Winged Tangi'ia: A Mangaian Dramatic Performance
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With the arrival of Europeans rapid and far-reaching social change occurred in Polynesia, and a number of observers predicted that the oral tradition of the area in which they were living was about to disappear. Yet over much, if not all, of Polynesia an oral tradition continues to flourish, much of it a synthesis of old and new elements. The purpose of this article is to examine something of this creative and ongoing process as it can be viewed in the tradition of dance-drama on the island of Mangaia. An example of a dramatic performance recorded in 1973 is chosen, and the recorded text and a translation are given. The performance is placed in its immediate social context, and attention is paid to the relationship between the performers and their audience. At the same time it is shown that the play also requires a careful consideration of Mangaian history and culture. Because the Mangaian dance-drama is a highly flexible art form that readily combines new and old elements, a sophisticated understanding requires the adoption of a number of different approaches.
Oral Tradition, 5/2-3 (1990): 376-413.
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