Synopses & Reviews
Twice a year in the central Malian region of Segou, communities put aside daily routines to observe and participate in elaborate puppet masquerades produced by local youth associations. These performances rank among the region's most celebrated artistic events. Mary Jo Arnoldi weaves a vivid account of this vibrant West African theater tradition from the interrelated vantage points of the players, the audiences, and the artists who make the masquerades and puppets. Basing her work on current theory in anthropology, art, and performance studies, she examines in depth the processes by which Malians create an affective and dramatic vehicle that expresses their individual, social, and historical identities. Generously illustrated with field photographs and incorporating materials from the author's extensive interviews with sculptors and performers, this performance-centered study foregrounds time, change, and human agency. It recognizes the theater as a dynamic arena of artistic action and a site for the production of cultural knowledge.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -220) and index.