Thrusday, June 21, 2007
“The marriage of Anansewa” at National Theatre
UNDER the auspices of the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat, the Marriage of Anansewa will be performed at the National theatre from July 27 to 29, at 7.30pm each night.
The play was written by the late Mrs. Efua T. Sutherland.
The Marriage of Anansewa is based on “Anansegoro”, a kind of Ghanaian folk-theatre, derived from the story-telling tradition, with Ananse (the spider) as the hero/villain, who is always scheming his way out of trouble.
Sometimes he succeeds; many a time, too, he is caught in his web. The play is about Kwaku Ananse and his plan to marry off his daughter to four different chiefs, a plan that will lavish wealth on him and change his misery of poverty into life of affluence.
The girl, Anansewa, is sad and afraid that her father will not be able to untie the knot he is tying around his neck; yet she trusts him to undo the mess he has created. Anansewa is, however, pleased with the idea of having Chief- Who-is her father’s cunning – Chief as a husband and appreciates her father’s “cunning”.
When the plan gets complicated, Ananse spins another web, where he makes his daughter feign death in order to eliminate the other three chiefs – Chief of Sapase, Chief of the Mines, and Togbe Klu of Akate from the competition.
He succeeds in the end when Anansewa wakes up “miraculously” on hearing the name of Chief-Who-Is-Who.
Efua Theodora Sutherland popularly known as “Auntie Efua,” was born in Cape coast, the Central Regional capital of the then Gold Coast, on June 27, 1924.
She obtained her B.A.degree in Homertons College, Cambridge University; and also studied at the school of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She was a research Associate at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, where she helped establish the School of Music and Drama, now The School of Performing Arts.
Efua Sutherland makes effective use of local myths, folk stories and traditions as a commentary on contemporary issues in Ghana in particular, and Africa as a whole. She founded the Ghana Experimental Theatre in Accra in 1958, with the aim of taking theatre to the people in both urban and rural areas of the country.
In 1960 Efua built the Ghana Drama Studio, where vigorous theatrical activities, including workshops, new directions in African theatre and dramatic form, research and experimentation occurred.
Her contribution to the development of children’s theatre, traditional and contemporary theatre, playwriting, poetry and research is, indeed, remarkable. Among her classics are The Marriage of Anansewa, Edufa, and Foriwa. Auntie Efua died in 1997.
The play is directed by Sandy Arkhurst and produced by Martin Owusu.
TIMES WEEKEND - Thursday, June 21, 2007 Page: 13