Classics in Post-Colonial Worlds (Classical Presences) by Lorna Hardwick, Carol Gillespie

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By Lorna Hardwick, Carol Gillespie

Classical fabric was once regularly used to specific colonial authority, however it was once additionally appropriated by means of imperial topics to develop into first a way of demanding colonialism after which a wealthy box for developing cultural identities that mix the outdated and the recent. Nobel prize-winners reminiscent of Derek Walcott and Seamus Heaney have rewritten classical fabric of their personal cultural idioms whereas public sculpture in southern Africa attracts on Greek and Roman motifs to symbolize histories of African resistance and liberation. those advancements are explored during this selection of essays by way of foreign students, who debate the connection among the tradition of Greece and Rome and the adjustments that experience the top of colonial empires.

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Gesinde, a herald of the attackers and based on Euripides’ Talthybius, has worked out that only opportunism will bring survival. Repeatedly, he stresses that he only executes orders, against his will. In Mike’s production, the perversion of normal human relations is epitomized by the scene in which the baby boy of the Andromache character, Adumaadan, is taken away to be killed: although he is about to smash the child’s head against a tree, Gesinde handles him with great care. Despite the nineteenth century setting, moreover, OsoWsan and Mike give the war present-day resonances, as two examples will show.

Most importantly, the lament is punctured repeatedly by comic elements. Women of Owu is less homogenous in tone than Trojan Women. In both performances that I saw, Gesinde’s intimations to the audience of his thoughts on his superiors were rewarded with laughter at various points. Other characters, too, are sometimes (involuntarily) funny. In particular, the Maye´’s smugness and lack of self-awareness is rather comical, and even the divine dialogue has its funny moments. No doubt there are diVerent ways of producing Women of Owu.

Unsurprisingly, many critics have discovered Western inXuences here. OsoWsan frequently attracts the epithet ‘Brechtian’. However, more recently, critics have begun to point out that—once again—African and European inXuences are hard to separate (Richards 1996: 70–3; Ukala 2001). What may look Brechtian to a European or American may be indigenous to a Nigerian. The Greek, African, and European aspects of Women of Owu are impossible to separate neatly. G R E E C E, AFR IC A, AND THE UK The subtitle OsoWsan has given his play, An African Re-reading of Euripides’ The Trojan Women for the Chipping Norton Theatre, UK, nicely sums up the blend of African, Greek, and modern European elements.

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