Wole Soyinka incorporates numerous dimensions of performance into The Lion and the Jewel. The resulting play is a rich medley of Western and African performance traditions. Rather than relying solely on Western conventions of text, plot, and scenography, Soyinka employs Yoruba music, especially drumming, and performers, often without dialogue, to convey the thematic clashes between tradition and modernity.
Dance overlaps with mime in some performance pieces, such as the “lost traveler” dance, which uses a central character, the foreign photographer, as well as chorus members. In this piece, four women compose the form of the “devil horse,” the man’s automobile, which breaks down. The dance functions to provide the backstory of how Sidi was photographed and how the images then appeared in a magazine.
At other times, music and dance are in the background, such as in the scene between the Bale and Sidi. A group of female dancers briefly appears, in pursuit of a man, accompanied by constant drumming. This lends a different interpretation to the male-female interaction of the pair, which might otherwise be seen as the Bale’s pursuit.