The contribution of performance in the actualization and understanding of folktales
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This study set out to investigate the contribution of performance in the actualization and understanding of folktales. Folktales have from time immemorial been regarded as a store for traditional values and beliefs. This research however shows that folktales are not only a reference point for societal beliefs, but also profound art form, that have several artistic qualities embedded in them. The study has analysed the contribution of the performer, the audience, and context in the actualization of a performance event. Performances were recorded in the areas of Buganda in particular two secondary schools- Sayidina Abubakar S.S. in Mpigi and Mbogo High School in Kawempe, Kampala. Other performances were recorded in communities from around Kampala and Nakaseke Districts. Performers were selected on the basis of their being able to speak Luganda quite fluently as well as perform in it. The setting for these performances was induced to appear natural to some degree to allow the performers perform freely. The snowball method of selecting performers and audiences was used. Methods such as observation and participant observation were crucial during fieldwork so that the artistry of different performers does not go unnoticed. Within the theoretical framework of performance and the speech act theory, the research has shown that all utterances and non-verbal expressions are performative. The study has examined how different audiences (children audiences, adult audiences and mixed audiences) or individuals react to particular performances or utterances. How a performer performed, whether he / she aimed at amusing the audience or to simply narrate, elicited different reactions from the audience. This study also shows that the key elements of performance, which are the performer, audience, and context, must worked hand in hand in order to produce a good performance. Live performances involved the use of facial expressions, ideophones and other literary techniques such as repetition, personification and imagery, to make the performance more interesting and meaningful. These features especially those that are non-verbal are impressive in the presence of an audience that interacts by singing asking questions and generally giving morale to a performer. Furthermore, the research has shown that all interpretation of folktales is done in consideration of the different categories of contexts- the social context (time and place for telling the tales), the stylistic context, and cultural context, among others. These are what enhance our understanding and final meaning of tales. Overall, the three major elements of performance are closely analysed in this study to show how they affect the meaning of tales. Because meaning changes as the performer, audience and context alter, this analysis concludes that the study of folktales must be done in their performance setting as the means of understanding and appreciating the events that occur in particular folktales.