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