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‘SHARDS’ A Stage Play That Calls For Dignity in Labour

By Ajuluchukwu Brown, Abuja
08 January 2023   |   6:36 am
TALKIT Art Hub, an artistic society dedicated to creating socially conscious content and empowering younger content creators recently staged a play titled, SHARDS. The stage play which is the hub's 7th edition saw its audience all pinked in smiles.

TALKIT Art Hub, an artistic society dedicated to creating socially conscious content and empowering younger content creators recently staged a play titled, SHARDS. The stage play which is the hub’s 7th edition saw its audience all pinked in smiles.

Mr Anayochukwu Onuh, an art enthusiast, before the performance started, stated that his expectations won’t be cut short at the end of the day. His confidence was hinged on the fact that the director was prolific and consistent in delivering plays that minister to the soul.

“Victor Nnamani and his team have been consistent in staging blockbuster plays and this year won’t be any exception”

SHARDS featured Abuja-based actors and stars such as Nathaniel Odeh, Blessing Odoh, Chidera Ogor, Reuben Moses, Faith Ugorji, Chidebere Eguzo and Gladness Shelika.

SHARDS tells the story of Sucre Ademola, a young artist whose recording contract was terminated without any cogent reason. He goes into a depression to the point of attempting suicide.

Sucre enters a trance in the process of trying to gulp the content of a bottle of a sniper. He would later call his best friend Kelechi, and they both conspire to lure and kill Rukevwe, the love interest of Sucre Ademola for fetish reasons.

This ploy is achieved through Rukevwe’s best friend, Ireti. As they attempt to carry out the dastardly act, they are interrupted by a supernatural force, who questions and strikes Sucre dead.

The mother of Rukevwe is summoned to see the disturbing scene. The force goes with Rukevwe, the mother cries out and appeals. She finds mercy, her child was already waiting for her in the house.

The play is an exposition of the deep-rooted decadence society suffers from. The get-rich syndrome plaguing the younger generation and the dreadful repercussions that follow. It also addresses the toxic societal pressure, young people face in their families, social gatherings, churches and immediate environment. It is a quick awakening of the need for society to quit the unnecessary pressure it put on young men, doing their best to survive.

The blend of music, superb acting and appropriate costumes aided in amplifying the thematic concerns. The makeup and set design added to the verisimilitude aesthetics of the play.

Theresa Opara after seeing the play excitedly said: “This story appeals to my reality. Every young person is been faced with the rush-hour challenge that if one is not careful, selling the soul will be done quickly. I enjoyed the visual aesthetic, the use of the fog machine brought chills all over my body! All the actors came with their A-game, that’s truly admirable”

Commending the team for its consistency in telling stories with a core didactic theme, Cynthia Ameh added: “this will make it the third play is done by Talkit Art hub that I have seen, I assure you that their consistency is commendable.

The director is one person who has proven to be a genius mind. Kufre Abasi, done in 2020, explored the sad story of childlessness, Eghe in 2021, took us through the philosophy of death and the concept of Time and now SHARDS hitting the nail with the Hammer of truth and reason, takes us through societal pressure and it’s a devastating effect on the lives of young people. This should the essence of Art.”

John Boih Paul , the technical director talked about the little challenges he faced in the course of the production, he submitted that: “Well, technicalities are not without challenges and unforeseen incidences. “During the production of the play, SHARDS, watching the Creative director paint a mental picture to the fore, as the technical guy, it becomes a responsibility to make it happen exactly.

“The play was interesting but controlling the sequence to flow accordingly was a challenge. We had some challenges at the technical rehearsals testing the video slide that was to be displayed during the actual play. The connective from source to display proved problematic until external aid resolved the glitch”

“On the d-day of the play, cross-checking, the video slide shock became corrupted and unable to play. At this point, we were just up and down, tying last not and making sure the show must go on. We resolved the video and connected the display TV to the source. But in all, we thank God for the success of the production”

one of the Actors, Blessing Udoh m, who played ‘Mama Rukky’ revealed that: “At first, I thought I was just acting a role blindly, but a few minutes into the act, I heard the murmurs and sobs from the audience from women who could relate with my character. I felt their pains. I imagined myself in the situation, and I couldn’t even hold back my tears! And I asked myself, what if this was you lying right here? Making your mum’s efforts useless? SHARDS was intense on us as actors and the audience.” Chidiebere Eguzo, the actor who played the major character, Sucre Ademola, spoke about the journey of interpreting his role. He said: “I was so excited to be part of this project because It is youth centred. I’ve always wanted to talk to people concerning the pressure society keeps applying on young folks, making them feel like becoming well-to-do in their early 40s or late 50’s, is freaking too late. People keep asking the big question HOW did we get there? I have always wanted to tell anyone that would want to ask, and also would want to listen that we did this, we are society, and we brought this upon ourselves “we killed the youth, Shards!”

“Getting into my Character ‘Sucre’ was a little bit challenging because first, I was just coming out from a depressed state, and I understand the pressure and depressed state the character “Sucre” was in because as a young guy, we’ve all been there, so after healing from depression I had to go back to that state just to be able to deliver, you can only but imagine”

Miss Chidera Ogor, who played the controversial character, ‘Ireti’ also gave a sneak peek into the building of her character. She said: “When the director called me for the role, I was so excited. Going through the script I wasn’t clear about the exact picture of the play until rehearsal started. The play is mad intense, from the rehearsals to the final staging of it. I have been in a couple of plays by Talkit Art hub and personally, this one tower above all. The play Is so timely with its message, it is telling the youths to take things easy. Telling young people the dangers of desperation and to always return to God in humble adoration. The play is an eye-opener for all youths. I feel so blessed to be a part of this artistic beauty”

Princess Nafagha, the stage manager, on why the play was chosen to be staged at this time submitted that: It is time to remind the youth of dignity in labour. SHARDS was intentionally scripted to encourage young people to follow the process, it takes time before a seed fruits into a tree. The get-rich-quick syndrome hasn’t done us good at all. The play mix core themes, theme bothering mothers’ love, friendship, betrayal, societal toxic pressure, and The supremacy of God on the affairs of men. It is full of lessons, it shouldn’t have come at a better time”

Victor Nnamani the creative director and the creator of SHARDS revealed that the current madness prevalent among young people to get rich, and society’s double standard in weighing this disturbing trend prompted its creation. He said “I read the news every day and when I see teenagers getting involved in money rituals I quake and wonder how we even get here. SHARDS as the name suggests describes a society that is heading for the woods. It also points to the sad fact that materialism is fast extinguishing every little flame of principle in our society. Nobody appreciates the dignity of labour anymore. I must tell this story to reflect all the perceptions. SHARDS was one huge step. It is one thing to create a good story, it is another to find the perfect actors to convey its metaphors, casting was exhausting, but I tell you, all actors delivered at a 100. They came with the right energy and made the magic. Society should tune down its toxic pressure on young people. I am so happy it is a huge success. Art is supposed to carefully stitch the fraying ends of society, that is my motive as an artist.
An Art enthusiast and critic, Jecil Udezue lauded the style of diction used in writing, the play. He submitted: “poetry is the core value of the Hub. Every line conveys a thousand meanings. The diction resonates long after the play ends. I thought I was the only one reacting to its heat, but the part of the audience I sat with was all buried in its beauty. Talkit Art hub has been consistent for eight solid years which is huge. The director Victor Nnamani is a thorough Art head and a huge inspiration to young creatives. This play is a perfect way to begin the year. I am so happy witnessing intellectualism wrapped in passion.”

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