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NIGERIAN ACTORS AND PERSONALITY QUESTION (A CASE STUDY OF SOME ACTORS)
The study was on the Nigerian actors and personality question. The study used survey research design, cluster sampling method and a sample size of 339 and questionnaire as instrument of data collection, findings showed that respondents said they see the Nigeria actors appear nude and majority of sample were unable to distinguish “on –the stage character of actors from the off-the –stage character”. This, the study reveals accounts for the poor perception of the respondents about the personalities of the two actors. Again, the Nigerian cultural prohibition of nudity especially of a woman was found to influence respondent’s poor perception of the nude display of the actresses and the public condemnation. The study recommends among other things that movie directors and producers should take cognizance of the cultural stance on any issue in creating story lines, plots, casting and most especially costumes of any art work.
The home movies or video is a narrowcast medium (unlike broadcasting or open air television and radio), which sets its own contents through audio-visual means and is commonly available to a specific target audience or anyone with means to access it. The first home movie to hit the film industry in Nigeria and which was nationally accepted as: “Living in Bondage”. It was a production with dialogue in Igbo but subtitled in the English language for the understanding of non-Igbo speakers, making it a reference point for a standard in home-video production.
Other home movies that followed in quick succession were: circle of Doom, Nemesis, violated, Battle of Musanya, Glamour Girls, Onome, Domitilla. The position of the characters is such that they represent opposing ideological and social beliefs whose tenets are diametrically separate.
Okoli (2001, P.36) states that ‘home movies in Nigeria have the basic roles of cultural marketing, entertainment and serve as agent or means of social control” Nwosu (2007:11) opines in this direction that” Home movies no doubt are very interesting especially as they hinge on suspense, intrigue, romance, espionage, subservion, subterfuge, comedy, etc. Such are the contents of most Nigerian home-movies as put together by producers with the object of keeping us
abreast of our past.
The home movie industry is now a thriving medium that has almost replaced or substituted the world of film or celluloid. It is now called Nollywood and has many and varied annual offerings. Ladebo (1992:163) had this to say about the transformation of home movies in Nigeria. Film makers who were confronted with myriad problems like film-stock, importation, piracy, absence of private investors, etc were moved to seek solace in the cheap and profitable medium of home videos.
Adesanya (1992:25) observes that Home Video has likewise gradually overwhelmed television because of its entrepreneurial handling and its individualized nature as a narrowcast medium. It has been observed that home
movies are especially popular in countries that have restricted or failed to develop diversity in entertainment offerings in the mass media. The enabling privatization
decree 38 of broadcasting in 1992 further fuelled the growth of the home video industry and its entertainment offerings in Nigeria.
Questionable characters have become part of virtually all Nigerian home 12 Int. Res. J. Musicol. Drama movies. In fact, claims are made that Nigerian home movies are washed with screens of nakedness, halfnaked exhibitions and other acts of nudity that appeal to sexual desire of viewers. This issue however has elicited a lot of controversies and comments among Nigerians and seems to be more with female artists.
The oxford advanced learner’s Dictionary (P.801) describes nudity as “the state of being naked”. Udeagha (2004:26) claims that nudity in Nigerian home movies is a shift from the basic and original offerings of the medium. As a medium of social responsibility, Udeaghah (2004: 24 – 25) asserts that the medium should be responsible to the society. Social responsibility demands principally that the medium should act responsibly by realizing that they have certain obligations to the public.
The concept of home movies in Nigeria was originally to exalt our culture and norms and also expose some evil that needed to be seriously treated. The early Home video makers strived to pave way for other African countries which were deeply engrossed by the activities of the colonial masters. In spite of the fact that the early home movies producers had the mind of exalting our culture and glaringly exposing the evils of our days, thereby sidelining the foreign movies and their alien culture, it is obvious that there is a derailment from the initial concept which has made it a caricature.
One of such derailments is the shift in focus by current movie makers in Nigeria leading to more of home movies that seem to capture the attention of youths. Movies that centre on love, romance, relationship, etc. This shift in focus necessitates characters that will dress as to depict the roles they have been assigned and eventually leading to nudity as seen in our home movies today.
When in 1996, the home movie “Domitilla” was released, it immediately became a box office hit, grossing over N70 million to the producers and pirates alike.
The mad rush for the flick had little to do with fantastic acting and certainly nothing of technical wizardry of the directoreven as these were not lacking. Being a tale of prostitution and city girls, DOMITILLA’s main magnetism was a whiff of sex. Poor movie watchers had gone for it in the conclusion that the movie would parade some flesh, raunchy scenes and possibly frontal nudity. Right from
the moment the seductive posters hit the streets and titillating radio jingles the airwaves, the rush of hormone translated into a manic rush for the videotapes. Though Domittilla was such a commercial success, The movie title crept into the Nigerian lexicon. Whatever the promises and failings of Domitilla, the movie proved that in show business as elsewhere, nothing sells live sex. Already a huge appetite had been provoked which Kenneth Anebue cashed in on with his production of GLAMOUR GIRLS.
The latter was more successful if only because it was more daring. Smart in the ways it maneuvered within iron cage of censorhip by the National films and censorship board, Glamour Girls was able to show some flesh; that of an unknown Eucharia Anunobi in a bath tub scene with Zach Orji. A star was just born as Eucharia emerged Nigeria’s first sex symbol. Movie viewers went on to dub her “Nigeria’s Sharon Stone”. Ever since then, home movies in Nigeria have been presenting stars like Genevive Nnanji, Tonto Dikeh, Mercy Johnson, Motola Jalade, Uche Jumbo, among others. Nudity in home movies can be as a result of the role, a character is required to play like prostitutes, wayward, etc. It can also be as a result of the character’s choice of appearance. Which ever way it appears, the society seems to shun at it.
Again, Nudity in home movies in Nigeria would be incomplete in contemporary history without researches to find out whether these appearances (of nudity) affect the social like of the characters. It covers characters who appear nude as a result of the role assigned to them in a movie or as personal disposition. Viewers seem to have varied impressions or perceptions about these characters in Nigerian home movies and these impressions may to a large extent affect their social life.
This study has selected two veteran actresses namely TONTO DIKEH and MERCY JOHNSON, who are seen as house-hold names in Nigerian movie industry. They are familiar faces in most recent or contemporary Nigerian movies especially those ones on love, relationship and romance. Tonto Dikeh has made a
reputable name for herself in Nollywood industry and is still aiming higher. The beautiful Ikwere, Rivers Stateborn actress who got into the industry after emerging as the first runner-up in a realty TV show, “THE NEXT MOVIE STAR” and who starred as the lead actress in RUSH HOUR, studied petrochemical Engineering at the Rivers state University of Technology.
On the other hand, MERCY JOHNSON is from Okene in Kogi State, said to have been born into the family of an ex-naval officer in the early 1980’s, she cut her teeth in the movie industry with her role in Kenneth Nebue’s movie: THE MAID. This curvy star actress, who occupied the fourth position in a family of seven, has no doubt made her mark with over 60 films to her credit since her
foray into the film industry in 2002.
The definition of art as ‘skills in performance which may be acquired by experience, study or observation’ (Dean and Cara, 3), applies also to the idea of acting as a performing art. Meanwhile, Whiting has described Acting as ‘the most glamorous and fascinating” (185) art of the theatre. This could own to the fact that the actor is atheatre workforce that is readily recognized by the audience, as well as by members of the society, due to his task. Hence the Actor is the “image maker” of the theatre, there is the need to develop and improve his capacity, so that he can maximize his impart on the society.
For the purpose of providing a document that can improve the quality of acting in the Nations performing Art industry, this study seeks to examine and analyze the acting techniques and approaches of an outstanding Nigerian actor. It is therefore the aim of this work to study viewer’s perception or impression of nudity about these two selected veteran actresses vis-à-vis their social life. It shall focus on viewers in Enugu metropolis of Enugu state.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The quality of the “Nollywood” films, with regards to technical inputand acting still
remains poor. Among other factors, the poor quality of acting owns to the problem of incompetence and inadequacies on the part of untrained, but ambitious individuals who parade themselves as Actors. It is the researcher’s thinking that a study ofthe acting skill and techniques of a successful indigenous actor will not only help in the aspect of documentation of the African experience in the acting industry, but such document can aid incompetent actors and ultimately improve the quality of acting in the Nigerian Video Film Industry.
Home movies in Nigeria have experienced outrageous derailments in several aspects of a movie show. These derailments cut across scenes, plots, storylines as well as costumes of characters. Scenes and plots of nudity are now common storylines major more on love, fantasy, and relationship. Costumes are such that reveal every sensitive and private parts of a woman (in most cases).
The result is the cry for nudity in home movies in Nigeria. Nudity in a movie can result from the role assigned a character in a movie or as a personal disposition of the character. In whichever, way it appears, it often attracts society’s condemnation not just because it might run contrary to the culture of a society but also capable of inciting youths, impressionable minds and young adolescents into immorality and social ills.
However, it appears that the effect of nudity in home movies is rather looked at from the point of view of society’s welfare and ‘safety’ without considering a
seemingly hidden negative effect of it on the person, name and of course social life of the characters who are either made to display these acts of nudity or who by choice take to them. When people watch movies they socialize with the producers, characters etc (Nwosu 2007p11) and also form some impressions about the roles as well as appearances of characters.
The impression or perception may positively or negatively affect their (character’s) social life. A lot of characters have been dubbed “Sex freaks’, Nigerian Sharon stone’ and other Scandalous names just because of their roles
It must be noted however that while some viewers tend to see some characters’ display on movies as their behaviour others see the displays as ‘staged’ acts that have nothing to do with such character’s personality. Viewers even go as far as being either favourably disposed or unfavorable disposed to
actors/actresses based on the roles they play in movies. Nudity seem to capture basically the female folk perhaps because of the culturally assigned ‘prestige’ or
‘dignity’ of womanhood such that their sensitive and of course private parts are seen as odd when brazenly exposed unlike the male folk.
However, some actresses in home movies in Nigeria are seen to display sensitive parts of their body. Viewers also have their perceptions about them. This work focuses on two veteran and contemporary actresses. Tonto Dikeh and Mercy Johnson and it survey the impressions or opinions or perceptions of viewers in Enugu metropolis of Enugu state of Nigeria. The problems are interrogatively discussed as follows: Do viewers in Enugu metropolis/Area of Enugu state see the nude displays of the two actresses as their natural behaviour? Do viewers in Enugu metropolis/ area of Enugu state see the nude
displays of the two actresses as a staged or artificial action? Are viewers in Enugu metropolis favourably or unfavourably disposed to the two actresses? have their nude display gained them public admiration or condemnation? These are the problems this study attempts to provide solutions.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this research shall focus on the Nigerian actors and personality question using actors in Nigeria a case study.
1.6 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Despite the limited scope of this study certain constraints were encountered during the research of this project. Some of the constraints experienced by the researcher were given below:
iii. Information Constraints: Nigerian researchers have never had it easy when it comes to obtaining necessary information relevant to their area of study from private business organization and even government agencies. People find it difficult to reveal their internal operations. The primary information was collected through face-to-face interview getting the published materials on this topic meant going from one library to other which was not easy. Although these problems placed limitations on the study, but it did not prevent the researcher from carrying out a detailed and comprehensive research work on the subject matter.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Acting: This term refers to the “imitation” of an action and character by a performer(actor) for the audience’s view, be it on stage or for screen medium.
Role interpretation: This phrase describes the primary duty of an actor in relation to a performance script. It is the fulfillment of this task, by an actor, alongside with other performers that give life to the script.
Home movies: This is any pre-recorded media films played and viewed by people
with their movie players in their homes or movie clubs. These films are viewed with
the aid of a TV set which is connected to the movie machine. They are recorded on
movie tape, disc or DVD.
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