This collection of award-winning plays by Tess Onwueme feature the provocative concerns and experiences of global women and youth in today's struggle with poverty, environmental pollution, cultural imperialism, exploitation, race, gender and class inequities, along with the unresolved historical relationship matters between peoples of African descent in Africa and the Diaspora, dramatized in the contexts.
SHAKARA: THE BREAK DANCER:
The teenage Shakara and a school drop-out can no longer stand her poor mother with her “born-again” sister as squatters in a shanty owned by her employer drug baroness/socialite. Shakara joins a gang and flees home. Then the unexpected happens.
THE MISSING FACE:
In this meticulously paced play, Ida, a true optimist about love, family and her culture, takes a great leap in rearing her son, as she pulls him to the mythical African kingdom of Idu to locate his runaway father, and also to find the missing split image of the ancestral 'ikenga' that her own enslaved father in America had mandated her to do. They arrive in Africa to uncover the untold history of Africa with the Diaspora.
THE DESERT ENCROACHES: RUMBLES IN THE DESERT:
Winner of the 1985 Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Award for Drama, THE DESERT ENCROACHES is a fable or allegory featuring the Forest of Animals inhabiting marked zones and borders, where the dramatic actions take place. But all is not well in the animal forest. The playwright deploys fable, satire and allegory to dramatize today's 'poly-tricks' of environment, arms race and terror by world super-powers with dried-up conscience, as they (ab)use, and exploit the weak and poor animals of the South. These powerful forces represented in the play by animals of the North-West (like the Hawk and the Wolf), ravage the environment and manipulate all in their selective WMD arms control, which privilege their allies to silence, wound, humiliate, and choke the weaker animals like the Sheep, the Donkey and the Cow, who produce all the milk and meat for nourishing the super powers, only to get beaten/eaten up or consumed outright. The reality provokes the spirit of the suppressed animals of the South, for the Spider has risen and now stands tall among them to weave plots to unsettle the social order and disrupt the sleep of the world powers. Will the Forest of Animals survive the flaming body and soul of the land?