Marriage of Anansewa

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A: Efua T. Sutherland Pf: 1980, Ghana Pb: 1975 G: Romantic com. in 4 acts S: Ghana, mid-20th c. C: 6m, 7f, extrasAnanse is an old rogue who wants to make as much money as possible by marrying off his daughter Anansewa. He promises her to four chiefs at the same time: the Chief of the Mines, Togbe Klu IV, the Chief of Sapa, and Chief-Who-Is-Chief. Anansewa receives gifts from all four chiefs, who are unaware of their rivals. Ananse suddenly finds himself facing a catastrophe when the chiefs all decide to come and offer the ‘head-drink’ which will place the seal on their marriage. To get out of his difficulties, Ananse persuades Anansewa to pretend to die, and announces her sad death to the chiefs. They respond by sending messengers who tell how the chiefs would have cared for Anansewa. The Chief of the Mines declares that she could have brought up his children; the Chief of Sapa had hoped that she would replace his ‘bitchy, ugly’ wife; Togbe Klu's messengers announce that their Chief would have been happy to exploit Anansewa's secretarial skills in his business, and having recently been converted to Christianity will not follow the old custom of sending a funeral gift. Finally, the Chief-Who-Is-Chief lets it be known that he is devastated since he regarded himself as already married to Anansewa and that he will therefore bear the whole cost of the funeral. Touched by his kindness and generosity, Ananse ‘miraculously’ brings his daughter back to life, and she prepares to marry her one honourable suitor.

A: Efua T. Sutherland Pf: 1980, Ghana Pb: 1975 G: Romantic com. in 4 acts S: Ghana, mid-20th c. C: 6m, 7f, extras

With obvious similarities with the casket scene in The Merchant of Venice, and drawing on the traditional lovable rogue in the character of Ananse, Ghana's leading playwright has here created a delightful romantic comedy of considerable wit and charm, using the Property Man as a kind of Brechtian chorus.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

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