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‘Ada The Country’ hits Abuja stage

By Ajuluchukwu Brown, Abuja
31 October 2022   |   10:20 am
Recently, Doyenne Circle, a theatre company that advocates women and the girl child empowerment, staged a play titled, Ada The Country, a musical to the delight of the audience. Deji Ige, a poet, before the performance started, submitted that his expectation was not going to be cut short at the end of the day. His…

Ada The Country on stage.

Recently, Doyenne Circle, a theatre company that advocates women and the girl child empowerment, staged a play titled, Ada The Country, a musical to the delight of the audience.

Deji Ige, a poet, before the performance started, submitted that his expectation was not going to be cut short at the end of the day.

His confidence hinged on the fact that the playwright, Titilope Shonuga, was very prolific as a writer and as a poet.

“I am looking forward to Titi’s work on stage. It sure will be excellent.”

Ada The Country features top Nollywood stars including Joke Silva, Kate Henshaw, Chioma Chigul Omeruah, BamBam and other fine theatre performers.

The play opened with a musical opening glee, the sonorous blend of voices that broke the ice and set the mood for its theatrical chill.

Ada The Country’ tells the story of Ada, a young urban lady who loses her 9-month-old daughter and property in a fire incident that Almost cost her, her own life. The daunting experience forces her into depression. In the bid to find a therapeutic escape, she returns to her parent’s house, her widowed mother. She doesn’t go through the traumatic experience alone, her friends join her to form a pillar of support. She is consoled by women of different ages, who have also gone through such a horrendous path. These women  get her through the grief into a more stable state. She finds hope again as she reunites with her husband, Femi.

The play carries feministic colouring, it interrogates the lacklustre treatment of urban women in society. These women go through the pain of mothering their husbands, children, and nation forgetting themselves as they are left to fluster in emotional depravity.

It is a quick awakening of the need for women to become united and be more involved in their affairs. The seamless blend of dance and music held the audience spellbound. Radiate costumes and culturally correct makeovers added to the frenzy of the performance. Fred Samson after seeing the play excitedly said: “This is creativity at its peak. The theme of women’s objectification was echoed in the most creative way possible. The music took me to realms I could only have guessed. The dance and its precision are beautiful. It shouldn’t even end.”

Commending the highly metaphorical and poetic diction, Shola Samuel added: “The dialogue was so heavy and full of a punchline. I highly commend the ending play on words and the lyrical technicality of the playwright. Watching the play felt like listening to my favourite song as it floats me with its fine choice of words.”

On what inspired the whole play, Marian Ogaziechi the executive producer revealed: “What inspired it basically is my journey in life. As an urban woman who has crossed to be where I am today. Play shares the story of the urban woman, reminding people that it is not always rosy for us as many people assume. People expect perfection from the Urban woman, but nobody relates to the struggles. The Urban woman most times feels abandoned. We go through pressure, it is time to speak about it. Talk to family, talk to friends and we can heal. It is normal to go through those awkward moments as an urban woman but overall you will be healed.”

Mrs Joke Silva, the veteran actress who played the character ‘Mama Femi,’ talked about her character and the perspective of women. She said: “The bias does exist, but women are still constantly breaking the barrier, in some areas they have scattered limitations. There is still a lot to be done and they are doing it. ‘Ada the country is so beautifully written and working with such a talented group of actors, Kate Henshaw, Chioma Chigul Omeruah, Tosin Adeyemi, Bambam. It was such an amazing journey.”

Nkem is another character that brought so much energy and vibrancy to the play, Chioma Chigul Omeruah Nollywood’s A-lister, who also  talked about the play, hinted: “Nkem my character Is a friend to Ada, she helped Ada walk through her darkest moment out of empathy, having been there before. The main message of the play ‘Ada the country’ is that it is okay for all of us to come from broken places. It is okay to be broken but then it is about coming together and finding healing, finding joy amid sadness and despair. Helping each other come out of the place of despair.”

The executive director Kenneth Uphopho talked about the challenges he encountered when he said: “On getting the script I saw that there was a need to stay true to the authenticity of the story. No unnecessary embellishments. Trying to reach the last person in the hall.  A man telling a woman’s story must be careful. As superstars, all of us have conflicting schedules, we had to plan to get all of us in the room at the same time and also the interpretation of the characters, everyone had to bring in their personal experiences to light it up.”

The music enhanced the fluidity of the plot and Scene changes. The music composer, Benard Ogbeiwi, revealed he had to write and compose all the songs to carry the spirit of the performance, in his words “Marian called me 9 am, we met on a Wednesday, she told she has a script and needs me to work. I asked if she will give me a free hand, and she said yes. I told her the music will be ready In three weeks. All the lyrics, I wrote and compose everything.”

Samuel Thompson, overwhelmed by the excellence of the play said: ‘Ada the country’ is a play that we remain in our minds several long after the flood light dissipates.”