Publications

Books

  Performing Africa  is a collection of essays on contemporary African performance. From 1992 to 2002, Thomas Riccio worked with several groups in South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, West Africa, and Kenya – the Zulu and the !Xuu Bushmen of the Kalahari among them.  Performing Africa  combines a rare, in-the-field perspective with a keen insight into Africa’s transformative and tumultuous confluence of tradition, urbanization, politics, history, and the AIDS crisis. The evolution of tradition and the emergence of dynamic new forms of expression are a matter of practical necessity and survival. An interdisciplinary approach and accessible language make  Performing Africa  a unique resource for those teaching or interested in the fields of cultural anthropology, sociology, drama therapy, theatre, performance, and African studies.

Performing Africa is a collection of essays on contemporary African performance. From 1992 to 2002, Thomas Riccio worked with several groups in South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, West Africa, and Kenya – the Zulu and the !Xuu Bushmen of the Kalahari among them. Performing Africa combines a rare, in-the-field perspective with a keen insight into Africa’s transformative and tumultuous confluence of tradition, urbanization, politics, history, and the AIDS crisis. The evolution of tradition and the emergence of dynamic new forms of expression are a matter of practical necessity and survival. An interdisciplinary approach and accessible language make Performing Africa a unique resource for those teaching or interested in the fields of cultural anthropology, sociology, drama therapy, theatre, performance, and African studies.

 

Riccio searches for different ways and means to transplant a peoples traditional performance culture into a modern expression to address existing social, political, and human concerns. He tries to find his way to the roots of a culture's myths in search of the power and origins of a culture's expression.

The Helsinki Messenger, Finland

 

Select Published Works

He asks them to search in themselves, their experiences and memories and asks them to tell him about them. The appropriate revelations are then used where necessary being worked into the structure of the play ... Judging by what we were shown it is not very difficult to make him an equal with a master.

The Echo, Republic of Sakha, Siberia

 
 The author through the mechanism of drama has cleverly built a bridge between differing worldviews and has done it well. This kind of bridging is magical sometimes mystical. We get a glimpse of the cognitive map that exists in the minds of the Yup’ik and Inupiat. Each of these groups has their own form of verbal art expressed through various mediums, a form of holistic drama expressed through storytelling, dancing, drumming and singing. This book demonstrates the kind of respect that indigenous people recognize and appreciate. This attitude of self-expression negates the usual practice of the west to recreate the indigenous groups into their own image.   George Charles Kanaqlak    Native Elder and Professor of Alaska Native Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks

The author through the mechanism of drama has cleverly built a bridge between differing worldviews and has done it well. This kind of bridging is magical sometimes mystical. We get a glimpse of the cognitive map that exists in the minds of the Yup’ik and Inupiat. Each of these groups has their own form of verbal art expressed through various mediums, a form of holistic drama expressed through storytelling, dancing, drumming and singing. This book demonstrates the kind of respect that indigenous people recognize and appreciate. This attitude of self-expression negates the usual practice of the west to recreate the indigenous groups into their own image.

George Charles Kanaqlak

Native Elder and Professor of Alaska Native Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks

 
 Africa, Agency and the Anthropocene

Africa, Agency and the Anthropocene

  Narrative of Place   Chapter, TCG Press

Narrative of Place

Chapter, TCG Press

  Dead White Zombies, Dallas TX

Dead White Zombies, Dallas TX

 S hadows in the Sun: Context, Process and Performance in Ethiopia

Shadows in the Sun: Context, Process and Performance in Ethiopia

  Rhythm Reality   Chapter, Jagiellonian Univ. Press

Rhythm Reality

Chapter, Jagiellonian Univ. Press

In so many ways the events of the world have advanced so far beyond the narrow, self-limiting and ultimately conservative forms and expressions of theatre. The malaise of theatre is not in its doing—for the need and necessity of theatre is integral to human nature—at issue is the courage to embrace and evolve what lives inherently within. Rather than self-marginalizing, becoming a compliant tool for a larger system, theater can contribute if not lead, becoming a gathering, the collective brain and spirit of a community. This is a radical proposition requiring a fundamental reconsideration of every aspect of how theatre functions and is operated, its objectives, methods, and expressions must all be called into question. Theatre, with its long and storied lineage, from its shamanic and ritual origins to performance art, is first and foremost, a functional and practical human technology able to have real consequences in the world.

excerpt, Narrative of Place, TCG Press 2016

  Kenyan Community Health Awareness Puppets

Kenyan Community Health Awareness Puppets

  Performance of Body, Space, Place: Creating Indigenous Performance   Chapter, Springer Press

Performance of Body, Space, Place: Creating Indigenous Performance

Chapter, Springer Press

  Politics, Slapstick and Zulus on Tour

Politics, Slapstick and Zulus on Tour

  People Come Out of Here :  Making a New Story with the !Xuu and Khwe Bushmen

People Come Out of Here: Making a New Story with the !Xuu and Khwe Bushmen

  In Zambia Performing the Spirits

In Zambia Performing the Spirits

  Tanzanian Theatre: From Marx to the Marketplace

Tanzanian Theatre: From Marx to the Marketplace

  Reimagining of Yup'ik and Inupiat Performance   Northwest Theatre Review

Reimagining of Yup'ik and Inupiat Performance

Northwest Theatre Review

  Message From The Eagle Mother

Message From The Eagle Mother

  Emandulo: Process and Performance in a Changing South Africa   Theatre Research International

Emandulo: Process and Performance in a Changing South Africa

Theatre Research International

  Robot Ritual as Oracle and Fetish

Robot Ritual as Oracle and Fetish

  Collective (re) Creation   Chapter, Palgrave Press

Collective (re) Creation

Chapter, Palgrave Press

  Ethiopia and its Double

Ethiopia and its Double

  Today We Sing: Healing Rituals of the !Xuu and Khwe Bushmen

Today We Sing: Healing Rituals of the !Xuu and Khwe Bushmen

  Orange Oranges,  a play

Orange Oranges, a play

  Traditional Alaskan Eskimo Theatre: Performing the Spirits of the Earth   Theatre Topics

Traditional Alaskan Eskimo Theatre: Performing the Spirits of the Earth

Theatre Topics

  Follow the Grey Giants

Follow the Grey Giants