International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 265


Theatre of the oppressor: A reading of Butake’s play, “Family Saga”

Christopher Odhiambo Joseph
Department of Literature, Theatre and Film Studies, Moi University, P. O. Box 3900, Eldoret 30100, Kenya
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 21 January 2011
  •  Published: 31 March 2011



This article argues that theatre as an apparatus of change has for along time privileged the transformation of the oppressed people by inciting their conscience and consciousness. This incitement is meant to make them take action, leading to some kind of social and political agency. However, this article argues that the oppressor equally needs to be changed. Therefore theatre/drama as a tool of intervention should be framed in such a way that it provides possibilities for the oppressor to change instead of acting as an imaginary that only privileges the vanquishing of the oppressor. The article takes recourse in John O’Toole’s experiment with theatre in education process to advance its arguments in regard to Bole Butake’s drama and specifically his play ‘Family Saga’.


Key words: Educational drama, theatre of the oppressor, consciousness, dramatic imaginary