Theatre group or­gan­ises ‘pre- birth­day gift’ for Soyinka in Abuja

Daily Trust - - CITY NEWS - By Taiwo Adeniyi

The Jos Reper­tory Theatre has staged one of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s clas­sics, The Lion and The Jewel, in the Abuja as part of ac­tiv­i­ties to cel­e­brate the No­bel Lau­re­ate, who will turn 80 in July.

Ac­cord­ing to the group’s artis­tic di­rec­tor, Patrick-Jude Oteh, the stag­ing of the play be­comes apt to cel­e­brate the oc­to­ge­nar­ian, who has ded­i­cated his life to writ­ing.

“Prof Soyinka will be 80 years in July and I think as a na­tion, we are ex­tremely lucky to have a No­bel Lau­re­ate, who has lived up to 80 years and who is still writ­ing. I think we are ex­tremely blessed, that is part of the mo­ti­va­tion for stag­ing the play,” he said.

He said the Abeokuta-born play­wright and poet de­serves to be cel­e­brated in a great way by the na­tion, not­ing that “ideally, if times were more nor­mal, this en­tire year should have been de­voted to cel­e­brat­ing Prof. Soyinka by stag­ing his work ev­ery month.”

He said the play is the group’s way of cel­e­brat­ing the lit­er­ary icon, who has touched many lives with his writ­ings, “In our own lit­tle way, this is a pre-birth­day gift be­fore the ac­tual thing in July.”

He how­ever said aside the comedic na­ture of the book, the na­tion has many things to learn from the play us­ing Baroka to rep­re­sent those people within the so­ci­ety who lied, and used cun­ning and de­ceit to get what they wanted. “As long as they are con­cerned, the end al­ways jus­ti­fied the means,” Oteh said.

Among the au­di­ence was Rayan Umar, who said he went to see the play be­cause he has not read any of Prof. Wole Soyinka books. “But I know and re­spect his abil­ity as a play­wright.”

Ngozi Nwabunna, who was also at the show with her mother and sis­ter said the artists pre­sented a bet­ter pic­ture of the play, sin­gling out Juliet Ejenma who in­ter­preted the role of Sidi for praise.

Other view­ers who talked to City News separately de­scribed their evening as en­joy­able, say­ing they were en­light­ened and ed­u­cated.

The play was staged for three days at the French In­sti­tute, Abuja.

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