Available on JSTOR at: doi.org/10.2307/3334346

Abstract

Hammadi Djaziri traces the development of Tunisian theater from the colonial period to the present. The obstacles facing it were overwhelming: political censure on the part of the colonial government and social censure from an Islamic society. The result was a theater of convention preoccupied with two main themes. One, the epic drama set principally in Spain during Arab occupation, alternates with comedies concerned with social issues of a local nature. One would expect the trials of nation building–the call for sacrifice and human dignity–to create an atmosphere propitious for theatrical endeavors. This, unfortunately, has not been the case in Tunisia. During the great period from 1940 to 1954, a few companies of dedicated and courageous actors struggled against the apathy surrounding the theater and against the social prejudices which continue to burden the actors in a context of a theater torn between classical Arabic, which few can understand, and vernacular Arabic, which is scorned. Since independence, however, both the government and the producer seek the same goal: the reforming and educating of public tastes. As a professor and theatrical producer Hammadi Djaziri ends his article with what seems to be a declaration of purpose and an appeal for the future of the Tunisian theater. He concludes by announcing a real program of renovation designed to give new life to the drama of his country.

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