Soyinka on Stage

Nobel laureate works with student production of his play
January 31, 2011
 


Nigerian playwright and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka visited campus this fall to work with students producing his play Beatification of Area Boy. Soyinka, a scholar and activist, wrote the play in the early 1990s, when Nigeria was ruled by a military dictatorship. The government charged him with treason and forced him into exile.

The play, an African take on the Robin Hood legend, has been performed around the world. At Duke, Soyinka worked closely with the actors, offering insights into the play’s nuances. He explained the references in the play, told stories about Nigeria, and aided them with the broken English of some of the dialogue. The play was directed by Jody McAuliffe, a professor of the practice of theater studies.

Soyinka, who was a distinguished scholar in residence at the Franklin Humanities Institute in 2008, also participated in discussions about the play and about slums in the developing world while on campus.

This fall, he launched a political party in Nigeria, the Democratic Front for a People’s Federation, which aims to take on corruption and improve health and education services.

Watch video of the play and learn more from Duke News.