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Nigerians suffering from false ego - Wole Soyinka
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Soyinka’s Play For Filming Into A Three Season TV Series

Wole Soyinka’s The Beatification of Area Boy is on course of being adapted into a TV drama series.

Smartcity Plc, a new company promoted by Demola Aladekomo, founder of Chams Plc, has gone far in the process of getting the rights from the playwright to adapt the play.

Part of the discussion is that Professor Soyinka himself, with a team of screenwriters, will write the scripts.

The proposed screening of Beatification is the next work on Aladekomo’s agenda, to highlight the work of Nigeria’s artistic giants, as he calls them, to a wider public.

10 years ago, Chams Plc inaugurated the Chams Theatre Series, through which the company commissioned translations and stage productions of the classic Yoruba novels of Daniel Fagunwa, including Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole, and Ireke Onibudo.

The plays were performed in English (translations) and Yoruba (adaptations) and toured Lagos, Ibadan, Ile Ife and Abuja.

“Chams Theatre Series is a strategic intervention and contribution of Chams Plc to the rejuvenation of the Arts and stage culture in Nigeria”, Aladekomo said at the time.

“It is also a means of promoting our culture and re-orienting Nigerians to the values that we hold dear”, he explained. “We believe those values should prompt action in our society.”

In choosing Beatification for adaptation into TV series, Smartcity departs from the Chams Theatre Series in two ways. It has chosen a contemporary English play, set in the city, far away from the folksy, tradition that the Fagunwa plays evince.

If it was to stay true to the Cham Theatre Series script, it could have chosen Soyinka’s Death and The Kings Horseman for the next experiment, but the company, which is building an ICT hub, has decided on a story that reflects the energy of a city and a medium (TV) which can be watched on tablets and cell phones.

It’s also a platform with a much wider amplitude, and a longer, more lasting impact. “Cultural values are one aspect we are trying to promote”, Aladekomo explains, “but we are as keen to entrench the names of these artistic giants on the minds of several generations to come”.
UNMASKED Is Much More Inventive

Exhibition openings in Lagos don’t provide enough space for anyone keen on quiet conversations with the objects on view.

If the venue is the Wheatbaker Hotel, it is even harder; the banter of guests at the show happens right in the faces of the hotel guests and the lounging party at the bar, around which the works are arranged.

But for an exhibition like UNMASKED, the ongoing viewing curated by SMO Contemporary Gallery, a revisit is worthwhile, the better on a weekday morning, as the Wheatbaker bar is consistently full from lunch hours.

This 2018 version of the gallery’s yearly International Women’s Day exhibition presents a collection that is far more inventive than the last outing.

It is difficult not to compare; both are exhibitions of works of young, upcoming female artists, but while last year’s outing was filled with relatively mainstream Nigerian art, this year’s works are more conceptually minded, on a one to one.

The potter Djakou Kassi Nathalie, the poet Koromone Yobaere Koroye, the photographer Nyancho Nwanri, painters Nengi Omuku, Queen Nwaneri and Reha Shishodia (who also presents the show’s only installation) and the digital printer Somi Nwandu, all have uniquely engaging ways to tell stories we all share as humans, as Africans, as co-residents in a vast and complicated planet.

The distinguishing factor in a work of art is how long you want to stay with it. None of the works, in UNMASKED, allows you to just breeze past it. The exhibit rounds up on May 4, 2018.

Black Panther, Nigerian Spirit

Nigerian film pundits have repeatedly expressed their desire for the hit movie Black Panther to have had more Nigerian actors playing lead roles than it did. Expectedly.

The film is a paean to Black African civilisation and has amassed billions of dollars at the box office all over the planet.

There are misgivings by sections of the Nigerian commentariat, that the standard African accent in American movies, including Black Panther, is East African.

But take a close look at the careful sampling of cultural references from all over sub-Saharan Africa in this stereotype-bursting film.

The idea of a set of terraces, on a hilly terrain, where each of the tribes in the loose Wakanda confederation shouts out its consent or non-consent about the choice of the new King, is loosely based on the famous cliffs of Dogon, in Mali.

The metallic rhinos on which the warriors of Jabari tribe ride to battle, references the wilds of Southern Africa.

Of course the picture of Forest Whitaker, as an elder statesman in the movie, recalls his role as (the late Ugandan dictator) Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. But what about the film’s animating spirit?

10 minutes into the movie, T’Challa (Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman), the soon-to be King, lands in the Sambisa Forest, in Nigeria, to pick his bride, who is focused on the education of the girl child in her hometown.

The audience is shown a group of young girls who are students of the would-be-Queen (played by the Oscar winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o).

The fierce, fearlessness of this Nigerian character would play the most important role in squelching the treachery that affronts the legitimacy of Black Panther’s Kingship, and puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.

It is the tenacious Nigerian spirit in the Queen (forget about the person who plays it, and focus on the role she is playing), that rescues the King from the land of the dead, and ultimately decides the battle in Wakanda.

Calendar: Sankara Wakes Up, Rauf’s Beyond Drawing, Bakassi’s Comedy Class and Other Incidents

The stage play Sankara, written and directed by Jude Idada, is in performance at Muson Centre, in the Onikan Culural precinct, from 2.30pm this afternoon. Directed by the author himself, it is a story about the last 100 hours “in the life of in the life of the African patriot and revolutionary, Captain Thomas Sankara”. . .

Okey Bakassi’s Comedy Masterclass, featuring Ali Baba, AY, Basketmouth, holds at Eko Hotel, from 6pm…The opening reception of Peju Alatishe’s exhibition Paradox, Paradigms and Parasites, holds at the Kia Motors Showroom from 6pm on April 26.

Organised by Arthouse-The Space Gallery, the exhibition marks Ms. Alatishe’s 20 years of independent studio practise in Nigeria as a visual artist. The show runs to May 10...Beyond Drawing and Painting, an exhibition of paintings by Rauf Thompson will run from April 27 to April 30, at the National Council for Art and Culture, National Theatre.

• Compiled by staff of Festac News Press Agency


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