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UCSB Theater to Perform ‘Anowa’ by Ghanaian Author Ama Ata Aidoo

African play, opening Friday, billed as both 'an historical folk tale and a modern allegory'

The UCSB Department of Theater and Dance presents Anowa, a landmark drama by Ghanaian author Ama Ata Aidoo and directed by UCSB faculty member Irwin Appel, running Friday through June 2 in the Hatlen Theater on the UCSB campus.

Set in a village called Yebi in Ghana, West Africa, the play tells the story of Anowa, an independent-minded young woman who rejects the suitors her parents suggest and marries a trader from a neighboring village for love. Anowa ultimately becomes an unwilling collaborator in the African slave trade, which drives the play to a tragic end.

Framed by proverbs and village gossip, Anowa reworks the richness of the African oral tradition while spinning a tale with universal appeal. Appel, who directed last year’s UCSB production of Hamlet, explains that “the beauty of Anowa is that it is both an historical folk tale and a modern allegory.”

Aidoo will be on campus as a Regents’ Lecturer and this year’s Michael Douglas Lecturer in the Department of Theater and Dance. The production of Anowa corresponds with a three-day conference at UCSB that will explore her work and the broader questions of Diaspora and gender it raises.

She will deliver a keynote address at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Hatlen Theater titled, “A Mined Space or a Contemporary Matrilineal Society Under Pressure from Global Patriarchy?: A Reading.” She plans to participate in a talk-back after the opening night of Anowa on Friday.

Click here for more details of her visit.

Performances will begin at 8 p.m. May 25-26 and May 31-June 2, and at 2 p.m. June 2. Tickets are $13 to $17. Click here or call the ticket office at 805.893.7221.

Patrons with special needs due to a disability should call the department at 805.893.3022. The department’s productions are not targeted to children.

— Eric Mills represents the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance.

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