Preview: The Gods Are Not To Blame, Arcola Theatre, London

Authentic rhythms of Africa

When the theatre director Femi Elufowoju Jr stages a play with his company, Tiata Fahodzi (Theatre of the Emancipated), Britain's leading African national touring theatre company, he has to get it right. "You get African audiences coming along to check for authenticity. I must adhere to the African theatre tradition and to the writer's intentions," says Elufowoju. "All my knowledge of African theatre tradition has gone into this play. It is not missing a beat."

First performed in Nigeria in 1968, The Gods Are Not To Blame by Ola Rotimi is the Oedipus saga transposed to African soil. British-born Elufowoju had his first theatre experience in 1975, at the age of 11, when he saw a revival of this very play, performed in a reconstructed Greek amphitheatre at a university campus in Ife, Western Nigeria. "I went out of curiosity with my dad. I was blown away," he says. With its dramatic emphasis on the supernatural - "here was a large cast of about 50 people, all evoking the gods in front of me" - Elufowoju has never looked back. "It was my baptism into African theatre tradition."

Since dance and movement form a vital element to the narrative in African theatre tradition, Elufowoju went back to Nigeria last year to track down the original cast of the 1975 production. "Now the writer is dead, the original cast helped me tackle crucial nuances in the play - such as certain rhythms of movement that go with the songs - that are not in the text."

He founded Tiata Fahodzi in 1997, and his previous productions include Abyssinia (2001) and Bonded (1999). "We explore the workings of our African theatre tradition and find its compatibility with the British stage," he says. The new production opens 30 years virtually to the day when he first saw the play. "I still have the programme notes - 9 June 1975."

'The Gods Are Not To Blame', Arcola Theatre, London E8 (020-7503 1646; www.arcolatheatre.com) 8 June-2 July

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food