramas unique for historic revelation of Ika people.
1.3 Aims and Objective of the Study
The objectives of the study are to discuss exhaustively the folkloric aesthetic usage in the Akpakaland and Iredi War.
- i. To highlight how folkloric aesthetic is use to communicated the history of Ika in the concern of Kingship.
- ii. To exposes Kingdom and cultural justice and the fight against British rule for Akpakaland and Iredi war respectively.
- iii. The aim is to review how folktales, songs, dance and proverb were used by the playwright to communicate the historical events in Ika land and people.
- iv. To find out how dramaturgy enhance folktale aesthetic.
1.4 Significance of the Study
- i. Primarily, the significance of this study lies in the creation of impact on the concept of tradition and culture for the purpose of understanding the culture and tradition of the Ika people in Delta State.
- ii. This work will clarify the fact that the concept of folkloric aesthetic use in the two drama.
- iii. The use of dramaturgy in the drama so as to provide precedent to futher playwright.
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study is based on narrative and performance Akpakaland and Iredi War. It is limited to the collection of drama in Akpakaland and Iredi war by Prof. Sam Ukala which place emphasis on the folkloric aesthetic.
1.6 Research Methodology
The method of gathering information is based on content analysis, using two drama (Akpakaland and Iredi War) by the same author. The researcher will discuss the folkloric aesthetic of the two drama. The study shall generate information from library resources, journals, newspaper and books. These secondary resources were duly consulted in carrying out this research.