Metatheatricalizing Communal Exploitation in Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Ngugi wa Miriis’ I Will Marry When I want

Niyi Akingbe


Metatheatre often refers to the capability of a stage text and performance to ostensibly establish a gamut of commentaries needed to repudiate a pervading social and political quagmire, tellingly obtainable in societies under siege. Metatheatre is a long established theatre tradition which has been sufficiently calibrated in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, put into a utilitarian proclivity in Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, and fully aestheticized in Jean Genet's The Balcony and The Blacks. It is also a tradition which has been successfully exploited in Wole Soyinka's Madmen and Specialists; Athol Fugard's Sizwe Bansi is Dead; Femi Osofisan's The Chattering and the Song and Segun Oyekunle's Katakata for Sofahead. Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Ngugi wa Mirii steeped a metatheatre into the interface of politics and religion in I Will Marry When I Want, in order to foreground the hypocrisy of Christianity as underscored by the exploitation of the downtrodden masses, by the land grabbing Christian elite of the Kenyan society. This paper will be examining how Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Ngugi wa Miriis' I Will Marry When I Want builds on the harvest of the oral, mimetic and metaphoric signification of myth, history and song, to launch a barrage of criticism against a backdrop of land theft. This appropriation is poignantly accentuated by a language of equivocation, usually associated with the Christian elite in Kenya. The paper will among other things emphasize that, the rapacious gluttony for land grabbing is indubitably faith driven, as clearly demonstrated by the Kenyan Christian elite in the play.    


Sloganeering Christianity; Metatheatre; Hypocrisy; Communal Exploitation; Song; Commentary; I Will Marry When I Want

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