The Beatification of Area Boy: A Lagosian Kaleidoscope | Duke Campus: Reynolds Industries Theater | Stage | Indy Week
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The Beatification of Area Boy

Courtesy of the Duke Theater Studies

The Beatification of Area Boy

The Beatification of Area Boy: A Lagosian Kaleidoscope 

When: Oct. 21-31 2010
Price: $10
www.theaterstudies.duke.edu

When Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1986, he was only just beginning to face a new series of struggles. The Nigerian writer had faced arrest and persecution during the convulsive process of post-colonialism in the 1960s, and in the 1990s, he faced down an even more ruthless enemy of the people, Gen. Sani Abacha, whose regime's crimes included the internationally condemned execution of writer and dissident Ken Saro-Wiwa. Soyinka was forced to flee the country in 1994, an experience he recounted in the 1996 book The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis. The following year, he was charged with treason. Among Soyinka's offenses to the Abacha regime was the play The Beatification of Area Boy: A Lagosian Kaleidoscope, which he was forced to mount abroad, in Leeds, England. Despite the violent political context, the play is actually a comedy that depicts the unlawful acts of common Nigerians, including underworld figures and legal shopkeepers, as serving the cause of resistance. Duke theater professor Jody McAuliffe directs this production. Soyinka himself is in residence at Duke during the first week of the play's run. —David Fellerath

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