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DRAMA AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
The fundamental aim of this research work has been to identify simply through detailed study of the role and place of drama in accomplishing socio-cultural change. The idea of social change in this research work is change in a positive direction in the system of social organization in a specific society. Chapter one advances the introduction and gives the background information on the relevance and purpose of this research work. Chapter two is the literature review. This chapter reviews previous intellectual opinions on the subject matter of this work with a view to identifying possible lines of development. Chapter three takes a critical analysis of the video film Living Dead as a case study while Chapter four takes a sociological analysis of the work. Chapter five, the conclusion of this project attempts to make recommendations/suggestions on the way forward.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page – – – – – – – – – – i
Certification – – – – – – – – – ii
Dedication – – – – – – – – – iii
Acknowledgement – – – – – – – – iv
Abstract – – – – – – – – – – vi
Table of Contents – – – – – – – – vii
1.2 Scope of Study
1.3 Research Methodology
1.4 Justification of the Study
1.5 Definition of Terms
2.1 Literature Review
3.1 Analysis of Social Background
3.2 Thematic Pre – occupation
3.3 Plot Structure
3.5 Character Delineation
4.1 Social Issues in the Video Film
4.2 Drama as a Tool for Social Change
5.2 Recommendations and Suggestions
Drama is a formidable force in the transformation and restricting of society. Its entertainment attribute notwithstanding, drama plays a great role in education: hence it fosters knowledge. In the view of Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) in Religious Meditations
The goal knowledge is the good of mankind; therefore knowledge itself is power (789:1597)
This shows that drama has power to educate and inform. The relevance of drama is often measured by how well it mirrors the realities of its society. Its importance can also be measured by its ability to point the way forward to higher ideals. That is to say, drama can be a tool for examining the conscience of society, as well as a tool for restructuring it (society) to achieve such higher ideals. Talking about the values of self-criticism Socrates (469-399 B.C.), a great philosopher states:
Man, know thyself for an unexamined life is not worth living, but true wisdom begins with realization of man’s ignorance. (44:1994)
It is thus, the intention of this research work to look at the issues of drama as a tool for instigating change in society. Indeed drama aims at imparting positive behavioral changes, however, one cannot rule out the negative influences unconsciously passed on.
1.2 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers issues concerning drama and its use to foster changes in society. This it does through the chosen video film titled Living Dead by Ekenna Udo-igwe. Chapter one clarifies key terms used in the research work, the methodology adopted and the justification of study. Chapter two reviews relevant literatures, chapter three is the analysis of the drama under study, its social background, its thematic preoccupation, and plot and language structures while chapter four examines the core issue of drama as a tool for change in society. Chapter five is the conclusion. It summarizes the recommendations and suggestions on the way forward.
1.3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
During the process of this research project; information will be drawn from the library and journal publications. Other allied sources for information are the internet relevant dramas.
1.4 JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY
The research project actually seeks to show how drama has contributed to change in the society. That is change in our communities, families, schools and even in our everyday life. From the inception of theatre in Nigeria, drama has always played a prominent role in creating public awareness to conscientize the masses on women emancipation, female genital mutilation, youth violence, and HIV/AIDS and widowhood rites etc. these contributions of drama have helped to shape our cultures and reflect on the lives of people in the society.
It is hoped therefore, that the findings will not only exposes the unacceptable practices but also will foster a positive action toward the appropriate use of drama in building a better society and instigate national consciousness.
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In a research work of this nature, it is proper to begin by clarifying terms and concepts in the context of their usage. Thus the terms drama, social change and culture are clarified below
The word drama is derived from the Greek word dram, which means “to do”. Drama is defined as an imitation before an audience. Drama could be defined as activities that take place in the course of creating an imitative performance. These activities include acting dancing, miming and technical activities etc. that aids the creation of such performances. Drama is man’s attempt at imitating the ideas of nature for the entertainment and instruction of his fellow man. Talking about drama, Oscar Brockett says:
…a play is a representation of “man in action”. But action does not mean mere physical movement; it involves the psychological motivations that lie behind visible behavior. “Man in action” therefore includes the whole range of feelings, thought and deeds that define what sort of creative man is – what he does and why he does what he does (23:1980)
From the above definition, drama implies the enactment of life’s situations or man’s behavior in trying to seek meaning to certain situations in life. In the same way Margorie Boulton sees drama as literature that talks and walks before an audience or our eyes. According to him:
A play is not really a piece of literature for reading. A true play is three-dimensional; it is literature that walks and talks before our eyes (3:1960)
In other words, a play is meant to be translated or transformed into sights, sounds and actions, which may occur literally and physically on stage before an audience. Kenneth Cameron and Patti G. are of the opinion that a play is an art of impersonation, which is presented before an audience. In their words:
Drama is an art in which the performer by impersonation represent or embody imitations of people in a story that is shown to an audience (18:1980)
SOCIAL CHANGE AND CULTURE
Looking at the concept from a sociological viewpoint, M.I. Defleur cited in Ekpenyong defines social change as:
… The organization of specific group within a society or even of the society itself (190:1998)
For Karl Marx, social change can come only through social conflict and this change in society is largely influenced by the contradiction in the economic system and class distinction. This view is in sharp contrast with that of Max Weber who sees change as multifactorial. That is, it can occur for many reasons. New ideas, inventions, rise and fall of power etc. from Defleur et al’s definition, social change occurs as a result of alternations in the social organization of a group or society. Alternation in this case means that there are developments of new norms, the modification of role expectations, a shift of new types of sanctions, the development of different criteria for ranking and the introduction and use of new production techniques. Changes in one unit of social organization are usually accompanied by changes in some other and even the whole.
Social change comes in so many forms and rates and is a pervasive phenomenon in social life. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, change has been so rapid and pervasive in Nigeria that one can easily be persuaded that it is the stuff of life, that society like nature is in a state of ceaseless flux, and that change rather than persistent is the normal and natural condition of life. More so, not all social change denotes progress. War may bring about change but part of that change may be slow in progress for time.
In the same vein Moore E.W. sees social change as;
… the significant alternation of social structure that is, of patterns of social action and interaction including consequences and manifestations of such structures embodied in norms, values and cultural products and symbols (366:1968)
Culture according to J.D. Atemie is an embodiment of the totality of human existence. He further explained that culture is everything passed down from human society, except its biology, technology, language, laws and customs, beliefs and moral standards, and that apart from all these culture is the existence of humans. Atemie further remarks that:
Culture is the axis around which social life revolves as well as the context in which human existence makes meaning (1:1999)
Culture is learned not inherited: hence culture is the learned behavior of members of a given society. Here are some examples that explain culture from various angles. The first two are from anthropologists and the last a critic of the performing art. The definitions not only reveal what culture is, but also what culture does:
Culture is the socially acquired traditions and life style of the members of a society, including their patterned repetitive ways of thinking, feeling and acting (Harry: 1999)
For E.K. Hall (1976), culture is the medium evolved by humans to survive. The medium through all of life’s events must flow – we are culture (p. 4). Again, C. Geertz cited in O. Taylor (1991), reveals that culture can be best understood from a historical viewpoint. According him:
Culture is a historically transmitted pattern of meaning embodied in symbolic forms by means of which people communicates, perpetuate and develop their knowledge about attitude towards life (p. 18)
Finally all the above definitions of culture commonly agree with the notion that culture is a phenomenon that is learned. The creation of a more or less common culture occurs through communication. This includes mass communication. When we listen to radio dramas or watch stage, television or the movie dramas, meaning are being shared, constructed and maintained. Culture also undergoes social changes because many of the choices we make and the principles we set today are radically different from what they were in the past.
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