• A Painful Decision (Drama on Female Circumcision)

    Age Range: 6 – 12 years

    Africans have many customary practices. Sometime ago, these customs certainly had some advantages. With the passage of time, however, some of these practices have outlived their usefulness, not to mention the aim they are often associated with. Hence, there is the need for us to either modify these customary practices or abandon them altogether.

    It will be discovered, in this play, the great pain and suffering that female circumcision brings to our women.

    We do not dispute the fact that it is one of the legacies bequeathed to us by our forebears. Nonetheless, what prevents us from abandoning it since there is nothing to gain from it now or in future? The time has come for us to become selective in the practice of our customs so that only what brings progress to us is maintained.

  • The Mystery of A Cockcrow: A Play in Three Acts

    The Mystery of a Cockrow, a play in three acts, is centered in a small village and lays bare the full miseries of matrilineal inheritance in the Ghanaian Society.

  • The Son of Umbele: A Play in Three Acts

    “…the contents of the play revealed a brilliant mind at work in an attempt to deal with some basic ambiguities of human existence,” wrote Julius S. Scott Jnr. of Spelma College-Atlanta, when he saw an American production of The Son of Umbele.

    Indeed, this Ghana National Book Award winner has endeared itself to theatre enthusiasts as well as scholars since its premier at the Ghana Drama studio in 1972.

    Bill Marshall’s sensitivity to realities of the human existence and the conflicts of the mind is eloquently manifest in his writing, be it a novel, a TV Drama or a Stage play.

    The author appeared on the Ghanaian Arts scene in 1966 when he joined GBC-TV and helped to establish the Drama Department of the Television Station. He worked with the Corporation for several years, writing, production and directing plays for Television, He subsequently left for the private sector, working for Lintas Ghana Limited and in his own company, Studio Africain. In 1984, he was appointed the Director of the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) in Ghana.

    Other published works by the author are Novels: Bukom, Brother Man, The Oyster Man, Uncle Blanko’s Chair; Plays: Shadows of an Eagle, Stranger to Innocence Asana, The Crows and Other plays.

  • Stranger to Innocence – A Play

    Stranger to Innocence is an intriguing short play, which treats the daily motions, frustrations, joys and aspirations of an African priestly family. This is the house where a stranger, Tawa, who has been fleeing from his own sins, seeks to find refuge. In the end, lessons of remorse and forgiveness are yet to be fully understood especially by young minds like Alaba, daughter of the priest.

    The play exhibits the author’s artistic simplicity in the use of dramatic language, which has endeared this play to wide theatre audiences.

    It is not surprising that it is popular among many drama groups and schools in the country.

    Stranger to Innocence is one of Bill Marshall’s early plays, from which a lot of inspiration is drawn.

  • Shadow of An Eagle – A Play

    “Hope and Desire alone have no virtue. It is the fulfilment of our aspirations that brings satisfaction.”

    This quote from the play, Shadow of An Eagle, evidently reveals Bill Marshall’s depth as a playwright.

    The play depicts the lifestyle of an African family in peculiar circumstances in a rural setting. It explores the tension and feeble frustrations, which can occur in a family.

    Being one of the earlier plays of Bill Marshall, which were widely patronized by schools and colleges and broadcast on the BBC African Theatre, Shadow of An Eagle uses the symbolism of the eagle in Ghanaian mythology to highlight the need for the youth to aspire to higher heights.

    Just like the hero who refuses to relapse into degeneration, which he finds at home on his return from his foreign exploits, Bimpo hopes that members of his family would shed their past frustrations, brace themselves up and take to the sky like eagles.

  • The Black Hermit (African Writers Series, AWS51)

    In this play, Remi, the first of his tribe to go to university, ponders whether or not he should return to his people. Or should he continue to be a black hermit in the town? Amidst the backdrop of a politically torn country, Remi himself is torn between his sense of tribalism and nationalism. This struggle runs deep, as he finds it at the heart of his afflictions between himself, his marriage and familial relations, and his greater sense of obligations to his people and the country. The overwhelming nature of these problems drives him into isolation as a black hermit. His self-imposed exile into the city leads him to find contentment in the Jane, his new lover, and nightly clubbing. However, after he is lobbied to return to the tribe, he must now confront the demons of his past.

    The Black Hermit was the first published East African play in English. The play was published in a small edition by Makerere University Press in 1963, and republished in Heinemann’s African Writers Series in 1968.

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