I Will Marry When I Want

The Coming of Age of People and Nations College

In her essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, Laura Mulvey argues that a movie audience derives pleasure from the artform by identifying themselves in the characters on screen (Mulvey, 3). Like cinema, the theatre isolates the audience, making the confrontation strictly between them and the world of the narrative in the dark room. It becomes very natural for the audience to be emotionally engulfed and for the lines between theatre and real life to blur. The effectiveness of political theatre rests on its potential to capitalize on the audience’s sympathy and emotional bond with the cause being presented. Exhibiting the issue as an intellectual argument is insufficient. Rather, theater and film are most powerful when provoking an unsettling emotional disturbance within the audience. Because the audience has projected their own understanding of themselves on the primary protagonists, when those characters come under attack, the audience is also distressed. Likewise, they will feel a shared responsibility to fight back against the exposed issue. In support of this notion, Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s play I Will Marry when I Want achieves the agenda of political theatre through a process of identifying the characters with the...

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