An important political aspect of Wole Soyinka's drama is its deliberate non-exclusivity. Implicitly collapsing the borders and mental boundaries which facilitate alienation in all its forms, The Road embodies what Soyinka calls elsewhere 'the virtues of complementarity'.1 Alive in motion, its central image has that active potentiality which makes it appropriate to sub-Saharan African aesthetic contexts; but Western designers of cities also have found in the road's encasement of movement a rich source of dynamic form, and it is a conventional motif in the picaresque tradition of English literature, as well as a determining image of the literature of the United States. While the road acknowledges, at least in symbolic potential, the politics of division - driving on the left or right, in one direction or another- it also links places and peoples, past and future. This, of course, is a matter of movement, which makes it an appropriate metaphor also for the masking mode of the play, and to its exploration of the relativities of perception. More particularly, as a kinetic and culturally multivalent image the road provides an apt focus for Soyinka's dramatization of the arbitrariness of signs, not least by its self-consciously locating the text itself simultaneously in two broad traditions as a fused form. The Road is 'double-voiced', as Henry Louis Gates Jr. argues is the nature of the Black canonical text; its 'signifying' is, by definition, two-toned? More generally, though, it has the characteristic hybridity of the post-colonial cultural situation, and it partakes of the distinctive mixed mode of post-colonial textuality .3
McDougall, Russell, Mask, Music and the Semiotics of The Road, Kunapipi, 15(3), 1993.