NEGOTIATING BOUNDARIES: PERFORMANCE PARTITIONS IN THE MMONWU THEATRE – Chike Okoye and Asika Ikechukwu

Posted by on Apr 30, 2016 in publications | 0 comments

NEGOTIATING BOUNDARIES:
PERFORMANCE PARTITIONS IN THE MMONWU THEATRE
By
Chike Okoye (PhD)
okpilimbem@gmail.com
Department of English Language and Literature
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria
&
Asika Ikechukwu (PhD)
asikaikechukwu@yahoo.com
Department of English
Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Nigeria
+2348038679214

Abstract

The mmonwu mask is an interesting and intriguing part of Igbo culture and cosmology. It is mystic and sacred as it is entertaining even while fulfilling its religious and traditional essence. The practice of this mmonwu mask seems to vary from one culture to another which has become a subject of debate among scholars interested in the mmonwu phenomenon. But suffice it to say that irrespective of the available research and information on the subject of mmonwu mask, much is still left unsaid and the mmonwu culture is one area in the central Igbo cultural heritage begging for more scholarly attention. Perhaps part of the reasons may stem from the religious and scared nature of the mmonwu which could account for the unavailability of the much expected and desired scholarly works on its existence, form and practices in many societies where the mmonwu thrive and survive till today. This paper is one of such effort to foray into the mmonwu subject and reveal some intricate parts of this aged phenomenon. This study sheds light albeit prescriptively, on the mmonwu mask tradition of the Igbo of south eastern Nigeria. The tradition, an age-long and hallowed one, contains many potentially confusing aspects and delineations especially in the performance which is the sphere of concern for this paper. In this study, explanations are given as to the nature and differences between song, chant, mask, and troupe, masquerade and so on; thereby making comprehension clearer and better.
Key words: Mmonwu, theatre, culture, mask, chant, phenomenon

FULL ARTICLE

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