A pinboard by
Zelalem Teferi

Lecturer, Jimma University


Performance analaysis of ritual dramas presented on Ethiopians Stage.

Substantial acadamic research works have been made to study the intrinsic limits and intersections beteen ritual and theatre. The simple fact that the ritual mode of action overlaps other pursuit, such as body movement, performance and space division. Several ritualistic elements exists in theatre and these particular convention disignate the more complex dynamics of the two. Though it is debatable to define ritual drama, in Africa, the term refers indigenous african performances which currently integrated with contemporary drama. The study of ritual drama, as a discipline, commenced early in this century as a result of some scholars dissatisfaction with the nature of the discipline of theatre history. In later days, the study was carried on assiduously but with the belief of modernity of European theatre, usually with agonizing methodological nativitiy primarily concerning on forms of events but ignoring cultural contexts. To understand ritual drama and thereby the development of other theatre forms, one must look behind the form and try to discover its' function. In looking at different examples of ritual drama, artists' should consider various functions; like social control and maintenance of justice as Burns; 1972 stated " An Indian religious or secular ritual, for example, must be analyzed in terms of its relevance to an alien context and not on its own terms." In Ethiopia, western drama came in to existence after Tekilehawariat Tekilemariams' play 'comedy of animals' 1931. His tought on ways of dramatization practiced in the newly established schools. The first attempt was made by foreign teachers who produced shekespeare's plays. " inspired by them, playwrights such as Yofitahe Nigusse emerged." (Nebiyou: 2009). Research works revealed that, Ethiopian theatre development, like in other countries such as; Greek has not emerged from rituals. More importantly, the prevailing theatre in all theatre houses do not dramatize rituals on stage rather imitates structures of western theatre. Inspite of this fact, since its establishment, Addis Ababa University school of Theatre Arts has a history of dramatizing rituals on stage. However, we can't find rigorous research works that has been made on this area. Therefore, this paper critically analyzed what contemporary dramatic elements were portrayed and how performing rituals on stage benifits the community and the discipline in selected ritual dramas wherein Ethiopian culture is well articulated.