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

Narrative of Place Chapter, TCG Press

Narrative of Place

Chapter, TCG Press

Dead White Zombies, Dallas TX

Dead White Zombies, Dallas TX

Shadows 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.

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