Indigenous Ritual Aesthetics on Stage: A Survey of Contemporary Syncretic Theatre of Oceania
The use of indigenous ritual (both formal and informal), ritual performance, and mythology in modern Oceanic theatre speaks directly to cultural practitioners and informed audience/readers. Various contemporary syncretic plays originating from Oceania will be analyzed for their connection to indigenous ritual. These plays include John Broughton’s Te Hokinga Mai (The Return Home), Sudesh Mishra’s Ferringhi, Jo Nacola’s Gurudial and the Land, Briar Grace-Smith’s Ngā Pou Wāhine and When Sun and Moon Collide, Vilsoni Hereniko and Teresia Teaiwa’s Last Virgin in Paradise, Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl’s Ka Wai Ola, Albert Belz’ Te Maunga, and Makerita Urale’s Frangipani Perfume. Understanding the way in which syncretic theatre is created in postcolonial societies within Oceania will help to build a greater understanding of how cultures and communities are restructuring and reclaiming traditional cultural practices within their respective communities. Using various play-specific dramatic and anthropological theories, scripts are analyzed in order to identify the indigenous cultural element present within the respective scripts.