Obilor in the Queen’s wish
It was an evening of live theatre in Ibadan recently, when Pat Obilor wore her Thespian hat to present a Nigerian adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear in her alma mater, the University of Ibadan.
The performance, which held at the Wole Soyinka Theatre, attracted guests such as the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Lamidi Adetunji, Ogunniso I; who was ably represented by one of his Mogajis, Remi Raji, a professor in the department of English, University of Ibadan.
It also had in attendance, the emeritus professor of theatre, Femi Osofisan; Prof. Matthew Umukoro, Dr. Bode Sowande, Dr. Hyginus Ekwuazi, Dr. Tunde Awosanmi, Dr. Chukwuma Okoye and Dr. Sireku Orisaremi, Head, Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan and the Hon. Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun etc.
It was indeed a sweet experience to watch the almost 50-man cast play and to see major Elizabethan characters like the eponymous hero King Lear, Princess Goneril, Reagan and Cordelia come alive in the African version of The Queen’s Wish characters of King Adeyege, Princess Ademofe, Adeife and Adeiwa whose names were created to depict their actual characters in the play.
The play explored the themes of digital craze in social validation and the current trends in feminism and women empowerment.
Speaking on the play, Obilor said, “the fact that I was able to create this work and to use my artistic platform in empowering young actors, who have shown enthusiasm for the theatre and the entertainment world. Their commitment towards the production process was all the strength I needed to pull the play through and reintroduce to the world, just like Ola Rotimi did with The Gods Are Not To Blame, inspired from the Greek’s tragedy of Oedipux Rex, my own African version of William Shakespeare’s King Lear, which I titled, The Queen’s Wish.”
She added that the satisfaction was more in the artistic elements she gained in the rehearsal, performance and production process and that she had opportunity to act in her own play and work with passionate theatre greenhorns while enjoying exclusive intellectual consultations from theatre veterans.
Shedding light on the challenges of theatrical production, she stated, “It takes a lot to be a creative genius because a work of art is never sublime, complete or perfect, just like humans, a work of art remains questionably experimental and artistically pure.
“For instance, during the course of rehearsals and the performance process, a lot happened and I almost gave up but when life needs to teach you a lesson, you just have to learn and I am glad I did.”
The Thespian hinted, “The next phase for me as a playwright and theatre producer is to see my play, The Queen’s Wish being published.”
Prof. Osofisan said he’d still have a sit down with Obilor for a robust artistic conversation but what he’d seen tonight is a good example of the importance of education and that Pat has given the theatre a great gift of her learnings as a product of the department.”and has made the academic efforts of her theatre lecturers worth the while.
“Your actors held the audience for the most part and should be commended. However, more work needs to be done on actor’s elocution and projection. Also the story itself, especially towards the end, should be re-worked for greater effect,” he said.