African spiritual retentions and racial hybridity in Adrienne Kennedy’s plays
Bonno, Ivan M.
PublisherUniversity of Botswana
RightsCopyright (c) 2016 Pula: Botswana Journal of African Studies
MetadataShow full item record
This article examines resonances of African ritual practice as staged in Adrienne Kennedy’s plays Funnyhouse of a Negro and The Owl Answers, and interrogates the complexities of racial hybridity as scripted in these works. Kennedy infuses these plays with African traditional epistemologies of cosmic order, cosmic retribution, and customary beliefs about healing, and connects them to the search for identity by African American mixed race characters. The article argues that epiphanies of self-consciousness in cross-racial encounters are reinforced by acts of blood-bonding and African indigenous technologies of healing. In these plays, identity and identification, the sacred and the political, the individual and the communal are intrinsically bound. The article illuminates how Kennedy deploys African ritual practices as a strategy to forge African/African American imaginaries and affiliations.
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