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Shadows in the Sun: Context, Process, and Performance in Ethiopia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 August 2012


Andegna (The First) was developed and performed during the fall and winter of 2009–10 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This article examines the complex social, political, and cultural contexts that informed the training, workshops, and process of creating an ensemble and performance in a time of national transformation. Urbanization and the crossing currents of Africa, Islam, Christian Orthodoxy, capitalism, the West, and technology prompted the re-conceptualization of performance, its function, and expression. In this article Thomas Riccio highlights the methodologies of reinventing an indigenous performance that is respectful of local traditions yet contemporary and accessible. He discusses how performance provides a forum for revealing social, political, and cultural trauma, and itself becomes an act of affirmation – an assertion of protest and healing that makes visible, immediate, and tactile the histories and unresolved issues haunting modern Ethiopia. Thomas Riccio, is Professor of Performance and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, having previously been Professor of Theatre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Artistic Director of Chicago's Organic Theater Company, Resident Director and Dramaturg, the Cleveland Play House, Assistant Literary Director at the American Repertory Theatre, Visiting Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam and the Korean National University for the Arts, and Artistic Director of Tuma Theatre, an Alaska Native performance group. He has worked extensively in the area of indigenous performance, ritual, and shamanism, conducting workshops, research, and devising numerous performances in Africa, Russia, Siberia, Korea, China, Vietnam, and Alaska. He was declared a ‘Cultural Hero’ of the Sakha Republic in central Siberia.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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