SPACE AND PLACE OF DRAMA IN HEALTH HUMANITIES

SPACE AND PLACE OF DRAMA IN HEALTH HUMANITIES

ABSTRACT

Poor health is one of the major problems contributing to high mortality rate in Nigeria. Apart from this, there still exists what seems to be an abysmal failure in the health systems. Such failures as poorly equipped hospitals and health care centres, inefficient staff, lack of adequate supervision and poor health communication strategies are notable. The theatre and other humanities, as major stakeholders are not playing aloof to these societal needs. This is evident in the numerous plays, films and performances that are targeted at health situations. Also, various developmental agencies have often used a variety of performance strategies to address diverse health concerns. Ola Rotimi’s Hopes of the Living Dead, Ama Ata Aidoo’s Anowa, Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman stand out as prominent dramatic contributions to health-related issues. Health Humanities as an emerging discipline seeks for a higher convergence between health and humanities. One of the major objectives of the discipline is to seek for the general wellbeing and good health for all. It is evident that both on the stage and on the page the full potentials of these plays with regards to their health imperatives have not been fully unlocked. Previous research carried out on these plays focused on other subjects treated by the playwrights while the health issues were vaguely mentioned or even neglected. The aim of this study is to interrogate the place of drama in addressing health issues through these plays. This study adopted the Historical-Descriptive Design. Literary and artistic tools of the qualitative research methodology were employed. Primary sources werep In-Depth Interviews (IDIs), play texts and observations. Secondary sources were the internet, published materials such as, journals, books, undergraduate project reports, dissertations and theses. The theoretical framework that was adopted for this study is Drama Theory and Reader Response Critical Approach. The health issues raised by the playwrights and discussed in this study traverse reproductive and mental health problems all of which form part of major health issues militating against sustainable development in Nigeria today. The texts studied, serve as a deep rooted and timeless historic material that reflects the fears of a world plagued by different sicknesses and possible strategies to overcoming current/future health situations. The plays reveal that the collective will of a people to live, plays a key role in wellbeing and good health.