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‘Fabulous Adventures…’ of Nigeria’s theatre Monday, 23 November 2009 00:00 Nigerian Compass
Veteran art critic, PITA OKUTE who watched the recent presentation of The Fabulous Adventures of a Sugarcane Man, Femi Osofisan’s English language stage adaptation of D. O. Fagunwa’s Yoruba novel
Ireke Onibudo, at the National Arts Theatre appraises the production against the background of the development of the stage performing art in Nigeria.
AT the end, a critic complained that the play was too long. I agreed. Three hours or so of dance and drama may be quite hard on the backsides. But having observed that “nowadays all the money goes to musical jamborees and comedy shows rather than serious or cerebral activities,” one suspects that the translator-playwright, Femi Osofisan, sought to compensate: To enlighten and entertain at once. Ergo – the song and dance routines that trailed the tale at every turn. Perhaps, there was just a chorus or two too many, but the overall effect was somewhat cheery.
Clearly, the greater challenge of his spirited dramatic interpretation lay in deconstructing the epic narrative of Ireke Onibudo from the infinite canvas of the novel to the less extensive stage of the National Art Theater’s Cinema Hall II. Such spatial limitations do not matter to Osofisan, whose enduring style is to extend the stage far beyond its allotted boundary into the audience. Complain, if you will, about the relevance of all that ‘movement.’ The artistic director, Tunde Awosanmi has bought into this peculiar trademark and in The Fabulous Adventures of a Sugarcane Man, he and the playwright create resonating chords for a moral tale birthed on mental, physical, moral and spiritual trials. In this regard, the wanderings of Oba Ireke (Kunle Agboola) and the reporter Beyioku (Olugbemi Adekambi) amidst the audience denote the hero’s strange but enthralling odyssey from pauper to oba – the king.
By will power, moral restraint and sheer good fortune, Ireke triumphs over adversity to become a celebrated warlord and noble man. His story runs alongside a fable told by his dead mother: the heinous murder of the Tiger’s children by the sly, wicked Fox. With an animal cast to embellish the narrative, the stage is set for spectacles of engaging folk theatre. Colourful and confusing in turns, the performance is overdone sometimes by tedious dialogue and spurious acting. The narrators, a blend of characters and voices add to the overall dullness. Osofisan’s commendable effort is overshadowed by pervading myopia. One is hard put to understand why his gargantuan translation of Fagunwa’s novel stopped merely at this leaving the entire song and dance sketches of the play to be rendered in vernacular. Thus, the strong and unpalatable suggestion that there is a river of interpretation he was too scared or ill equipped to cross. In the end, non-Yoruba speaking audiences may either feel greatly enriched by word plays they hardly understand or grossly cheated of their deserved enjoyment.
Nonetheless, the varying abilities of Tunde Oshinaike (Young Ireke), Charles Ihumiodu (Oba Alupayida), Kunle Agboola and Omotara Soretire (Ifepade) combine to pull the play through. Oshinaike exhibits great presence of mind throughout and is the live-wire of this engaging theatrical package.
Still, The Fabulous Adventures of a Sugarcane Man mirrors at large the curious trajectory of Nigerian theatre in the last four decades: From the eventful era of Hubert Ogunde, Moses Olaiya Adejumo, Duro Ladipo and many others to those far off days when theatre groups from the universities toured the country with incisive productions for the masses and corporate interventions such as Ajo Productions held up the flag of Nigerian drama in the turbulent socio-political winds.
Thereafter, the sly, wicked fox of ill-conceived government policies like Structural Adjustment Programme devoured the growing spirit of a blossoming Nigerian theatre. The craft endured a wilderness of dwindled public support, severe competition from local and foreign television and the local home video industry among other alternative media.
It would be stretching the parallels a bit to suggest that the monster has finally been slain and that theatre has finally come into its own as a result. Yet, one can not fail to observe a growing love affair between Corporate Nigeria and the Nigerian stage. The Chams Theatre Series a yearly “feast of theatre” hosted by Chams Plc, a computer hardware and maintenance services company, exemplifies this happy trend. The series kicked off in 2008 with the production of D. O. Fagunwa’s Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo and theatre lovers around the country are mightily thrilled that Chams is helping to keep their beloved craft alive and well.
The Series has lived up to a promise of enlivening the pleasure of the people and enlarging the pockets of practitioners. To paraphrase Osofisan, Chams employs over a hundred theatre artistes for about three months every year and offers free, to live audiences, a vivid experience of theatre that the people yearn for but which is so hard to come by these days. Here, one might add, is corporate social responsibility at its eclectic best.
The event at the National Theatre ended with a dance drill which was topped by a significant question from the cast. Chams ye da? (Where is your Chams?), they chanted and the management of the visionary Nigerian company went on stage to take a deserved bow with the happy cast and production crew.
It is easy to imagine that they might also be asking the same important question in Enugu, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Makurdi, Kaduna and other such places, where the people are also yearning for ‘vivid’ theatrical experience. It is even easier to believe that the Chams Theatre Series might also berth in those places soon, if only to prove that the theatre tradition in Nigeria does not begin in Ibadan and end in Abuja after rolling through Lagos, Akure and Ondo.
Kudos still to Chams Plc.
kicksofftonational acclaimtheatre series The Chams TheatreSeries kicked offto great public and criticalacclaim acrossNigeria in September 2008 withperformances across four citiesand two adaptations of D.O.Fagunwa’s classic Ogboju OdeNinu Igbo Irunmale.——————————————————————————–
Audiences trooped out in largenumbers for the English and Yorubatheatrical performances of OgbojuOde or The Forest of a ThousandDaemons in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja andIfe.The enthusiasm, interest andsubsequent appreciation of theperformances underscored the fact ofthe Chams Theatre Series helping to filla gap in the cultural life of Nigeria.According to Mr. DemolaAladekomo, Group Managing Director,“The Chams Theatre Series is a strategicintervention and contribution ofChams plc to the rejuvenation of theArts and stage culture in Nigeria. It isalso a means of promoting our cultureand re-orienting Nigerians to the valuesthat we hold dear. We believe thosevalues should prompt action in oursociety.”The Ogboju Ode performances are“the beginning of what we envisageas a long journey of discovery andsharing”, Aladekomo informed guests.It was a great beginning indeed.Extensive reportage and reviews in themedia confirmed the strong interestpresentation of the plays elicited withlocal and international stakeholders ofthe company.Culture and Tourism ministerMr. Olatokunbo Kayode wrote into offer official Federal Governmentrecognition and support of the effortby Chams plc to provide corporatesupport for the revival of theatreculture in Nigeria.Chams plc sponsored productionof the plays after acquiring the rightsto the works of D.O. Fagunwa
the family of the late author and theD.O. Fagunwa Foundation. Fagunwa’sdaughter was a star guest at the Lagosperformance of the Yoruba adaptationon Sunday, September 14 at theMuson Centre. Other guests includedChief Segun Olusola, Chief Mrs. DerinOsoba, Rev Olu Odejimi, doyen ofthe Nigerian Stock Exchange, Rev OlaMakinde, Prelate of the MethodistChurch Nigeria. There were also Mr.Tayo Aderinokun, MD of GuarantyTrust Bank, Ahmed Yerima, Tani Obaro,MD, SystemSpec, as well as othermajor players in the banking, financialservices and oil and gas sectors.Town met gown in Ibadan as thecivil society joined the academia towatch presentation of the play. Theaudience spilled over and activelyparticipated in the presentation.Diplomats and members of theNational Assembly joined a largenumber of stakeholders in theinformation and communication“The Chams Theatre Seriesis a strategic interventionof Chams Plc to therejuvenation of the arts andstage culture in Nigeria.”cOver stOrycover story6 | futureteNse6 | futureteNseThe presentation of Ogboju Ode Ninu IgboIrunmale is the first in a journey of atleast seven years in the first instance forthe Chams Theatre Series. Chams plc has acquired he rights tothe five works of D.O. Fagunwa. The company plansto present a theatrical adaptation of one work eachyear. Add this to other works by other Nigerianauthors and it is easy to understand what the chiefexecutive Mr. Demola Aladekomo described as “thebeginning of what we envisage as a long journey ofdiscovery and sharing”.Next in line for 2009 is the work Ireke Onibudo.Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa was born in 1932 inOkeigbo in present day Ondo State. He was a teacherand writer. He died in 1963 at a relatively young agebut with many accomplishments under his name.According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, OgbojuOde Ninu Igbo Irunmale (Night of a Thousand Daemons,was the first full-length novel published in the Yorubalanguage. His secondnovel, Igbo Olodumare (“The Forest of God”), waspublished in 1949. He also wrote Ireke Onibudo (1949;“The Sugarcane of the Guardian”), Irinkerindo NinuIgbo Elegbeje (1954; “Wanderings in the Forest ofElegbeje”), and Adiitu Olodumare (1961; “The Secretof the Almighty”); a number of short stories; and twotravel books.Fagunwa’s works characteristically take the form ofloosely constructed picaresque fairy tales containingmany folklore elements: spirits, monsters, gods,magic, and witchcraft. His language is vivid: a sadman “hangs his face like a banana leaf,” a liar “hasblood in his belly but spits white saliva.” Every eventpoints to a moral, and he reinforces this moral toneby his use of Christian concepts and of traditionaland invented proverbs.Fagunwa’s imagery, humour, wordplay, and rhetoricreveal an extensive knowledge of classical Yoruba. Hewas also influenced by such Western works as JohnBunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, which were translatedinto Yoruba by missionaries.Some Yorubaintellectuals dislikedFagunwa’s lack of concernwith contemporary socialissues. Other criticspointed to his knowledgeof the Yoruba mind, hiscareful observation of themanners and mannerismsof his characters, and hisskill as a storyteller.Long Journey of Discovery and Sharing
technology world to watch theperformance at the Congress Hall ofthe Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.By the time, it got to the Ile Ife onSeptember 24, enthusiasm and interestwas at fever pitch. Not surprisingly, theeager audience crashed through somedoors to ensure space in the OdoduwaHall of the Obafemi AwolowoUniversity. There was standing roomonly as the hall was brimful.The Chams Theatre Series has therights to the five works of Fagunwaand would sponsor one play eachyear. Aladekomo said the firm hasalso acquired the rights to works bywriters from other parts of Nigeriain order to broaden the appeal aswell as showcase the universality ofpositive values shared by Nigeriancommunities.Professor Femi Osofisan of theUniversity of Ibadan, wrote the“The Chams Theatre Serieshas the rights to five worksof Fagunwa and wouldsponsor one play eachyear.”futureteNse | 7futureteNse | 7D. O. Fagunwa’s Ogboju Ode tells an inter-esting adventure story of the journey ofthe intrepid hunter Akaraogun into thestrange land of Langbodo. His journeytakes him through many weird experi-ences and encounters with spirits, elves, mermaids,witches, monsters and the multifarious dwellers of theforest. He returns to a heroic welcome and takes timeto enthral his fellow citizens with hair-raising ac-counts of his escapades.Akaraogun grows in influence as news of his incred-ible journey spreads. He elicits the envy of the titularhead of the community.The monarch then comes up with a creative schemeto send this potential rival out of sight. He dreams upan assignment to fetch a missing treasure from Lang-bodo. Who better to lead the expedition but the manof valour and courage Akaraogun? Akaraogun enlistssix other brave hunters and then go on an excitingjourney of discovery suffused with dangers and thrills.Play wrights Prof Femi Osofisan and Prof Akinwun-mi Isola present interesting dimensions to the OgbojuOde story that deepened audience appreciation of thestory. Watching each play was like watching a differentbut similar account.Osofisan’s The Forest of a Thousand Daemons is akinto a dance drama with plenty of dances, chants andoriginal songs. He puts an interesting twist to thetale as the hunters accomplish the last of many teststhe good king of the nearest town to Langbodo givesthem. Now reduced to four men after the death oftheir colleagues, the adventurers learn to their surpriseyet relief that Langbodo is not a physical space but astate of being where humans come to a fuller realisa-tion of their essence and learn to live in love and har-mony with other beings.Osofisan’s Akaraogun, the protagonist, is a youngman, full of energy and verve, as are his fellow war-riors.Osofisan and artistic director Dr. Tunde Awosanmi say they sourced the rich repertoire of songs in theplay mainly from Yoruba oral tradition including therepertory of the hunter’s guild. Femi Osofisan, TundeAwosanmi and Tunde Adeyemo provided additionalcompositions.Akaraogun in Prof Isola’s Ogboju Ode is a greyingand bent old man who recounts to a scribe the inter-esting narrative of his travels through the forests ofdemons. Isola uses the flashback technique as the nowaged Akaraogun looks back at the adventures he andhis fellow hunters undertook. They arrive at the physi-cal location Langbodo and bring back to their home-land many goodies from the far away land.Proverbs, oratory and dance are alsostrong in the Yoruba presentation. Rendering in theoriginal language enriches the texture, depth of mean-ing and eloquence.Dif erent Takes on An Interesting TaleProfs Femi Osofisan and Akinwunmi Ishola
English adaptation while ProfessorAkinwumi Isola of the ObafemiAwolowo University wrote the Yorubaadaptation.Speaking on the significanceof the performances, Prof FemiOsofisan, a former General Managerof the National Theatre, asserted, “Byselecting this work, Chams is renderingan immeasurable service to thepreservation of our culture, at a timewhen our country like others in the so-called Third World are faced with themenace of globalisation. Certainly, suchprojects as this will help the processof our cultural rebirth. Fagunwa hasshown us that we have our ownfolklore and fables, our stories and sagacOver stOrycover story8 | futureteNse8 | futureteNseand heroes as authentically rich, andenriching, as any other in the worldrepertory. With him, we can also standup and announce that we are also partof the ancient heritage that first gavemeaning to humanity.”Presentation of the Ogboju Ode plays byChams plc provided direct employmentto 82 theatre practitioners and indirectemployment to many more, thusfulfilling its mission as a corporatesocial investment.This is the testimony of the technicalconsultant to the Chams Theatre Series, Prof FemiOsofisan.Speaking at a press briefing before theformal presentation of the plays, Osofisan,an experienced hand in theatre management,administration and teaching, said the involvementof Chams plc has helped revive morale amongstthespians.Theatre often involves many other aspects ofthe arts, from music through choreography andinto fields such as costuming. Osofisan said thatby sponsoring these major productions, Chams hadprovided employment for the cast and crew overmany months.A 48-person cast and crew featured inThe Forest of a Thousand Daemons while thecast of Ogboju Ode had 36 persons.CSR Mission AccomplishedGuests at the Lobby of the ConGress haLL attransCorp hiLton, venue of the abuja showMr aLadekoMo with aLhaji GboyeGa aruLoGun at the ibadan showMr & Mrs aLadekoMo weLCoMinG the priMate of the MethodistChurCh of niGeria, his eMinenCe, dr sunday oLa Makindethe ChairMan, prof. a.d. akinde with Miss diwura aGunwa,dauGhter of the Late pLaywriGht
HomeSunday MagazineScreenWhen the stage depicts our loss
When the stage depicts our loss
By VICTOR AKANDEPublished 8/11/2009ScreenRating: Unrated
For as long as we can remember, we have allowed those basic values of art and culture to die; stage play being one of them. Have you ever wondered why as a parent you are struck by nostalgia each time you visit your country home? Have you paused to ask why some of our brothers abroad prefer to speak with us in our native tongue rather than in English? The answer is not farfetched; we value ourselves at a distance. My brother in-law was on yahoo chat with my wife a few days ago and in all the three-paged dialogue, hardly did I see a full sentence in English language. Beyond that, it was obvious he found relish in Yoruba proverbs and idiomatic expressions. Gbenga has lived in South Africa for five years now.
My wife’s boss is another example. Dele, while in Nigeria spoke through his nose; it amazes than amuses my wife that her oga desires so much the feel of being a Nigerian with the spontaneity at which he infused Yoruba language in their phone conversations. You may not understand how far away you are from your culture until you take out time to see a stage play. I did, and it was mind blowing.
Have you heard about the young lady called Nneka Egbuna? She won the MOBO award in the African singers’ category last month. But that is not the story. Nneka, half Nigerian-half German, used to think she was white skin until she left the shores of Nigeria. Today her music is for the emancipation of the black man, not only from colour bar, but of the glorious abundance of life, wisdom, and riches deposited by God on the soil and airspace of the black continent. That young girl is nothing short of a black activist as a victim of colour bar.
But here we are neglecting our heritage out of ignorance, and our leaders out of insensitivity have refused to promote those values that stand us out. We fall at the feet of what is called western civilisation, forgetting that the Elizabethan theatre tradition isn’t dead in Britain, just as the Shakespearean experience is still a classic.
Amidst the oddity, one corporate organisation has identified with the vision of rebranding Nigeria in the real sense by choosing not only to encourage the impoverished stage actors by engaging them for half a year but also enlivening the theatre tradition as a new leisure for children of school age.
This Information and Communication Technology firm, Chams Plc, began what it called The Chams Theatre Series in 2008 with theatrical adaptations of the D.O. Fagunwa book, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmale. This year, perhaps like never before, it is the story of this extraordinary adventure of the Sugarcane Man called Ireke Onibudo by the same author. It gladdens my heart to know that Chams is sponsoring this unique experience as a strategic intervention and contribution to the rejuvenation of the Arts and stage culture in Nigeria. It is thoughtful that it sees Corporate Social Responsibility initiative as also a means of promoting our culture and re-orientating Nigerians to the values that we hold dear.
The taste of the pudding is in the eating. As I savour the expertise of Prof Femi Osofisan in bringing this complex plot to stage and the exquisite delivery of the cast, I glance across my shoulder to acknowledge if my Igbo friend was in the same reverie with me. He looked more excited. I told him what he was missing in the area of the music lyrics. But he said to me that the rhythm was complimentary enough to the story. Only then did I know that even I had undermined the power of drama as a universal language. Ben, that’s his name, said that stage play is to him the best form of entertainment; he praised the Yoruba culture to high heavens.
The beauty of the road show for Ireke Onibudo which started yesterday is that although it will be presented in Yoruba and English languages, there will be two different stories entirely from a single theme, as Prof Femi Osofisan and Prof. Akinwunmi Isola, playwright the English and Yoruba languages adaptation respectively; it is only imaginable that interpretation, style, comic relief, suspense, folk song, costume, choreography, and other dramatic elements will make for separate savouring.
The company is extending the number of shows from seven, which it had last year, to eleven this year in response to popular demand. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that the sponsors will also be taking the Chams Theatre Series to schools,s allowing for students from selected schools in four cities to join adults to experience the thrill of live theatre from the D.O. Fagunwa’s collection.
Large turnout for Fagunwa play
By Akintayo Abodunrin
November 14, 2009 08:43PMT
‘The Fabulous Adventures of a Sugarcane Man’ and ‘Agbara Ife’, being the English and Yoruba adaptations of D.O. Fagunwa’s ‘Ireke Onibudo’ by Femi Osofisan and Akinwumi Isola respectively, premiered last weekend in Lagos.
The plays opened to a packed house at Cinema Hall I, National Theatre, Iganmu, on Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8. Eminent Nigerians including former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Joseph Sanusi and his wife, Doyin Ogunbiyi of Tanus Communication, poet Odia Ofeimun, chair of the Fagunwa Foundation, Diwura Fagunwa, artistic director of the National Troupe, Ahmed Yerima, chairman, board of directors, Chams plc, Reverend Bayo Akinde, Lagos State commissioner for tourism, Tokunbo Afikuyomi and other lovers of stage drama were among those who saw the play. Children drawn from schools across Lagos also saw the English adaptation on Monday, November 9 at the same venue.
The Reverend Olu Odejimi, co anchor at the opening with Dayo Olajuwon on Saturday started on a light mode with, “Say to your neighbour good afternoon and how do you do?’ Though ‘The Fabulous Adventures of a Sugarcane Man’ started almost an hour late, people patiently waited while formalities including introduction of guests and the Chams family song rendered by uniformly attired staff of the ICT company were observed.
While Isola and Kola Oyewo who directed his adaptation were at the premieres, only Tunde Awosanmi, director of the English version was present. Isola informed that Osofisan was away on sabbatical outside the country.
One source, different plays
And as Isola, author of ‘Ole Ku’, ‘Efunsetan Aniwura and other plays disclosed earlier at the press preview of the play some weeks ago, though the adaptations are from the same source material – Fagunwa’s Ireke Onibudo written in 1949, the edu-taining plays indeed differ in their treatment of love, the central theme of the original novel.
Similarly, some popular Nollywood actors in the Yoruba genre who feature in ‘Agbara Ife’ gave a good account of themselves. Peter Fatomilola, Toyosi Arigbabuwo, Samson Eluwole (Jinadu Ewele) and Kayode Olaiya (Aderupoko) who started their careers on the stage showed that their skills have not deserted them. Others including Gbolagade Akinpelu (Ogun Majek), John Adewole (Tafa Oloyede) and Jolaade Adejobi (Mama Wande) also distinguished themselves.
In a short speech at the end of ‘Agbara Ife’ on Sunday, Demola Aladekomo, Managing Director of Chams Plc, thanked the audience and stressed the importance of love. He also specially acknowledged the team responsible for the second edition of the theatre series including Fiyinfolu Okedare, Ayodeji Akindele, Isioma Eboka, Bisola Oladipo and Dayo Olajuwon.
The Chams Theatre Series debuted last year with Yoruba and English adaptations of Fagunwa’s ‘Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole’ by Osofisan and Isola. It is, according to Aladekomo, “a strategic intervention and contribution to the rejuvenation of the arts and stage culture in Nigeria. It is also a means of promoting our culture and re-orientating Nigerians to the values that we hold dear.”
‘Agbara Ife’ showed in Ibadan, Oyo State yesterday while ‘The Fabulous Adventures of a Sugarcane Man’ will show in the city today and tomorrow. Both plays will also be staged in Abuja and Akure before the series ends on November 30.
Posted by seyi on Nov 21 2009
pls when is it gonna be stage in Abuja,time days and venue would be most appreciated.
Posted by Fatai on Nov 28 2009
Thank you Chams Plc.
Chams set Lagos, Ibadan aglow with Ireke Onibudo
By Adewale Oshodi – Updated: Tuesday 17-11-2009
A scene in the play IN the first two weekends in the month of November, Lagos and Ibadan theatre lovers were treated to live stage performances, Ireke Onibudo, sponsored by IT giant, Chams Plc. Adewale Oshodi reports how the performances in both cities went, and what lovers of theatre in Abuja and Akure should expect when, the performance train moves to their cities.
For the second year running, Information Technology (IT) firm, Chams Nigeria Plc, through its Chams Theatre Series (CTS) subsidiary, has demonstrated its commitment to the revival of the arts and stage culture in the country.
It all began last year, when Chams sponsored the adaptation of Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa’s work, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmale, in both English and Yoruba for stage performances in four cities across the country.
This year, another of Fagunwa’s works, Ireke Onibudo, which theatre lovers in Lagos and Ibadan had already enjoyed, will be staged in Abuja between Saturday 21 and Sunday 22, November, 2009 while the train will move to Akure between Saturday 23 and Monday 30, November, 2009.
Apart from the fact that both English and Yoruba adaptations of Ireke Onibudo are being staged free of charge for theatre lovers in these cities, students also have a special session to enjoy the play.
Already, those who have watched the play in Lagos and Ibadan can testify to the brilliance of the playwrights, who adapted the book Professor Femi Osofisan, for the English adaptation and Professor Akinwumi Isola, for the Yoruba adaptation as well as the Artistic Directors Dr. Tunde Awosanmi, for the English adaptation and Dr. Kola Oyewo, for the Yoruba adaption.
The play, Ireke Onibudo, based on Fagunwa’s 1942 book of same title, was about the adventures of an eponymous hero, Ireke Onibudo, before he finally found his true love who helped him to overcome all his troubles. The play placed emphasis on the capabilities of man in the struggle for survival.
Both adaptations gave prominence to the interplay of humour, as well the presence of all dramatic ingredients which Fagunwa injected into the writing of the play, like fables, folktales, poetry, perseverance, love etc.
The cast of both adaptations were made from seasoned theatre professionals who proved their mettle by rendering a near-perfect performance. For the English adaptation, artistes like Toyin Oshinaike, Albert Akaeze, Kunle Agboola, Charles Ihimodu, among others, and the Yoruba adaptation, artistes like Peter Fatomilola, Gbolagade Akinpelu, Samson Eluwole, Toyosi Arigbabuowo, Kayode Olaiya, among others, gave a performance that could only be described as excellent.
The fact that the translators, Professors Osofisan and Isola, as well as the artistic directors, Dr. Awosanmi and Dr. Oyewo, are among the best that could be found anywhere in the world, really had a great impact on the performances.
The play treated the audience to a series of Yoruba folklore songs, which as a result of the changing world, are no longer popular. The audience was also reminded about the beautiful Ekun Iyawo, literally bridal chant or wailing, rendered by the bride on the eve of her marriage, which is one of the final rites of marriage ceremonies in traditional Yoruba society.
The costumes used really depicted the situation in which the artistes were at a particular point in time; like Ireke’s torn agbada after being severely beaten in the town of Alupayida; or Ireke’s mother’s costume, an all white net that covered her entire head to toe, to depict a ghost when she appeared to Ireke under the sea; or even the Arogidigba (Queen of the Coast) and her lieutenants who had a silky, beautiful and shimering attire to complement the popular belief that the queen of the underwater is a stunning beauty.
The sound effects were creatively employed to intensify the reality of the setting. The effects brought life to the performance. Sounds of birds chirpings in the forest, or sounds of the underwater, as well as its usage to create an atmosphere of fear, was simply excellent.
The lights were used as transistional guide to seamlessly link the scenes. Therefore, Abuja and Akure residents can expect to also enjoy what Lagos and Ibadan theatre lovers had enjoyed by storming the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture, Abuja and Adegbemila Hall, Akure, when the performance train gets to their cities.