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It just so happens that I was looking for the same thing, so here are two sets of notes I found:

(1) from http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/anglophone/soyinka.html#lion(with a few small revisions)

The Lion and the Jewel (1963)

This play is one of Soyinka's most popular. Despite occasional uses of unconventional devices, it is readily accessible and highly entertaining. Like Death and the King's Horseman, a much more serious work, it explores the value of traditional Yoruba ways vs. European innovations. Some modern readers object to its treatment of women and find the humor spoiled by the sexism. What is your reaction?

Morning

The play is set in the village of Ilujinle. Note Lakunle's age. Despite his behavior on occasion, he is essentially a lively young man. He tries to emulate European notions of courtesy by relieving Sidi of her burden, though carrying water is traditionally a women's task. His flirtatious opening speech may seem rather crude, but is typical of the kind of jesting that goes on in courtship. Sidi is not so much shocked as bored by Lakunle.

Sidi cleverly answers his insistence that she should abandon the traditional way of carrying loads on her head. Note the contrast between the ideas that Lakunle has derived from books about women's weakness and Sidi's answers based on experience. Baroka, the Bale (chief) of the village is a major character later in the play, here introduced as standing for tradition.

When Lakunle proposes to Sidi he is quoting words he has read in popular English books about marriage. Note that his pretentious metaphors are answered by her pithy proverb. "Bush" means "uncivilized," typical of people who live in the bush.

Their relationship is clarified when Sidi says she wants a bride-price. It is not that she lacks affection for Lakunle--what has passed before has been essentially good-natured sparring on her part. But she insists on the tradition which will prove her value in the eyes of the village. Lakunle, in his "Pulpit-declamatory" style, quotes to her lines from the wedding service which are in turn quoted from Genesis 2:24.

Sidi is eager to see the stranger's book. Notice how the conflict in the play which has been between Lakunle and Sidi is now complicated by the tension between Sidi and Baroka. How do you react to Sidi's celebration of her own beauty?

The dance of the lost Traveler draws on Yoruba tradition and that of many other African peoples. Current events are often depicted and commented upon in dances involving costumes and pantomime. It is this sort of "street theater" which Soyinka sees as providing fertile ground for the development of drama in Africa. One of the problems with reading a play rather than seeing it performed, is that one skims quickly over what would be a very impressive high point in the production, with dancing and drumming building to a climax. Imagine this "dance" taking quite a long time and having much more dramatic impact than anything that has gone before. Note that Lakunle finally enters into the dance with enthusiasm. Despite his modern pretensions, he is underneath not so alien to Sidi and her comrades as one might at first suppose. The stranger had been photographing Sidi while she was bathing, and she quickly grabbed up her clothes to cover herself when she saw him.

Baroka gives Lakunle the traditional greeting and is displeased to get a European one in return. Far from being displeased by the dance, he insists on it being continued, playing the role he played in the original incident. When he tells Lakunle "You tried to steal our village maidenhead" he is speaking to the character Lakunle is playing, not the villager himself. He is telling him to go on acting. It is significant that Lakunle has been given the part of the stranger.

Noon

"The Lion" is Baroka's nickname. It is common in many cultures for men to use elderly women as go-betweens to solicit a new bride. What do you think of the fact that Sidi seems to have learned that she is beautiful through the magazine photographs? How do the magazine photographs affect Sidi's perception of Baroka? The storm god Sango (often spelled "Shango" or "Xango") is a West African deity, the most famous of those to have survived the slave trade to the Western Hemisphere, where his name is invoked in such places as Bahia and Haiti, where African traditions linger on among the black inhabitants. Of what quality does Lakunle accuse Baroka?

Laukunle's story is told through pantomime, in the form of another dance. Again it is important not to skip quickly over this passage, but to attempt to imagine it vividly enacted on stage. A matchet is a large knife used for clearing brush, machete in Spanish. Note how the Bale is worked into this "flashback." A bull-roarer is a carved piece of wood or stone which is whiled at the end of a long cord to produce a mysterious roaring sound, part of the religious traditions of many cultures. What do you think Lakunle's attitude is toward Baroka's success in diverting the railroad?

The removal of body hair is a feature of many cultures, not--as is often supposed--of western ones alone.

Night

Sadiku's glee at Baroka's impotence may be partly based on resentment at having been long abandoned by him as a lover; but there seems generally to be a tension between the Bale and his wives which roots his dominance over them in his sexual potency. Her story of the rusted key which could not open her treasure house is an obvious sexual metaphor. However, based on what we have just seen, she knows of his impotence only through what he has told her, not by first-hand experience as she claimed. Note the insistence on the power of women's rituals, from which men are banned. Note Sidi's glee in desiring to torment Baroka.

The Wrestling match in Baroka's bedroom is of course a metaphor for the power struggle about to take place between himself and Sidi. Throughout this scene the Bale tries to throw Sidi off her balance by pretending not to know why she has come.

To "pull asses' ears" is to mockingly put one's fingers behind one's head to imitate a donkey's ears. Sidi mocks Baroka in her conversation with him. She uses metaphors to satirize his pursuit of young women. The "tappers" are palm-wine tappers. Baroka manages to keep throwing Sidi off balance in their conversation. In his description of Sadiku's activities as match-maker he quotes her typical line of chat. Sidi's respectful words in boasting of her traditional garment cause Baroka to call her "wise."

Several small African nations make a large part of their national income by selling beautiful stamps to collectors abroad. It is not then too surprising that the Bale should view stamp sales as a major source of revenue. What is it the Bale says he dislikes about progress? How can you tell that Sidi is being bewildered by Baroka? Sidi is "overcome" by Baroka's words.

The third pantomime ironically depicts the triumph of women over a man just as the Bale is triumphing over a woman. Lakunle's description of the Bale's dungeons is probably a paranoid fantasy. "Mummers" are dancers who pantomime stories. Lakunle is expected to tip the mummers, like other people; but in this he adheres to the pattern established by his refusal to pay a bride price. He clings to modernism as an excuse for saving money, though the following description makes clear that he actually enjoys the performance.

Sidi is angry with Baroka, either because she has been seduced or because she has been deceived. Lankunle reacts with stereotypically heroic words of despair, but when he hears himself utter them, he recoils and changes metaphors. He reacts strongly to Sidi's loss of virginity. What are his motives? A "praise-singer" is a traditional poet-bard, often known as a griot , who sings the praises of whoever hires him. What is Lakunle's reaction to Sidi's seeming acceptance of his proposal?

(2) From http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/stage2/reviews/th-mod017.html

Synopsis

The action takes place in the remote Nigerian village of Ilujinle, in the territory of the Yoruba people. Sidi is the local beauty, much admired by the village school teacher Lakunle (la-kun-li), who wants to make her his bride. She is not averse to his intentions, but insists he must pay her 'bride price' to maintain her reputation. Lakunle however, is a modernist, he has been to Lagos and is filled with modern ideas, consequently he is reluctant to fall in line with what he sees as an archaic tradition (at least that is his excuse, we surmise its more a case of penny-pinching). A photographer who had visited the village sometime earlier and taken photographs of the people returns to deliver a copy of the magazine in which the photographs appear. Photographs of Sidi have pride of place, on the cover and centrespread, whilst the village bale ('ba-lay' = chieftain) Baroka has only a small corner inside. Sidi realises the power of her beauty, placing her above even the leader of her people.

Baroka was once a powerful warrior known as 'the Lion'. He has lived a long life and collected many concubines. Now he wants to add Sidi to his harem and sends his head wife, Sadiku, to proposition her. Sidi is not interested since he is an old man, and with the arrogance of youth rudely rebukes his advances. But Baroka is a wily old fox, not so easily brushed aside. He has determined to have Sidi, and hatches a plan to seduce her. Who will win the battle of wills, the naive but headstrong young girl, or the wily experienced old statesman?

Impressions

Wole Soyinka's play is a spirited and ribald account of African village life that explores the conflicts between traditional and modern values, third World reality against first world ideals, and the power of men against the influence of women. The action is interspersed with raucous African song and dance. The visit of the photographer is told as a play within a play, a musical re-enactment with the villagers acting out the events of that day. The set is a simple circular affair but imaginative use of props serves to transform it from the schoolhouse to the village square and Boroka's bedroom. Colourful costumes round off the effect.

The strong accents of the characters make the dialogue a little difficult to follow at times for unaccustomed ears but adds to the realism of the piece. Unfortunately, the play loses it's way a little in the second act, accenting the humour but in so doing straying away from the darker side of the original story.

Performances

Omonor Imobhio is ideally cast as the beautiful young Sidi, the 'Jewel' of the title. She captures perfectly the essence of the uncultured 'bush woman' who allows the power of her beauty to go to her head turning her world upside down. But Anthony Ofoegbu is the undoubted star of the show, garnering most of the laughs as the lovestruck modernising schoolteacher. Toyin Oshinaike was impressive as the 'Lion' of the title, Baroka, despite struggling with his lines on a couple of occasions and Shola Benjamin was wonderfully comic as the mocking head wife Sadiku. The remainder of the fifteen strong cast, including musicians, all performed admirably.

Verdict

A colourful production with many genuinely funny moments. Despite the generally strong perfomances however, it has to be said that the direction went somewhat astray with the result that this production fails to capture the acerbic edge of the original play.

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11y ago
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"The Lion and the Jewel" by Wole Soyinka is a play that explores the clash between tradition and modernity in a Nigerian village. The story follows the love triangle between Baroka, the village chief, Lakunle, a school teacher, and Sidi, a beautiful young woman. Through humor and satire, Soyinka addresses themes of power, beauty, and the struggle for cultural dominance.

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9y ago

The Lion and the Jewel is a play that takes place over the course of one Sunday. It is broken into three parts: Morning, Noon, and Night. The play is comical and revolves the two sides major social and political issues in Africa personified by Lakunle (a naive school teacher) and Baroka (the village chief). Sidi is considered the jewel of the village and she must later choose a husband out of the two men. The conflict between the two, besides the chance of marrying Sidi, is the acceptance of modern ideas. Lakunle accepts them without fully understanding them and Baroka feels that they threaten his power.

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11y ago
PlotThe play takes place over the span of a day (Sunday). It is divided into three parts; morning, noon, and night. MorningA schoolteacher is teaching a class the times table when Sidi walks past carrying a pail of water on her head. The teacher peers out of the window and disappears. Two 11-year-old schoolboys start ogling her, so he hits them on the head and leaves to confront her. At this point, we find out that the schoolteacher is Lakunle. He is described as wearing a threadbare and rumpled clean English suit that is a little too small for him. He wears a tie that disappears beneath his waistcoat. His trousers are ridiculously oversized, and his shoes are blanco-white. He comes out and insists on taking the pail from Sidi. She refuses, saying that she would look silly. Lakunle retorts, saying that he told her not to carry loads on her head or her neck may be shortened. He also tells her not to expose so much of her cleavage with the cloth she wears around her breasts. Sidi says that it is too inconvenient for her to do so. She scolds him, saying that the village thinks him stupid, but Lakunle says that he is not so easily cowed by taunts. Lakunle also insults her, saying that her brain is smaller than his. He claims that his books say so. Sidi is angry.

When they are done arguing, Sidi wants to leave, but Lakunle tells her of his love for her. Sidi says that she does not care for his love. Eventually, we find out that Sidi does not want to marry him because Lakunle refuses to pay her bride-price as he thinks it a uncivilised, outrageous custom. Sidi tells him that if she did so, people will jeer at her, saying that she is not a virgin. Lakunle further professes how he wants to marry her and treat her "just like the Lagos couples I have seen". Sidi does not care. She also says that she finds the Western custom of kissing repulsive. She tells him that not paying her bride price is mean and miserly.

Enter the village girls. They decide to play "the dance of the Lost Traveller" featuring the sudden arrival of a photographer in their midst some time ago. They tease the traveller in the play, calling his motorbike "the devil's own horse" and the camera that he used to take pictures "the one-eyed box". Four girls dance the "devil-horse", a youth is selected to play the snake and Lakunle becomes the Traveller. He seeks to be excused to teach Primary Four Geography but Sidi informs him that the village is on holiday due to the arrival of the photographer/traveler.

We also find out that the photographer made a picture book about the village based on the photos he took. There is a picture of Sidi on the front page, and a two-page spread of her somewhere inside. Baroka is featured too, but he "is in a little corner somewhere in the book, and even that corner he shares with one of the village latrines". They banter about for a while, Lakunle gave in and participated because he couldn't tolerate being taunted by them.

The Dance of the Lost Traveller

The four girls crouch on the ground, forming the wheels of the car. Lakunle adjusts their position and sits in air in the middle. He pretends to drive the "car". The four wheels rotate their upper halves of their bodies parallel to the ground in tune with the beat of the drum. The drum beat speeds up to a final crash. The girls dance the stall. They shudder, and drop their faces onto their laps. He pretends to try to restart the "car". He gets out and checks the "wheels" and also pinches them. He tries to start the "car", fails and takes his things for a trek.

He hears a girl singing, but attributes it to sunstroke, so he throws the bottle that he was drinking from in that general direction. He hears a scream and a torrent of abuse. He takes a closer look and sees a girl (played by Sidi). He tries to take photos, but falls down into the stream.

The cast assembles behind him, pretending to be villagers in an ugly mood hauling him to the odan tree in the town centre. Then Baroka appears and the play stops. He talks to Lakunle for a while, saying that he knew how the play went and was waiting for the right time to step in. He drops subtle hints of an existing feud between him and Lakunle, then makes the play continue. The villagers once again start thirsting for his blood. He is hauled before Baroka, thrown on his face. He tries to explain his plight. Baroka seems to understand and orders a feast in Lakunle's honour. Lakunle takes the opportunity to take more photos of Sidi. He is also pressed to drink lots of alcohol, and at the end of the play, he is close to vomiting.

The play ends. Sidi praises him for his performance. Lakunle runs away, followed by a flock of women. Baroka and the wrestler sit alone. Baroka takes out his book, and muses that it has been five full months since he last took a wife.

NoonSidi is at a road near the market. Lakunle follows her, carrying the firewood that Sidi asks him to help her get. She admires the pictures of her in the magazine. Then Sadiku appears, wearing a shawl over her head. She informs her that the Lion (Baroka) wishes to take her as a wife. Lakunle is outraged, but Sidi stops him. Lakunle changes tactics, telling her as his lover to ignore the message. Sadiku took that as a yes, but Sidi dashed her hopes, saying that since her fame had spread to Lagos and the rest of the world, she deserves more than that. Sadiku presses on, dissembling that Baroka has sworn not to take any more wives after her and that she would be his favourite and would get many privileges, including being able to sleep in the palace rather than one of the outhouses. As Baroka's last wife, she would also be able to become the first, and thus head wife, of his successor, in the same way that Sadiku was Baroka's head wife. However, Sidi sees through her lies, and tells her that she knew that he just wanted fame "as the one man who has possessed 'the jewel of Ilujinle'". Sadiku is flabbergasted and wants to kill Lakunle for what he has done for her.

Sidi shows the magazine. She says that in the picture, she looks absolutely beautiful while he simply looks like a ragged, blackened piece of saddle leather: she is youthful but he is spent. Sadiku changes techniques, saying that if Sidi does not want to be his wife, will she be kind enough to attend a small feast in her honour at his house that night. Sidi refuses, saying that she knows that every woman who has eaten supper with him eventually becomes his wife. Lakunle interjects, informing them that Baroka was known for his wiliness, particularly when he managed to foil the Public Works attempt to build a railroad through Ilujinle. Baroka bribed the surveyor for the route to move the railroad much farther away as "the earth is most unsuitable, could not possibly support the weight of a railway engine". Lakunle is distraught, as he thinks just how close Ilujinle was to civilisation at that time.

The scene cuts to Baroka's bedroom. Ailatu is plucking his armpit hairs. There is a strange machine with a long lever at the side. It is covered with animal skins and rugs. Baroka mentions that she is too soft with her pulls. Then he tells her that he plans to take a new wife, but that he would let her be the "sole out-puller of my sweat-bathed hairs". She is angry, and deliberately plucks the next few hairs a lot harder. Sadiku enters. He shoos Ailatu away, lamenting about his bleeding armpit.

Sadiku informs him that she failed to woo Sidi. She told her that Sidi flatly refused her order, claiming that he was far too old. Baroka pretends to doubt his manliness and asks Sadiku to massage the soles of his feet. Sadiku complies. He lies to her that his manhood ended a week ago, specifically warning her not to tell anyone. He comments that he is only sixty-two. Compared to him, his grandfather had fathered two sons late on sixty-five and Okiki, his father, produced a pair of female twins at sixty-seven. Finally Baroka falls asleep.

NightSidi is at the village centre, by the schoolroom window. Enter Sadiku, who is carrying a bundle. She sets down a figure by the tree. She gloats, saying that she has managed to be the undoing (making him impotent) of Baroka, and of his father, Okiki, before that. Sidi is amazed at what she initially perceives to be Sadiku going mad. She shuts the window and exits, shocking Sadiku. After a pause, Sadiku resumes her victory dance and even asks Sidi to join in. Then Lakunle enters. He scorns them, saying that "The full moon is not yet, but the women cannot wait. They must go mad without it." Sidi and Sadiku stop dancing. They talk for a while. As they are about to resume dancing, Sidi states her plans to visit Baroka for his feast and toy with him. Lakunle tries in vain to stop her, telling her that if her deception were to be discovered she would be beaten up. Sidi leaves. Lakunle and Sadiku converse. Lakunle states his grand plans to modernise the area by abolishing the bride-price, building a motor-road through the town and bring city ways to isolated Ilujinle. He goes on to spurn her, calling her a bride-collector for Baroka.

The scene is now Baroka's bedroom. Baroka is arm-wrestling the wrestler seen earlier. He is surprised that she managed to enter unchallenged. Then he suddenly remembers that that day was the designated day off for the servants. He laments that Lakunle had made his servants form an entity called the Palace Workers' Union. He asks if Ailatu was at her usual place, and was disappointed to find out that she had not left him yet despite scolding her severely. Then Sidi mentions that he was here for the supper. Sidi starts playing around with Baroka. She asks him what was up between him and Ailatu. He is annoyed. Changing the subject, Sidi says that she thinks Baroka will win the ongoing arm-wrestling match. Baroka responds humbly, complimenting the strength and ability of the wrestler. She slowly teases Baroka, asking if he was planning to take a wife. She draws an examplee, asking if he was her father, would he let her marry a person like him?

Sidi takes this opportunity to slightly tease him, and is rewarded by his violent reaction by taking the wrestler and slinging him over his shoulder. The wrestler quickly recovers and a new match begins again. The discussion continues. Baroka is hurt by the parallels and subtle hints about his nature dropped by Sidi. Sidi even taunts him, saying that he has failed to produce any children for the last two years. Eventually he is so angered that he slams the wrestler's arm down on the table, winning the match. He tells the defeated wrestler to get the fresh gourd by the door. In the meantime, Baroka tries to paint himself as a grumpy old man with few chances to show his kindliness. The wrestler returns. Baroka continues with his self-glorification. Then he shows her the now-familiar magazine and an addressed envelope. He shows her a stamp, featuring her likeness, and tells her that her picture would adorn the official stamp of the village. The machine at the side of his room is also revealed to be a machine to produce stamps. As she admires the pictures of her in the magazine, Baroka happens to mention that he does not hate progress, only its nature which made "all roofs and faces look the same". He continues praising Sidi's looks, appealing to her.

The scene cuts back to the village centre, where Lakunle is pacing in frustration. He is mad at Sadiku for tricking her to go see Baroka, and at the same time concerned that Baroka will harm or imprison her. Some mummers arrive. Sadiku remains calm, despite Lakunle's growing stress. Sadiku steals a coin from Lakunle to pay the mummers. In return, the mummers drum her praises, but Sadiku claims that Lakunle was the real benefactor. Then they dance the Baroka story, showing him at his prime and his eventual downfall. Lakunle is pleased by the parts where they mock Baroka. Sadiku mentions that she used to be known as Sadiku of the duiker's feet because she could twist and untwist her waist with the smoothness of a water snake.

Sidi appears. She is distraught. Lakunle is outraged, and plans to bring the case to court. Sidi reveals that Baroka only told her at the end that it was a trap. Baroka said that he knew that Sadiku would not keep it to herself, and go out an mock his pride. Lakunle is overcome with emotion, and after at first expressing deep despair, he offers to marry her instead, with no bride-price since she is not a virgin after all. Lakunle is pleased that things have gone as he hoped. Sadiku tells him that Sidi is preparing for a wedding. Lakunle is very happy, saying he needs a day or two to get things ready for a proper Christian wedding. Then musicians appear. Sidi appears, bearing a gift. She tells Lakunle that he is invited to her wedding. Lakunle hopes that the wedding will be between Sidi and himself and her, but she informs her that she has no intention of marrying him, but rather will marry Baroka. Lakunle is stunned. Sidi says that between Baroka and him, at sixty, Baroka is still full of life but Lakunle would be probably "ten years dead". Sadiku then gives Sidi her blessing. The marriage ceremony continues. A young girl taunts Lakunle, and he gives chase. Sadiku gets in his way. He frees himself and clears a space in the crowd for them both to dance.

The drama ends.

ThemesThe most prominent theme of this story is the rapid modernisation of Africa, coupled with the rapid evangelisation of the population. This has driven a wedge between the traditionalists, who seek to nullify the changes done in the name of progress due to vested interests or simply not liking the result of progress, and the modernists, who want to see the last of outdated traditional beliefs at all cost.

Another core theme is the marginalisation of women as property. Traditionally, they were seen as properties that could be bought, sold or accumulated. Even the modern Lakunle also falls victim to this, by looking down on Sidi for having a smaller brain and later by wanting to marry her after she lost her virginity since no dowry was required in such a situation.

There is also the conflict between education and traditional beliefs. The educated people seek to spread their knowledge to the tribal people in an attempt to make them more modern. This in turn is resisted by the tribal people who see no point in obtaining an education as it served them no use in their daily lives.

Finally, there is the importance of song and dance as a form of spreading information in a world where the fastest route of communication is by foot. It is also an important source of entertainment for the otherwise bored village youths.

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