Date of Degree

2-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Theatre and Performance

Advisor

Marvin Carlson

Committee Members

Linda Martín Alcoff

James Wilson

Subject Categories

African Languages and Societies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | French and Francophone Language and Literature | Theatre and Performance Studies

Keywords

West African Theatre, Women, Francophone Theatre, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso

Abstract

This dissertation examines French-language theatre in the West African countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo that tackles gender-related themes. Topics often considered taboo, including domestic violence, child brides, and sexual desire, are publically addressed through contemporary theatre. The study focuses on the growing presence of women artists, including playwrights, actresses, and directors. Particularly since 2010, these artists have shifted the aesthetic and thematic substance of the theatre being created. Their presence has also generated new paths for plays written by and directed by men, including gay male characters and bold women. By considering the field of African women's studies and the local realities pertaining to girls, women, and gay men, the dissertation addresses how contemporary Beninese, Burkinabé, and Togolese theatre works towards opening discussions to reshape sociocultural conditions through performance. The chapters investigate Voice, Body, Sexuality, and Same-Sex Desire as theoretical strands to study examples of feminist representations and same-sex desire in the plays, and of women who enter the public sphere of the stage area to affirm their place as artists and activists.

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