Interrogating the Ritual Essence and Performance Aesthetics of Eyo Adamu Orisa
Soyinka’s perspective on man and the spatial phenomenon of his being intensifies scholarly consensus on the confluence of theatre and rituals. Apart from the historical fact that the former evolved from the latter, both have sustained a marriage of convenience, complementing each other. Rituals and festivals are siblings and by extension, ritual, festival and theatre/ performance are interwoven. Against the background of this tripartite intercourse,
this paper examines the ritual embodiment and the performance cum theatrical aesthetics of Eyo Adamu Orisa. The data for this research is sourced from interviews with selected custodians of Eyo Adamu Orisa and a review of scholarly literature on the subject. The thesis of this paper is driven by the theoretical framework of functionalism. The paper concludes that the Eyo Adamu Orisa is a two-sided phenomenon of spirituality and artistic expression. It is ritualistic on one hand and entertaining on the other. In other words, it provokes pleasant amusement and at the same time facilitates spiritual purification. Therefore, the paper recommends that while being entertained both the participants and audience should neither lose sight of its ritual dimension nor confuse the significance of its ritual with the spectacle of its performance.